Lysistrata is a play that was set in Athens between 410 and 412 BC. At the time the play was set, women were expected to have no rights in society, and were not allowed/expected to discuss their opinions in matters subjective to men only. Women also had to obey their husbands at all time, and accept any demands made by their husband. The Importance of Being Ernest (TIOBE) was set during the Victorian Era, and at this time, the way women were expected to behave was similar to that of Lysistrata. And men were expected to be committed, and had a strict set of rules to follow when trying to address a woman. However, in Lysistrata, the female characters (mainly Lysistrata and Myrrhine) are seen to break all the rules and norms expected of a
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This indicates that she is very organized, articulate and knows what she is doing. “We need only sit indoors with painted cheeks and meet our mates….” She refers to putting make up on, wearing lingerie and depilate themselves in order to look as seductive as possible, so that the men are tempted enough to stop the war and come back home. This suggests that Lysistrata is very shrewd at planning the actions women would take at ending the war, and that she is very cunning as she is able to anticipate the women’s comebacks to the idea of ‘no sex’, therefore is able to convince them quickly.
Similarly to Lysistrata, TIOBE has moments where the female characters are dominant; although they eventually succumb to the men’s charm. We see a shift in power, from the men’s deceitful ways getting the women to fall in love with them to Cecily taking charge with her questioning: “why did you pretend to be my guardian’s brother?” Cecily creates a demanding tone, and she appears to be the one in power.
Coming to a conclusion, we can say that the male and female characters do not fully reflect the roles an ideal man/woman at that time was expected to be carrying out, although they do show glimpses of it at various scenes, for example: Algernon follows the rules when he asks Cecily to marry him in Jack’s presence. Therefore we can see