Lysistrata: A Comedy of Stereotypes Essay

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LYSISTRATA, a comedy of stereotypes

     The playwright Aristophanes wrote about an ancient Greece, Athens in particular, during a time of constant warfare. His play “Lysistrata” is an attempt to amuse while putting across an anti-war message. In fact even the naming of the play is an anti-war message of sorts. The word “lysistrata” means, “disband the army” (Jacobus 162). Aristophanes was a crafty writer; he creates a work of art that causes his audience to think about the current state of affairs in their city. He points out that there is a major threat to Athens when all the good, young fighters are sent off to war. Aristophanes acheives this aim by using stereotypical characterizations of women to show how
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The character, Lysistrata, encourages all the women to use their attractiveness and “feminine wiles” to make the men want them sexually. They even use a naked statue to finally get the men to agree to a treaty. An interesting note, during Lysistrata’s speech at the peace treaty conference, the men don’t pay any attention to her words. Rather, they stare at the nude statue until they become so totally sexually aroused that they sign the treaty just to get the women back into bed with them. Sexual tensions however are not the only comical stereotype Aristophanes employed in his play to build his characters.
The women that band together with Lysistrata are portrayed as interacting with each other in such a way that the typical stereotypes of the time period are upheld. For example, the women are shown to be drunken, superficial gossips. At the beginning of the prologue, Kalonike mentions a woman from Theage who is most likely, “a sheet or so in the wind” when she arrives. And before the other women start to arrive, Lysistrata and Kalonike talk about shopping, clothes, and perfume. They speak of making sure they don’t frown so their faces stay attractive. Then when another woman, Lampito, arrives Lysistrata and Kalonike tease her for her shapely figure and buttocks. The women then turn their attentions to making comments about the body of a woman from Corinth and a woman called Ismenia. All of these actions support

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