Lysistrata In Aristophanes’ Lysistrata, women from all over the empire go on a sex strike and refuse to lay with their men until peace is obtained from the war. They take control of the Acropolis and kick the men out, claiming that war is now the business of women. Eventually, the men all have physically visual stimulation and are walking around in pain due to the lack of coitus. They all give in and agree to the terms of peace. At the end, they have a festival, everyone gets laid, and they sing a song. There are many themes in Lysistrata.
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Obviously, it’s a comedy with it’s farce and atire. However, there are underlying serious themes, as well. In my personal opinion, Aristophanes was trying to convey his beliefs about war through his entertainment in a way that would get people to actually pay attention. Two of the main underlying themes in the play are that war does not result in good things and that there is strength in numbers. Both are expressed vividly within the play, but with subtle importance. The first theme, that war does not result in good things, is an obvious opinion of all the introductory characters.
Lysistrata and the other women discuss at the eeting in the very beginning how the war has affected their families. Some of the men have been gone for months and left them alone at home with all the work and the children. The children don’t have their fathers around because they’re all too busy fighting. They even talk about when they try to bring up the subject of war to their husbands, that they will tell the women to mind their own and that war is a man’s business. The war has not had a good impact on the families that have been left behind.
The women decide that it is time to do something about it. Lysistrata aevlses a plan ana convlnces tne women to Joln ner. Since at the time women were not considered to be strong, individualistic peoples, I think that Aristophanes is trying to express the ridiculousness of war by having it be expressed by women. In a way it’s like, ‘if they can see how bad war is, then we should too’. Throughout the play, even though the women take over and are stronger for the majority of it, they’re still treated like they’re not supposed to be speaking up.
They are threatened and still hold their ground. He could have also been expressing that women are smart and more deserving of a voice at the time. I feel like both of hese could be reasons why he chose to have a pack of women as the main characters. It’s hard to tell from the context that it’s in; however, I feel like for the time period, the first one is more likely than the latter. The other theme I believe is important to this play is that there is strength in numbers. It’s a classic story for a group of people with a common cause to come together and fight for the solution they want.
There are also often tales of single persons taking a stand but in this case, with such a large group of women, it was much easier for them to achieve victory. In the beginning, Lysistrata has a group of older women go to the Acropolis and take over by driving the men out. They wouldn’t have been able to do something like that if it were Just a small group of people, but because there were so many of them, they easily over ran the city. Throughout the entire play these women work together toward they’re common goal. Even when Myrrhine’s husband comes along, she refuses to sleep with him.
This seems like it would be a solitary act, but truthfully, she would most likely have given in if it werent for the support and pressure from the est of the women. Before her encounter with her husband, Lysistrata had to talk to her and remind her of her oath and tell her how to keep from sleeping with him. There is also the portion before where the men are starting fires and the women come along with water. This is one of he parts that really makes me feel like it was an important theme. They begin to argue and threaten each other.
One of the men says something about punching the women in the face and a woman says something about cutting out their intestines. These aren’t small threats. I’m sure in ancient Greece, these kind of extremes were somewhat normal but they’re still extreme. Also, at the end of the play, the women get what they wanted all along. The men agree to peace after a long and painful sex strike. This, of course, backs up that there is strength in numbers. If only a few women refused sex, they wouldn’t have gotten anywhere because then the men would simply go have sex with someone else.
The fact that all the women were in this together is what won them their peace. Although I do believe that this play was a device for Aristophanes to express his rue regards towards war, I also believe that it was mostly created for entertainment. I feel like if he had wanted to express how terrible the war was in a very serious manner, there were many other ways he could have done that at the time. He could have written a serious play or a tragedy or done something completely different all together with his time. I think he simply enjoyed being an entertainer and that’s the main and full throttled purpose of Lysistrata.
Not that I think that he undervalued his beliefs, Just that I feel as though it was more of a ploy to get them out there as pposed to ‘let’s go out and make a difference’. It’s almost the same as modern day polltlcal cartoonists I can see some 0T tne unaerlylng symoollsm cnosen Tor nls purpose but all in all, it was a comedy and that’s exactly what it was meant to be. I’d also like to point out the small theme of woman power. Lysistrata uses a woman’s body as a map of Greece in order to win her case about the different cities needing to be at peace. All the men are standing there gawking and enthralled (and extremely horny).
It didn’t take them very long to agree that this naked woman has a oint. In conclusion, this play was written for the use of comedy and entertainment. I can see some underlying subtle themes or causes being expressed by the personal views of the writer. After all, writings reflect more of the writer than the actual story. Two of the underlying themes as discussed are that war does not have a good effect on families and countries and that there is strength in numbers as proven by the women who assume control. Aristophanes treats the play like a comedy, while hiding serious themes and thoughts within its context.