Lysistrata is a story that outlines a plan made by women in ancient Greece to put an end to the Peloponnesian War. A woman named Lysistrata comes up with a plan and incites fellow women to take part in it. This plan entails starving their husbands sexually so that they can come to a speedy conclusion. At first, the women are reluctant to take part in the plan saying that their husbands may beat them or force them to have sex. Eventually, they agreed not to give in to their husbands’ advances, forcing the men going to war to petition their leaders to make a pact. It is noteworthy that, at the play’s tail end, it is Lysistrata who is called to make the treaty between Athens and Sparta. This is a fictional part in the play as women did not have any voting privileges in ancient Greece.
Lysistrata takes up the role of Alazon, the imposter or self-deceiving braggart. It is worth noting that as much as Lysistrata gives directions to the women on how to deal with their husbands, she does not participate in seizing Akropolis or even the sex strike. She does not seem to exhibit sexual desire or even have a husband or lover.
The Commissioner of Public Safety takes the role of Eiron. He is central to the contest since he holds the key to ending the war. It is worth noting that once the women overwhelm the policemen, Lysistrata tries to convince the Commissioner of Public Safety as to how easy it is to finish the war. Unfortunately, his self-derogatory and understating character blinds him from understanding the logic in Lysistrata’s words.
Kinesias takes up the role of bomolochos who is introduced to enhance the comic effect. He is the first person to be put down by the sex strike and is subjected to trickery by his wife. Kinesias is a misogynist, a poor father and a buffoon-extraordinaire. Kinesias, only looks for his wife because he is suffering from a painful erection. Not only is he unable to take care of his children, but his playful wife also outwits him.
What makes the competition between the Chorus of old Men and the Chorus of the old Women is the fact that it pits two groups of people, with the one that comes out triumphant having been trampled upon for quite a long time. It is worth noting that, the old men had aimed at smoking the women out only to have their fire put out and even coming out wet. The pathetic part in the competition is where the men appear as if they had urinated on themselves as they had been dowsed with water (Aristophanes, 13). The LOL funny part in the competition is where the Scythian guard charged with the responsibility of tying Lysistrata’s hands defecates on himself after being threatened by Lysistrata.
Aristophanes convinces his audience as to the role that war plays, as well as the things that trigger the war. It is noteworthy that, the leaders of the two countries are able to come together and find a lasting solution to the war once the women starve their husbands of sex. They look at the things that bring them together rather than the things that divide them, thereby finding a lasting solution to the war. The depiction of women and men as sexually rapacious does not come in the way of the satire as it shows that women and men have equal needs, or rather need each other and complement each other. The introduction of Peace serves to show or bring out the deep desires of the men. As much as they have been fighting, they have always yearned for peace and the prospect of having peace is enough to make them make a lasting treaty. This satisfy’s use of the name Peace.
The play revolves around the resolution of the war between Athenians and Spartans. However, the opposing groups in this case are women and men. Men are concerned about victory in wars between nations, while women would want a restoration of peace so that their lives as families can be the same. In essence, the women use sex as their main weapon so as to imbue some sense in their men. Men, on the other hand, use force to suppress the voices of women as shown by the magistrate. The magistrate tries to quell the victory of the chorus of women over the chorus of old men through the use of force, only to have himself dowsed with water (Aristophanes, 26). Wool is used as a symbol of the intricacies surrounding societies. Lysistrata uses the metaphor to show how the matters between the two warring communities should be resolved. She talks of cleansing the people, ensuring that there is equality, and then bringing people together through the convergence of their interests.
Aristophanes uses the play to ridicule the selfishness of the people in Athens and Sparta. It is worth noting that even when the women were invited to take part in the sex-strike, they were unwilling not only because of the resistance of their husbands but because of their own sexual urges. To them, their sexual satisfaction comes before the welfare of their entire nations. In fact, the simplicity with which the leaders come to a treaty arouses the question as to whether there truly was any reason to fight. In addition, it is worth noting that the men only petition the magistrate and their leaders to make a pact after they were denied sex.
Aristophanes. Lysistrata. The EServer Drama Collection, Web 2012 retrieved 22nd July 2012 from HYPERLINK “http://drama.eserver.org/plays/classical/aristophanes/lysistrata.txt” http://drama.eserver.org/plays/classical/aristophanes/lysistrata.txt