Compare And Contrast Leaves Of Grass And Lysistrata

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When literature speaks in a way that can empower those without power, it poses a threat to established institutions. Leaves of Grass, by Walt Whitman, and Lysistrata, by Aristophanes, both challenge powerful institutions by discussing the vast potential of marginalized groups, such as women or poor men. By doing this, these authors validate the potential for power
Throughout Leaves of Grass, Whitman praises the common man and his importance in the United States. He says, “the genius of the United States is not best or most in its executive or legislatures, nor in its ambassadors or authors or colleges or churches… but always most in the common people” (Whitman 3). In America, government, educators, and religious leaders hold great amounts
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Lysistrata is based upon women who have been silenced that decide to disregard their silencings and fight for what they believe in. The main character, Lysistrata, explains that “we never allowed ourselves to open our lips… Then with sad hearts but smiling lips, we would ask you…But, ‘Mind your own business!’ The husband would growl, “hold your tongue, do!’ And I would say no more” (Aristophanes 24). As seen in this quote, women had been silenced and oppressed in Greek society. Still, they rose up and joined together to loudly fight for what they wanted. This is threatening to institutions because it not only shows strong and intelligent women, but also that these women were oppressed and decided to fight against that oppression. This is exactly what institutions, like the government, would be scared by, because women are oppressed under oppressive governments. These women of this play even directly call out their oppressors, the men, saying, “You pay nothing at all in return; and into the bargain endanger our lives and liberties by your mistakes” (29,30) This quote is important because it is an example of women directly accusing those of have power over them of their wrongs. Additionally, the usage of a Chorus of Women demonstrates the ability of women to come together and fight for their common good. This makes the play more intimidating to establishments because instead of all the powerful lines coming from one woman, they come from a variety of strong women who have banded together as a mob. Another aspect of Lysistrata that empowers women is the fact that they are actually successful in their endeavors. The play shows that women can not only have an intelligent idea, but they can aid its growth and lead it to

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