Socratic Irony In Lysistrata

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Lysistrata is a satire written by Aristophanes that takes place during the Peleponesian War, which was unpopular amongst the citizens of Greece. Consequently the unpopularity motivated Aristophanes to write a satirical play that mocks the war by telling the story of the women of Greece who are in an uproar for the reason being they argue they are the collectors of the burden the war has brought on. Aristophanes uses situational as well as Socratic irony to deliver his thoughts of the war through the women in the play, nonetheless he successfully includes a moral alternative which is still applicable today.

Lysistrata the head of the anti-civil war movement run by the spouses of Greece, delivers our first introduction to the irony within
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Situational irony is being displayed by Lysistrata’s through declaring a civil war, a war of sexes to end the ongoing civil war that has placed a burden on the women of Greece. In addition, the suggestion also acts as dramatic irony because the women do not understand that by declaring this war of the sexes, they bring the same burden upon their male counterparts, which the movement is attempting to rid women of. The burden displaced from women to men is the absence of their partner in the household. Moreover, as the women advance with their plan of bringing peace to Greece we are presented with additional satire, this time it is in the form of Socratic irony. Attempting to obtain leverage on their side, the women have decided to occupy the treasury so the men are unable to fund their war. While lecturing to the women Lysistrata states “ … this very day the Acropolis will be in our hands. That is the task assigned to the older women; while we are…show more content…
Effectively such opposition attracts the negative attention of the elderly men who are influencers of Greek politics. They march to the citadel with torches to smoke the women out, instead they are met by ruthless opposition of Lysistrata and her women. The confrontation leads to a small victory for the women, this creates tremendous situational irony since the role of the women in ancient Greek society was to “dwell in the retirement of the household, clad in diaphanous garments of yellow silk and long flowing gowns, decked out with flowers and shod with dainty little slippers”(Aristophanes, 11). The elderly who create laws and who send young men to fight their wars are unable to disrupt the movement of some “housewives”. Embarrassingly and ironically the roles have switched where the women are the head of state and the old men are left speechless and made to return where they came from. Wisely, the author hints at part of the moral alternative by stating that old men shouldn’t necessarily get to declare war since the old men are not the ones who fight in them. Aristophanes begins to present a moral alternative gradually so the
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