Lysistrata

  • Added:
    Dec 06, 2012
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Lysistrata is a comedy play addressing women power and gives lessons like ‘solution to most of the problems lie in love and not in war’. Lysistrata is story of a time when Athens and Sparta are at war and men stay away from home for months. The war doesn’t seem to be ending soon. In such scenario, women realize that the time has come when they must take charge of the situation and act wistfully by utilizing all the assets that gods have given them.

Lysistrata, an Athenian housewife organizes a meeting in which she urges all Greek women to abstain from having sex with their husbands or lovers. The main idea to do so is to lure men to stay away from war and to choose a life of peace and love. The play uses comedy as a tool to depict rise of women in a society where women are restricted to home making only. Greek women come together under leadership of Lysistrata and take control of Acropolis, the citadel and make men come down to their knees by the end of the play. The play ends with men choosing peace over war.

Aristophanes is known for his comedy works and Lysistrata carries the legacy. The writer has raised a simple yet effective idea for solving the problems like war. Lysistrata knows that that the idea of abstinence will not be taken easily so she asks her comrades till what extent can they go to stop war. Women give answers like giving half of their bodies, sacrificing lives etc. but when she tells them the idea of abstaining from sex they all fumble. The idea of abstaining from having sex is tough for women also. They themselves don’t want to abstain and this is evident by instances where women try to sneak past Lysistrata. For the sake of ending war they make this sacrifice and take oath of abstinence.

Old women fight men, talk with them about revealing their ‘well plucked things’. There are instances in play which tickles the bones and sound effective as well. For example, Myrrhine, working her husband to the peak of frustration. At the end Myrrhine also succeeds and proves the idea to be effective. The part where women proclaim control over Acropolis against men shows that women, though being the weaker sex can make an army come on their knees. The conversation between old women and leader of men makes us laugh as well as realize the fact that women are no less powerful. Aristophanes has used different instances to show the weaker side of men against women. For example, a Spartan delegation of men bending double just to hide their erection from women and a herald unable to contain his libido is accused of hiding a lance under his cloak.

Aristophanes has used comedy as a tool to symbolize the power of the weaker sex. Aristophanes has used instances where men give in to women’s proves. For example at the end of the play when Lysistrata emerges from an Acropolis building, the old men greet her as a daring heroine and urge her to act immediately to put in effect a treaty. The goddess of peace also appears and praises her. Lysistrata’s beautiful body makes the men yearn for peace and the pleasures of marriage. Lysistrata launches into a reproachful speech. She tells the warriors on both sides that they occupy the same land and worship the same gods, yet they kill one another indiscriminately and lay waste one another's cities-even as barbarians from other lands threaten Greece. At times, they have fought on one another's sides. After listening her words all warriors give up the war and choose peace. The play shows courage, commitment and wistfulness of women in a society where they were considered less wise. Aristophanes wrote this play 2400 years ago but the idea and crux of the play hits the audience of all times.

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