Lysistrata Make Love, Not War -- Unless Term Paper

Pages: 3 (1033 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Drama - World


Make Love, not War -- Unless it is war against Barbarians! Sparta vs. Athens in Aristophanes" "Lysistrata"

On its surface, Aristophanes' "Lysistrata" seems to be a comedic send-up of the value and emphasis the male Greek populations of Sparta and Athens placed on war, in contrast to the women of both city-states. And structurally, and particularly in its first scenes, where the women of the play collude, debate and decide to withhold sexual favors until peace is restored, this does seem to be the case. The greater importance this Greek dramatist gives to the women of Greece, in contrast to the histories of war of Thucydides and Herodotus, highlights the particularly harsh effects of war upon women. Unlike men, women cannot fight and can only watch their beloved husbands and sons fight one another until they die. This also underlines the negative aspects of war and conflict -- even for the valorous, death is the result, even if glorious leaders like Pericles eulogize them in great funeral orations. However, in the final speech of the play's title heroine it becomes clear that the playwright's point-of-view is far more commensurate with Herodotus and Thucydides. The tone of the piece and the prominence given to sexuality and women in the play, as opposed to the histories, is still evident, in Lysistrata's final words. However like Herodotus, the playwright Aristophanes ultimately stresses the conflict of free Greeks vs. barbarians, and the need for Greeks not to stop fighting to love women, but to love one another so they can unite against barbarians such as the Persians depicted in Herodotus.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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This is the theme Thucydides strikes in his History of the Peloponnesian War, that it is not war that is a tragedy -- it is Greek against Greek, the tragedy of civil war that is to be mourned and despised. If "Lysistrata" is often misread as a purely anti-war text, it might be because of the heroine's final, extended speech, where she forces the Athenian and Spartan ambassadors to shake hands, and essentially 'kiss and make up." She says, "Now, men of Sparta, stand here on my left, and you stand on my right." The humor comes from a housewife chiding the ambassadors like a clucking mother, overseeing naughty, quarreling children. This is how the Greeks have been fighting, the author suggests -- like siblings engaged in a fight. The woman defends her femininity and her feminine interference in the male dealings of war: "Both parties listen. / I'm female, yes, but still I've got a brain. / I'm not so badly off for judgment, either. / My father and some other elders, too, / have given me a first-rate education. / in no uncertain terms I must reproach you, both sides, and rightly. Don't you share a cup/at common altars, for common gods, like brothers, / at the Olympic games, Thermophylai and Delphi? / I needn't list the many, many others." (1112)

Lysistrata makes reference to the familiar games as evidence of Greek commonality and communication. But the reader or listener should remember, when Lysistrata continues her speech… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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Lysistrata Make Love, Not War -- Unless.  (2004, December 13).  Retrieved November 27, 2021, from

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"Lysistrata Make Love, Not War -- Unless."  13 December 2004.  Web.  27 November 2021. <>.

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"Lysistrata Make Love, Not War -- Unless."  December 13, 2004.  Accessed November 27, 2021.