Monday, September 21, 2009


It wasn’t hard to pick up on the crude nature of Aristophanes’ Lysistrata and understand why this has been banned. I agree completely with Katie’s argument. Although it seems that Lysistrata is a powerful role model for her female companions in reality she is exacerbating a stereotype in order to get what she wants. By first glance the reader will take this story as it appears; a group of women fed up with their husbands’ demands and the war led by a strong, independent woman. A closer look reveals that the main concern of the women is their husbands’ absence and inability to have sex with them when they desire it most. They are just as sexually frustrated as the men.
It seems as though Aristophanes is poking fun at women, making a claim that the only way women are able to get ahead in public society is because of their sexuality. Lysistrata does not do much to help this cause but instead she objectifies women more than the men do in this play, an example being when she brings the goddess Peace in while she is making her final argument to the men. The men are clearly not listening to Lysistrata’s demands but rather focusing on how beautiful Peace’s body is. At the top of page 43, Lysistrata states the demands of the women in a large, detailed paragraph and Magistrate ignores her entirely, “(devouring the goddess with his eyes) Good god, this erection is killing me!” (pg. 43). I also noticed that there was a lot of “big talk” between the two sexes. The men would speak of beating the women, knocking down the gates, and dousing the women with fire but any violence between the men and women rarely occurred.
In the scene where Myrrhine “seduces” Cinesias he uses their child as a bribe to bring Myrrhine down the stairs. It is obvious at this point in the story that both the men and the women are playing to each other’s weaknesses. Cinesias is playing with Myrrhine’s heart by bringing in her child and Myrrhine is tantalizing Cinesias’ privates by constantly running to and from the bed. By the conclusion of the work peace is resolved. I find it funny that the chorus of Athenian men believes that they are victorious in all of this, “as in honour of a victory won!” (pg. 47). It is here that Aristophanes may be poking fun at his own sex a bit, that no matter how peace came about the men still take credit for achieving it thanks in no part to the women. I don’t believe that Aristophanes is trying to paint Lysistrata as a credible female figure, but instead use her to demonstrate the stereotypical “man-eater” women are depicted as.

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