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 Lysistrata by Aristophanes

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Laura
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PostSubject: Lysistrata by Aristophanes   Wed Mar 23, 2011 9:31 pm

I have actually fulfilled my resolution to stock up on classical texts: I have spent the evening reading "Lysistrata" by Aristophanes. I vaguely knew the plot before, so there wasn't much of a surprise there, but the actual text did surprise me in many ways. It may be the translation, I don't know - but first things first:

Lysistrata is the name of the female protagonist. During the Peloponnesian War, which was a very long and cruel war, she tries to force the men to reconcile. Her idea, however, is a novelty: She persuades the women of Athens, Sparta and other Greek poléis to refuse to have sex with their husbands until there is peace. Also, the women occupy the Acropolis, thereby connecting home and state affairs. After a very short time (if I interpret the text correctly, we are speaking about twelve hours!) the men, desperate to the brink of insanity, yield. Interestingly, the play doesn't end in a wild orgy, though the text would have permitted that, but in a dance.

So, here are the things that I noticed.
1) I know people are supposed to be driven by desire, but this is just totally unrealistic. Men with uncontrollable and very visible erections on stage after a mere day without sex? Puh-leaze. Which leads me to point 2.
2) I don't need a minimum of twelve erections on stage at any given moment, thank you very much. I am not prude, but that is ridiculous.
3) Same goes for sexual references. Actually, Aristophanes lost much of my respect when he referred to a woman's "arse" and "tits" on page 2. I know, I know, it's supposed to be artistic and everything, but seriously.
4) I liked the idea of the family being the smallest unit of the state, which is expressed rather bluntly by the women occupying the Acropolis. (This is the place where the treasury was kept, which means that no peace = no sex = no money.)
5) I hated how Aristophanes depicts women. Lysistrata herself is a rather smart woman, very strong, sometimes she reminded me of Athena or perhaps even Artemis (chastity and all that). But the other women, the usual, everyday women? They are just as mad about sex as their husbands, drink way too much, care too much about their appearance, and are generally about as profound as a cup of low-fat yogurt.

Well, at least I've read it and can now proudly say that I've stocked up on classical education recently.

But what remains is the uncomfortable realisation that Aristophanes was in fact a misogynist, sexist pervert who wasn't too much of a favourite with the women around him either.

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PostSubject: Re: Lysistrata by Aristophanes   Fri Apr 08, 2011 5:19 pm

I've heard of this play, and I may actually have a copy of it buried under the landfill/clutter of books and papers in the room my wife refers to as "Your room". Someday I may get ambitious enough to check.

Anyway, as far as Aristophanes' misogyny goes, I am not surprised. I think many, if not most, classical male writers were the same way. I just finished "The Metamorphoses" by Ovid, and his opinion of women, even goddesses, is one of humor at best and hostility at worst. It may be too simplistic to chalk it up to "Well, that's the way they were at that time. That was the norm.", but for many years these observations about women were accepted, even expected.

I do find it funny that, after only 12 hours, maybe a day, the men were all willing to call for peace just so they can have sex with their wives again. If only it were that easy, right?

I can imagine seeing this as a play. Seeing a bunch of guys pointing due north wouldn't do it for me, either. lol!

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PostSubject: Re: Lysistrata by Aristophanes   Tue Jul 19, 2011 2:22 pm

Paul wrote:
Seeing a bunch of guys pointing due north wouldn't do it for me, either. lol!

That depends on the guys and on the level of despair at which I find myself Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: Lysistrata by Aristophanes   Tue Jul 19, 2011 8:16 pm

Laura wrote:
Paul wrote:
Seeing a bunch of guys pointing due north wouldn't do it for me, either. lol!

That depends on the guys and on the level of despair at which I find myself Very Happy


lol!

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PostSubject: Re: Lysistrata by Aristophanes   Wed Aug 03, 2011 4:54 pm

Haha. Thanks for the overview. Now I know what kind of play not to suggest to my very morally upright Christian school, who gave me a warning when I made a wry reference to Adam and Eve.
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PostSubject: Re: Lysistrata by Aristophanes   Wed Aug 03, 2011 10:36 pm

Lillian wrote:
Haha. Thanks for the overview. Now I know what kind of play not to suggest to my very morally upright Christian school, who gave me a warning when I made a wry reference to Adam and Eve.

Oooh, please do that anyway and then report back on how they replied! Nothing like tickling religious fanatics! Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: Lysistrata by Aristophanes   Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:42 am

Haha, maybe during my senior year. Even though my grades are flawless, I've had a couple of scrapes before.
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