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The Portrayal of Lysistrata in 'Lysistrata'

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Introduction

The Portrayal of Lysistrata in 'Lysistrata' 'Lysistrata' written in 411BC is the third and last of Aristophanes' 'peace plays' that we possess today. Unlike the other two, 'The Acharnians' and 'Peace', 'Lysistrata' is a dream about peace. The title character (or hero) of the play whose name means 'she who disbands armies'- Lysistrata presents her plan to end the war, her method is straightforward until there is peace there will be no more sex. The united women will dress in their most alluring clothes and yet refuse all amatory advances. Furthermore, the older women seize the Acropolis and Athena's temple, which holds the funds for Athens war effort. However Lysistrata has to use all her cunning to get the women to agree to such a plan. Throughout the play Aristophanes presents Lysistrata as a cunning leader displaying many leader like qualities such as organisation, manipulation and persuasion, passion for her aims, boldness and an ability to incite passion in others. Firstly Lysistrata is portrayed as a woman of great organisation and outward thinking thus making her a great leader. ...read more.

Middle

I'm really disappointed in all womankind'- clearly shows her passion for peace to be obtained. Her passion for peace is further shown in her cutting comments towards those who do not take it seriously, for example when the women refuse to denounce sex- "I didn't realise that we women were such a total lot of nymphos." Whilst it is these cutting words combined with her manipulation of the other women that slowly wins round those that disagree- "Well is you really think it's a good idea-then we agree" her passion is further shown through her rejection of those characters who cannot be persuaded. The magistrate who cannot be persuaded be Lysistrata to change his anti-peace and pro-war stance, is immediately rejected by Lysistrata and the women. Aristophanes here allows for an exchange of roles, wherein they dress the Magistrate forcibly as a woman and thus make his opinion of seem ridiculous and of less importance. Thirdly, Lysistrata as afore mentioned is presented as a leader who greatly uses manipulation and persuasion to win round many to her view. ...read more.

Conclusion

These maybe because she does not exhibit any sexual desire and does not purposely flirt with men. Lysistrata also uses different language than the other women, in comparison to the coarser Calonice she positively stands out. She is smarter, has more wit and has a more serious tone than the others. This too contributes to her ability as a leader of Greece. By the end of the play, the men call upon Lysistrata to make the treaty between Sparta and Athens thus showing her overall leader like qualities. Most importantly Lysistrata's rejection of the stereotypical domestic female allows her to take the stage and achieve a real political voice in a male-dominated state. In conclusion Aristophanes has portrayed Lysistrata as leader, with qualities such as organisation, manipulation and persuasion, she is passionate and has the ability to incite passion in others. However, whilst she is by all mean a mastermind, clever and witty with the other women, she stands out. She is not amenable to sexual whims and thus rejects the typical female stereotype that the other women display, she ultimately maintains respect and power and achieves her aims by the conclusion of the play. ...read more.

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