• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What picture does Aristophanes give us in Lysistrata of the character of Ancient Athenian women and their role within Athenian society? Do you think this picture is true to life?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

What picture does Aristophanes give us in Lysistrata of the character of Ancient Athenian women and their role within Athenian society? Do you think this picture is true to life? Within 20 lines of the play opening we discover how a woman's typical role in life is played. Calonice explains it's hard for women to get to Lysistrata's meeting because they will be "hanging round their husbands, waking up the servants, putting the baby to sleep or washing and feeding it." From this it's immediately clear women spend the majority of their time inside, doing household things. This is true to life because women did spend the majority of their time inside because it was frowned upon for women to be outside their house without their husbands, and as their husbands were at war, they were expected to stay indoors. The role of women is brought to attention again when Lysistrata explains to Calonice how she wants to stop the war with the help of other women. "If all the women join together...then united we can save Greece." Calonice justifiably responds with cynicism "How can women achieve anything so grand or noble?" Calonice feels that women don't have the ability to do anything, because they spend their time "at home looking pretty, wearing saffron gowns and make up and Cimberic shifts and giant slippers" and she is right to believe this because up until Lysistrata's plan is introduces, that is all the women spend their time doing. ...read more.

Middle

They weren't allowed to go out without their men, who were all fighting anyway, so they were all confined to their homes. And of course there were few other forms of entertainment; television and radio were still 2,500 years in the making, and so sex was really the only way of passing the time for women, so if they had to give that up, they would have nothing to do at all. Their sexual reliance is again illustrated when they have finally consented to give up sex, and they are making the oath. The cup and jar that are going to be used in the oath, are both of comically enormous size, and so Calonice then says "Cheers you up even to touch it", because she enjoys clutching 'big and meaty' things of course. Within the same scene, Myrrhine's sexual enslavement is made clear again when she nearly faints, falling weak at the knees at the prospect that she's about to relinquish sex. The women in Lysistrata clearly lived for sex and nothing else; and this isn't far from the truth in reality, as it's already been said, they didn't have anything else to do with their time. However, the idea of Ancient Greek women coming together from 'enemy' races, conspiring against men and renouncing sex is something I don't think would be ever have been true in Ancient Greece, because I don't believe that women would actually have had the valour to challenge the men in those times, because of their poor social status. ...read more.

Conclusion

"I'll hit you so hard you'll shit all over the place," "you'll soon be nursing a black eye," and "I'll tear out your hair till you scream and scream." I don't think the women would've been quite so brutal and persistent in their fighting and arguments. I think perhaps this particular characteristic has been exaggerated to some extent. The exaggeration is more apparent when Lysistrata demands "Silence!" from the Magistrate. I don't believe a woman in Ancient Athens would've had the courage to tell a man, especially a man with power, to be quiet. Then she further exacerbates things by embarrassing the Magistrate, adorning him with a veil, a tiara and other various women's jewellery. This is an act of great bravery, or perhaps stupidity, but it pays off and the women end up the victors. In summary, I feel that Aristophanes describes the women's role in Ancient Athenian society clearly and accurately, and for the most parts, the characteristics of them are accurate, in terms of their sexual nature, for example, when they're in the acropolis and many of the women keep trying to escape, with ridiculous excuses about moth balls and pregnancy, just so that they can get home to their husbands and lovers. However I believe certain traits have been exaggerated to suit the story, for example how brutal and courageous the women are at certain points. Nevertheless I don't think the characteristics have been exaggerated that much because it's still very believable, and could very easily be true of Ancient Athenian women. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Classics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Classics essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    How well do you think Ovid engages the reader in the telling of Scylla ...

    4 star(s)

    The metamorphoses at the end when Scylla transforms into a bird, (as well as her father Nisus being changed into a falcon)

  2. What Were The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Women In Athenian Society?

    Although it isn't a very romantic idea, this is still an advantage even by today's standards. However, there was a down side to the dowry. As the actual dowry would rage from girl to girl, many husbands-to-be would choose a wife with the biggest dowry.

  1. "Do you think that Euripides intended us to sympathise with Medea?"

    he knew she was going to kill he wouldn't, so we see a perfectly nice man get brought into a horrible situation that he cant get out of. We then see that Medea is planning to kill her children. The reason she is doing it is so that her enemies can't kill them and then have the last laugh.

  2. Explain how Shakespeare portrays men and women and relationships in Much Ado about Nothing

    When Beatrice says 'I wonder that you will still be talking, Signor Benedick, nobody marks you' the audience may have been shocked by her daring manner, as at this point in the play they do not know of her history with Benedick.

  1. Guide To The Colosseum and Games of Ancient Rome

    Animals such as elephants, lions and bears were the most popular, though many other species were also hunted. Nowadays the way they treated the animals would be absolutely unacceptable. It would be animal abuse. Martial describes some of the things they did with the animals.

  2. Siddhartha Character analysis

    "With this small gap, through this small break, however, the eternal and single world law breaks down again, Forgive me if I raise this objection." (33). Siddhartha does not try to prove them wrong, but instead, he seeks the truth, which is why he is able to attain enlightenment. b)

  1. Who made the greatest contribution to the Athenian Constitution?

    Like everyone else, they could become members of the Assembly, but had no other political eligibility. My third area of reform was the legal sector. The laws of Athens were far too unjust, so I saw fit to change them for the good of the people.

  2. Pericles and Athens in the 5th century BC

    According to Samons, Pericles believed that it was necessary to raise the demos, in which he saw an untapped source of Athenian power and the crucial element of Athenian military dominance. (The fleet, backbone of Athenian power since the days of Themistocles, was manned almost entirely by members of the lower classes.)

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work