Lysistrata by Aristophanes: A personal opinion

Essay by vaughan0High School, 11th grade June 2005

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I think the story of Lysistrata is both interesting and surprising. I did not expect a story that was written in 411 BC to have much of anything I could relate to our world today. Aristophanes deals with very real, every day issues in this story. Although he is actually poking fun at them by making the situations as absurd as possible, there are still many very real topics discussed in this work. I think the most prevalent theme is that of gender roles and how they are viewed. It is obvious that Athenian men think that the women are inferior and the women seem to have accepted this as their position in society. Even Aristophanes himself must have thought this to write such lines as "What could women do that's clever or distinguished? We just sit around all dolled up in silk robes, looking pretty in our sheer gowns and evening slippers."

(468). It seems unlike women of this time to say such things as Calonice did, but to get across the point of women's tolerance of such behaviors it proves very effective.

I was also surprised by the candor of the character's dialogs. As much as the women are portrayed inferior and not to have voice on such issues as war and politics, it seems unlikely they would be prepared to speak so easily to the men they are subservient to. Aristophanes makes it clear, that even though the women to not have a voice on these subjects, they are continually thinking. They listen to their fathers, brothers, and husbands talk and learn from them. They are able to form their own opinions about the subjects, but at the same time they never share their thoughts. Lysistrata says, "Formerly we endured the war for a good long time...