An Analysis in Feminism in the Play 'Lysistrata'

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In Aristophanes play Lysistrata, the women of Greece take on the men to stop the raging war between the Athenians and the Spartans. To stop the war, the women withhold sex from their male counterparts, and take over the Acropolis for themselves. The women are indeed triumphant in their goals to stop the war, and the Athenians and Spartans come to an understanding. What is blatantly ignored, however, is that Aristophanes creates a gender war that, although seemingly rejoices the actions of the women, instead mocks the women’s power-struggle in a male dominated society, focuses on the male-privilege seen throughout the entirety of the play, and should be disregarded in the fact that this play is not even from a women’s perspective.
In Greek classics, it is common knowledge that in that era women and men were considered unequal. Men were superior, and in most cases women were not even fit for citizenship. It is in this atmosphere and time period that Aristophanes wrote Lysistrata. The play itself is supposed to be a comedy, although the actions of the women do not seem amusing. Instead, the women’s actions, especially the main character Lysistrata, seem incredibly brave. Lysistrata rounds up her “troop” of all the women in Athens and a Spartan woman. They take charge of the acropolis and refuse to settle for anything less than a peace treaty to end the war. The only problem with this is, in ending the war, they will be bringing back the men from their duty and end up in the same social caste system as they were from the beginning. Aristophanes seems to make the point that – the only power women hold is their sexuality (Rex Par. 7). The Athenian women can withdraw from their husbands for however long they like, they still end up givi...

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...lings that they went through. Aristophanes could only tell you from his male outlook. If the two genders were treated completely differently, how could he possibly be able to take his privileged self and replace that outlook with one of absolute oppression? It simply cannot be done.
Aristophane’s Lysistrata is a flawed classic filled with the power struggle between man vs. woman. It is entirely focused and written from the male perspective, in which male-privilege dominated and disregarded the women’s outlook entirely. This “classic” is full of misogynistic perspectives, and should be disregarded as a great piece in Athenian literature.

Works Cited
McManus, Barbara F. Classics & Feminism: Voices in Counterpoint. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1997. Print.
Drama for Students. Ed. Michael L. LaBlanc. Vol. 10. Detroit: Gale, 2001. From Literature
Resource Center.

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