Friday, October 28, 2011

Lysistrata - Aristophanes

Originally performed in Athens around in 411 BC, this play is a comic account of one woman's extraordinary mission to end The Peloponnesian War. Lysistrata persuades the women of Greece to withhold sex from their husbands and lovers as a means of forcing the men to negotiate peace — a strategy that, consequently, inflames the battle between the sexes. The play is notable for being an early exposé of sexual politics in a male-dominated society.
What I loved about this play was how both the men and women after a few days are driven completely insane by there desire for each other. How cute! If this strategy was attempted today I think the dialogue would go something like this - "Wait what? No sex until we can come to an agreement? Isn't that what we've already been doing? Who has time for sex these idea?"
But for these Athenians, they are almost driven completely mad and the women are constantly trying to sneak past Lysistrata in order to have a tryst with a loved one. The ruses they use are pretty great. I think Aristophanes must have had a much greater respect for women then say...Chaucer? Lysistrata is able to defend her case to the men and negotiate a peace treaty.
I think what is notable about this play is that amidst a war that seemed endless and hopeless creative ideas were presented not so much as a solution but as a reprieve from the reality of life.

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