A comic Utopia: Lysistrata

According to Thucydides, by 412, many expected the war to end in 412 with the defeat of Athens because Athens had lost its naval superiority. Although the Athenians put on a heroic effort to keep control of Samos, the outlook for Athens is dismal. Even if Athens is able to negotiate a peace at this point, they would certainly be receiving a peace on unjust terms, something that is no doubt unacceptable to many Athenians.

Set against this background, Lysistrata recalls none of these hardships. Instead, when Lysistrata, the title character, calls an assembly of women from all over Greece, she does so as their equals if not their superior. She does not specify the particular difficulty of the women in Athens, but rather she appeals to the universal predicament of all the women of Greece as their husbands are at war. Yet despite of the pathos of this situation, Aristophanes injects sexual humor into the situation. While Lysistrata refers to the men as "the fathers of their children"1 playing on the sympathy of the audience towards the disruption to domesticity, the other women thinks of the men as their sexual release. The sexual frustration of the women

Some topics in this essay:
Athens Herms, Athens Sparta, Unlike Aristophanes',


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