Aristophanes' Lysistrata: Male Dominance within the Athenian Society

Pages: 4 (791 words) Published: April 29, 2015
Natasha Barnes
Doctor Bernd
1 February 2015
Consideration of Lysistrata
In Aristophanes humorous play Lysistrata, Athenian and Spartan women work together instituting a sex ban to cripple the men of their society into making peace with each other and stopping the Peloponnesian War. The play was performed in the year 411 B.C.E. (Brockett, 16). Although the play transcends time and is still a comedy that could be relevant and adapted even in today’s society, differences in how it would have been produced and how it was viewed by the Athenian society are of interest. In this essay, the focus of examination of the play Lysistrata will be on how the dominance of males within the Athenian society is reflected and satirized as well as the author’s use of cross-dressing to convey his message. Further inquiry will examine how the Athenian audience might have responded to the play and the author’s use of the men dressed as women, outsmarting men.

Men were very dominate within the Athenian society when Aristophanes produced his play of Lysistrata. “They openly admired the phallic symbol as a religious symbol that decorated every aspect of Greek life” (PowerPoint, 11). Viewing the phallic symbol as a symbol of religious beauty not just asserts the male dominancy of the Athenian society but regularly instills this dominancy within society. In Lysistrata, this male dominancy is reflected as brutish and caving to desires of the flesh much more rather than critically thinking for themselves. Further, the role of woman within society are used to mock them even more, as the leading character is a female whom not only persuades the other females of Athens and Sparta to adhere to her plan, she also mediates the negotiations of peace between Sparta and Athens.

Because of the male dominance and the phallacentricity focus of the Athenian culture, Aristophanes use of the convection of cross-dressing was considered the norm within that society....

Cited: Bernd, Dr. Lisa. "Lesson 2: Theatre ad Society in Ancient Greece." D2L Content. PowerPoint.
Brockett, Oscar G., and Franklin J. Hildy. "Theatre and Drama in Ancient Greece." History of
the Theatre. 10th ed. Boston: Pearson, 2008. Print.
Aristophanes. "Lysistrata." Lysistrata and Other Plays. Rev. ed. London: Penguin, 2002.
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