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Lysistrata

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This is the third play in Aristophane's War and Peace series


Written circa 411 BC


Translated and with Notes by Jack Lindsay



A comic account of one woman's extraordinary mission to end The Peloponnesian War. Lysistrata persuades the women of Greece to withhold sexual privileges from their husbands and lovers as a means of forcing the men to negotiate peace--a strategy, however, that inflames the battle between the sexes. The play is notable for being an early exposť of sexual relations in a male-dominated society.


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Thoughts and questions

I found it interesting that Lysistrata is the only (named) woman who isn't married. It also made me wonder if she's virgin, which might explain why she's the only woman who isn't going sex-crazy in the second scene. Thoughts? Secondly, why are the two choruses old men and women? Are we simply to believe that all the young men are off at war? Or does Aristophanes do this for comedic effect? Thirdly, I'm really fascinated by the representation of Peace in the final act, as a naked woman. Does anyone know of any analogues? My edition (trans. Dudley Fitts) also notes that when the play is performed, some directors choose to show Peace either as a statue or as a real live naked woman. Finally, for any Classicists here, how well does Lysistrata fit into the genre of Old Comedy? In Classical literature, I've only ever read New Comedy (specifically Plautus). I ask because I recently read a brief description of comedy by Frye, who emphasized the point that most comedy bring about their happy endings through the use of froda, or deceit. So it was striking to me that the women - who are usually presented as deceitful - in this play actually use forza or force to gain their end - forcibly taking over the Acropolis, actually fighting to keep the men out, and physically denying men access to their bodies. Obviously, Aristophanes was showing how the women usurp traditional male roles by doing this, but it just struck me as a particularly bald inversion of Frye's definitions. Perhaps he was only referring to New Comedy?

Lysistrata

This is definetley the most interesting and entertaining books I have ever read. :thumbs_up It has so much to say about the society at the time- especially re: perecption of women. A must read. So what are everyone's opinions about it?

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