Analysis Of Geoffrey Chaucer's Lysistrata As A Mirror Of Society

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Literature exists as a mirror of society when it was written, a reflection of evolving societal values. Through Aristophanes’ Lysistrata, Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Wife of Bath’s Tale, and Miguel de Cervantes Don Quixote de la Mancha, we witness a progression of historical and literary autonomy through the characters within these masterpieces. From Lysistrata’s determined female activist Lysistrata, to The Wife of Bath’s Tale manipulative and controversial housewife Alison, and Don Quixote de la Mancha’s imaginatively chivalrous knight errant Don Quixote, we can trace a thread of characters who challenge societies expectations by staying true to their own strengths and identities, while creating criticism for the classicism or gender rules they …show more content…
Lysistrata breaks from her submissive role as a woman, denying her gender related restrictions, in order to seize power of Athens, temporarily, for the sake of the prosperity of the country. While the men exhaust Athens through they’re extensive war mongering, Lysistrata devises a plan to take back the country through the treasury and starving the men of sex. She explains to her fellow female comrades that, "If all women come together here-/Boeotians, Peloponnesians, and the rest-/ And us-together we can salvage Greece"(Aristophanes ll.39-41). Immediately it is apparent that this is a radical idea for this period in history, as we delve into a play centered on the union or heroism of women. Even in a comedic play, the idea of women running a country would sound barbaric. Lysistrata make this genius scheme all her own by relating it in more feminine terms when she hypothesizes, “Say that the wool’s a mass of tangles. Take it thus,/ Draw it apart with spindles-make some sense of it./ That’s how we will loosen up this war-if we’re allowed” (Aristophanes ll.571-574).She does not simply mimic the strategies of men, but further asserts her self-government by attacking the problem by her own means and understanding. Her …show more content…
Like Lysistrata, she takes on masculine roles, not briefly or for the greater good, but because she views herself as an independent woman, not limited by the men around her, and as a result takes her autonomy to the next level. She fulfills this dominant role not out of duty, but because that is the type of individual she chooses to be. After many years of gained wisdom concerning the male disposition, Alison procures this ability to control the men around her, much of the time with feminine whiles. She is not merely a stereotype of feminine expectations though. After much harassment concerning a book of evil wives by her final husband, Alison describes how, “Then suddenly, three leaves I have ripped right/ Out of his book, as he read, and also/ With my fist, I took him on the right cheek so/ That backwards in our fire, right down fall he”(Chaucer ll.796-799), revealing she takes no issue with harnessing her more masculine facets to use towards her advantage, and pushing the idea that she is neither a product of purely “Venus” or “Mars”. She refuses to be labeled by a set of characteristics, and as a result, she gains complete control over all she desired, and after the confrontation with her husband, Jankyn pronounces,” ‘My own true wife, / Do as you

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