Alexander N. Zinzer (anz8993)
AE: Greek Drama
December 11, 2012
Lysistrata and Sex:
The Opinions and Effects of Sex Both Then and Now
Sex is a topic that can be seen everywhere and should not to be taken lightly. It is a topic that has been around for many ages and will be around for many more. The idea of sex and what it is or what it can be changes over time, and, like all ideas, can have drastic influences on the minds of the people in a society and the decisions made by said people. Sex can be seen simply as an act of physical desire, an expression of deep intense emotion, or even just as an act of reproduction. Comparing the role of sex in Aristophanes Lysistrata to sex in today’s society shows how drastically the ideas and effects surrounding the topic of sex can change among different time periods and different cultures.
From the very beginning of Lysistrata the notion of sex is prominent and the reader is free to realize that it is going to be the main overarching theme throughout the rest of the play. These beginnings can be seen immediately in the discussion between Lysistrata and Calonice as they foreshadow the perversion that is to come:
“CALONICE: Why summon us in this mysterious way? What is it? Is it…big?
LYSISTRATA: Of course.
CALONICE: And hard?
LYSISTRATA: Count on it.
CALONICE: Then how could they not have come?” (Aristophanes 21-24) Immediately from the get-go the reader is presented with diction that presents itself as dirty and sexual. Within the next few pages sex is directly mentioned as Lysistrata calls for a meeting and explains how all of the Greek women can use sexual exploitation for political gain. At first all the women disperse – “(The women begin to disperse.) (124)” – and are completely against the idea of foregoing sex for peace, but after some sly discussion with Lampito are convinced otherwise – “You’re right! You know how Menelaus saw Helen’s bazooms and threw his weapon down.”...
Cited: Aristophanes. Lysistrata. Trans. Sarah Ruden. Indianapolis/Cambridge: Hackett, 2003. Print.
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