Aristophanes’ Lysistrata Discussion

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Lysistrata by Aristophanes

Briefly (in at least 200 words) comment on the themes of Aristophanes’ Lysistrata that you found most interesting. Some questions to consider: how seriously do you think Aristophanes meant for the audience to regard Lysistrata’s political proposal, if at all?

Do you think Aristophanes was even trying to be political? Was he supporting greater freedom and political influence for women, or was he making fun of them? What about this play, written nearly 2500 years ago, seems especially relevant today?

How does Lysistrata demonstrate to the Magistrate the ways in which the women would put an end to the Peloponnesian War? Analyze the metaphor of the ball of yarn.

Analyze the role of Reconciliation, the naked girl.

Contrast and compare the choruses in the two plays.

Contrast and compare tragic and comic male and female characters in Antigone and Lysistrata.

What historical event is at the center of the play and why has Aristophanes chosen the comic mode to investigate it?

Describe the title character and the other women in the play. Refer to their ethnic background, social status, their education, their names, their physical appearance, and their occupations.

What is Lysistrata’s plan and how do the young women react to it? Describe the role of the Old Women.

As an institution drama was a male enterprise, written and performed by men for a notional audience of men. In Lysistrata female characters are plentiful and their world is explored, but in relation to men and the male world, which the women challenge and threaten to disrupt.

Do you think women are represented in this play for their own sake or are they instead part of complex modes of male self-representation?

Describe the gender dynamics and the battle of the sexes, pointing out some of the gender-jokes and comic caricatures in the play.
The extent of comic outspokenness on political issues astonishes many modern readers (including modern scholars).

What is your own reaction to the degree of comic criticism that Aristophanes practices in his writing? Do you see this kind of comic attacks on individuals possible today?

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