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

the portrayal of women in lysistrata

Extracts from this document...


The portrayal of women in Lysistrata In the Greek comedy "Lysistrata" by Aristophanes, women fulfill a role, both in their respective families, as well as in society, which stereotypes them as promiscuous, frivolous and cunningly manipulative. Men discard women's sense of individuality and women, through their "flimsy" thoughts and actions, complied with their expectations. However, it is the fact that the have no opinion or voice over what happened to their city and families what pushed them away from their seemingly superficial nature and encouraged them to change into powerful, confident and outspoken individuals. "Lysistrata" starts with a scene exemplifying one of the major flaws of women: their love for parties and sex. The protagonist is standing in the very first scene in front of the entrance of the Athenian Acropolis, waiting for the women to attend the meeting. Then she complains that "if it had been a Bacchic celebration they'd been asked to attend (...) you wouldn't have been able to move for all the drums."(Aristophanes, p.180) A Bacchic celebration praises sex through orgies where women filled the streets of the polis. This statement hints from the very beginning that women were eager and open towards sexual intercourse to the point of mild promiscuity. ...read more.


This is men's weakness and, conversely, it is also women's strength. However, sex abstinence faces some skepticism from the very beginning because it goes against the women's nature and the role they are expected to fulfill: "The women? What could they do that was of any use? Sitting at home putting on cosmetics and saffron gowns and Cimberian see-through shifts, with slippers on our feet."-says Calonice ( page 181). They give the impression of believing they are of no use other than staying at home and looking pretty, like an accessory to their husbands. This only gives us further evidence of the stereotype women have accepted to the point where they underestimate themselves, following society's expectations. Women's capacities are, however, taken for granted. They were not indifferent to matters of the polis shown when they did not approve of their husbands decision to go to war unnecessarily. Women, fearing their husbands' reaction, did not communicate their opinions, perpetuating the situation. Lysistrata presents the turning point of this situation, tired of being underestimated: "In the last war we were too modest to object anything you men did- and in any case you wouldn't let us say a word. But don't think we approved! ... what did my husband always say- "Shut up and mind your own business"- And I did." (p. ...read more.


From the male perspective, the war is paramount; this is the way their society has to work, as it has worked countless times in the past. Conversely, women show they are able to go against the fear of divorce they had when they first heard the plan. They are now sure of their effect on men and how much they actually rely on them. This gives them the much needed confidence to carry on with their strike. This way, we acknowledge women together could invert the roles in society; it is them who now have the responsibility and, most importantly, it is them who now have the power to change the city and the empire. In conclusion, our perception of women, in both their characters and roles in society, has drastically changed throughout the play. They have proved to be capable of cunningly pursuing peace and enforcing it with the most important and effective control they have over men: sex. They have shown that their opinion and vote are also valid. They resolve conflicts with intelligence and diplomacy, avoiding war at all costs because they are aware of the great suffering this brings to their people and themselves. Most importantly, we see that, even though it is Aristophanes' intention to generalize and ridicule women's attitudes, they show to have strong personalities, which, joined together as one unstoppable force, enabled them to succeed in their pursuit for peace. Marielle Alvino ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate World Literature 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 International Baccalaureate World Literature essays

  1. 100 plus maketing plan

    The favorable movement in the cool drinks industry can be attributed to two major factors: a) consumers need for convenience and time-saving services; and b) the positive press given to cool drinks. 2.2 Profitability & future growth potential In 1993, Concentrate Producers earned 29% pretax profits on their sales, while

  2. 'The social position of women is clearly shown to be subordinate in Naguib Mahfouz's ...

    Mustafa pursues Jean Morris, who was the one woman who rejected him. He becomes obsessed with her and is filled with a selfish desire. Although he sees himself as the predator, using words such as 'hunting' and using metaphors involving bows and arrows such as 'my arrow missed' when he

  1. Hedda Gabler- structure of the play and the major characters

    further implies Brack's interest in creating a triangle between himself, Hedda, and Tesman. Act 2 - Hedda: "But I! Oh, my dear Mr. Brack, how mortally bored I have been." (Page 178) - This quotation shows Hedda's boredom of her new lifestyle, which she views as below her standard.

  2. How does Macbeths portrayal change throughout the play?

    (to ROSS and ANGUS) I thank you, gentlemen. (aside) This supernatural soliciting Cannot be ill, cannot be good. If ill, Why hath it given me earnest of success, Commencing in a truth? I am thane of Cawdor. If good, why do I yield to that suggestion Whose horrid image doth

  1. Role of Women

    men are depending on a woman instead of the other way around. Cather really breaks women free of stereotypical bonds and has them makes their own independent choices.

  2. Duffy and Donne and their portrayal of the loss of identity

    as the miles rushed back to the city". The second, an epoch of a few days or weeks and the last over a period of months, even years. This exploit of chronology could be used by the speaker to underline the rapidity of change felt by her, losing pace after the move.

  1. Vietnam war

    Thich Quang Duc had prepared himself for his self-immolation through several weeks of meditation and had explained his motivation in letters to members of his Buddhist community as well as to the government of South Vietnam in the weeks Leading up to his self-immolation (suicide).

  2. Symbolism in The Sorrow of War "

    (Ninh 16) ?Once in his dream-picture he had felt the waves lapping the side of his tiny sampan and looking up he had seen Phuong, youthful, innocently beautiful, her hair flying in the Hanoi beeze. (Ninh 13) ?For Cu, cassava alcohol or rosa canina conjured up images of returning home.? (Ninh 13)

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