Misogynistic Humor In Aristophanes Lysistrata

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Misogyny in Greek comedy is often buried so deep within the crevices of humor that it tends to be either forgotten or mistaken for advocacy towards women’s rights. This plight can be seen in Aristophanes' "Lysistrata" where humor is used as an excuse to present women in a demeaning and insulting fashion customary to 5th century Greece. Throughout the play, Aristophanes is heralded as this great advocate for women’s rights during a time where such a concept was inconceivable. His work says otherwise with him falsely making his main character Lysistrata into a strong advocate for women’s right when in reality she is anything but. In fact Aristophanes does the opposite. By using the concept of an empowered woman during a time period where…show more content…
Despite her character being renowned for being the leader of a feminist movement, her willingness and eagerness to exploit the women around her often goes unnoticed by those who herald her to such high esteem. These acts are a way for Lysistrata to differentiate herself from the other women portrayed in the play. Lysistrata breaks away from the traditional role that women played in Ancient Greek society and while that may be deemed as a progressive move toward women's rights by Aristophanes it is in reality just another way that he uses humor to present her as a somewhat believable main character. To further add to this, Aristophanes decides to make Lysistrata almost too masculine, removed from the world of the other women in the play. For example when the women are first being introduced she places them under the same sexual scrutiny that you would expect from a man like "damn right she’s fine...from here, and get another angle on her-wow!" (Aristophanes 7) or "how I admire your gleaming gorgeousness, your radiant skin, your body sleek and plump" (Aristophanes 6). Even though the message created by Aristophanes may seem noble in making a women into such an empowering protagonist, it is in reality just a weak attempt by him in not only failing to make more women as strong willed as Lysistrata but also having to resort to making her into a man-like figure…show more content…
With both male delegates assembled, Lysistrata calls upon "Reconciliation", a mute and nude female whose only purpose is to be humiliated and objectified by having her body be used to carve out a peace treaty. Lysistrata once again uses the women at her command to uplift her own status among the male figures in the room, enhancing her own masculinity as opposed to enhancing the status of women in general. She tells her to grab each delegate into a room gently "but if he pull his back hand, take his dong" (Aristophanes 64) all in the name of peace. Aristophanes makes it clear that Lysistrata cares little for this "Goddess of Deals", she cares only about her status among the men making sure they know that " I am a woman, but I have a mind" (Aristophanes 64). Aristophanes writes this scene in such a way as to make Reconciliation not a person but a thing, a map with which the delegates can divide up land and carve up a peace treaty. What makes things worse is the fact that Lysistrata, the ultimate feminist activist, urges them on telling them to "just ask for another piece instead" (Aristophanes 67) or "Hey! Make some compromise and part the legs" (Aristophanes 67). Even though the translation makes the scene into a whole joke though its usage of double meaning within the text, one can only imagine a naked, mute, and

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