Gender Roles In Lysistrata

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…
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 like the rest of all your life;/ Keep your honor, and keep my rank and state’-/ After that day, we never had a debate”(Chaucer 826-828). In that moment she accomplishes an unheard of feat by gaining full control over her existence as a woman, but also the finances of each of her marriages along the way, allowing her also to climb that ranks of class at the same time. While her ideas of females ruling over their marriages crosses the line of equality, it does make a statement regarding women’s

Related Documents