Presentation on theme: "Aristophanes and Comedy. Aristophanes’s Life and His Works 450?-385? B.C.E 13 extant comedies The bulk of his extant works dates from the years."— Presentation transcript:
Aristophanes and Comedy
Aristophanes’s Life and His Works 450?-385? B.C.E 13 extant comedies The bulk of his extant works dates from the years of Peloponnesian War ( B.C.E.) Targets: Peloponnesian War, Euripides, Socrates
Elements in Aristophanes’s Comedies burlesque and parodic crude clowning and the free play of wit A brilliant combination of poetry and obscenity; of farce and wit: Aristophanic Plenty of sexual and scatological wit Coarse humor and exquisite wit combine with lyric poetry of a high quality
Lysistrata Time of production: 411 B.C.E Historical context: the sense of doom ---In 413 B.C.E. the news of the total destruction of the Athenian fleet in Sicily had reached Athens. the confidence in victory had disappeared for ever
Lysistrata: Plot Summary During Peloponnesian War, the Athenian women, who have no political rights, seize the Acropolis, the repository of the city’s treasury, and leave the men without sex or the money to carry on the war. At the same time similar revolution take place in all the Greek cities according to a coordinated plan. The men are eventually “starved” into submission and the Spartans come to Athens to end the war.
Lysistrata: Characters Lysistrata: --the woman who initiates the plan of “sex strike.” Myrrhine: --an Athenian wife, whom Lysistrata assigns the mission of sex hoax on her husband. Kinesias: --Myrrhine’s husband
Lysistrata: theme & technique The comic hero typically upsets the status quo to produce a series of extraordinary results and a wish-fulfilling ending. The apparent ribald humor: female sex- strike against war The serious issues underneath: ---Is war truly the business of men only? ---Women are the real victims of war.
Lysistrata: The Attack on Gender Stereotype 1 “War shall be the business of womenfolk!” Weaving vs. war: ---“We hold it this way, and carefully wind out the strands on our spindles, now this way, now that way.”
Lysistrata: The Attack on Gender Stereotype 2 Prejudice about women’s supposed incapacities: --Magistrate: “You really think your way with wool and yarnballs and spindles can stop a terrible crisis? How brainless?”
Lysistrata: The Attack on Gender Stereotype 3 Good-Natured Ridicule: --Women are addicted to wine and sex --Women are tricky and deceitful, always probing for men’s weaknesses, and an obstacle to the conduct of serious political business. (So men say, and the women admit it.) --But these characters are here enlisted in the service of peace.
Lysistrata: The Attack on Men’s Love of War 1 Aristophanes suggests that the dirty secret of imperialism is that war and territorial aggression are a substitute for sex, and vice versa.
Lysistrata: The Attack on Men’s Love of War 2 “Body politics”: --The great diagnosis is the scene in which the Athenian and Spartan ambassadors divide up the naked body of Reconciliation personified as a beautiful woman; they relate her various anatomical features to territories of Greece over which their cities were fighting.