An Analysis Of The Comedic Nature Of Lysistrata

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The Comedic Nature of Lysistrata On the year 411 BC, Aristophanes wrote the comedic play Lysistrata, the first anti-war play in the world. Comedy takes various forms, and the purpose of this essay is to analyze the comedic elements used in Lysistrata to determine whether it is a farce or a satire. Why is this important? Michael Moses, the president of the Association of Literary Scholars and Critics said:
“The key to adjusting the relative strengths and weakness of a particular work was for the discerning critic first to determine the generic categories to which a particular aesthetic object belonged; once that crucial task has been accomplished, the proper job of discovering the meaning and significance of a work of art could begin in earnest.”
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Some scholars, however, claims Lysistrata to be a satire. The purpose of a satire, explains Gilbert Highet in his The Anatomy of Satire, “to cure folly and to punish evil; but if does not achieve this purpose, it is content to jeer at folly and to expose evil to bitter contempt” (156). The play does jeer at folly through mentioning how women in Greece are forced to stay home and do chores, “It’s not easy for a woman to get out, you know. One is working on her husband, another is getting up the maid, another has to put the baby to bed, or wash and feed it,” (65) nevertheless, Aristophanes is utilizing gender inequality to increase the comedic effect of Lysistrata, a woman, rallying a sex strike. Ultimately, the purpose of this play is to urge the people of Athens to recognize the absurdity of the Peloponnesian War by making them laugh. Bergson argues, in his book Laughter: An Essay on The Meaning of the Comic, when there is “… an individual or collective imperfection which calls for an immediate corrective … this corrective is laughter” …show more content…
Albert Bermel argues in his book Farce: A History from Aristophanes to Woody Allen, “Lysistrata is a farce … It also incorporates – as do most of Aristophanes plays – a fantasy. The prospects of Greek women in the age of Socrates getting together with the wives of the enemy and putting an end to warfare seems wishful, if not unbelievable” (68). The reversal of gender roles is a way to intrigue laughter, not a means to call for reformation. Douglas M. MacDowel emphasizes in his Aristpahnes and Athens: An Introduction to the Plays, “The rest of the play is taken up with feasting, singing, and dancing” (246) because “the main theme of the play is not women … It is peace – once again”

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