Feminist Literary Criticism And Lysistrata Essay

1835 words - 7 pages

Classically, women playwrights are almost completely absent. There were virtually no women writers at all up until at least the seventeenth century. This fact originally led feminist critics to disregard the classical period. In an article titled “Classical Drag: The Greek Creation of Female Parts,” Sue Ellen Case states that because “traditional scholarship has focused on evidence related to written texts, the absence of women playwrights became central to early feminist investigations” (132). Despite this absence of female writers, feminist critics analyze the role of women in ancient Greece in other ways. Recently, feminist writers have been able to delve further into the classical period by examining female characters from the works of male playwrights.
The construction of women in male literature is extremely important. Peter Barry, in his chapter on feminist literary criticism in his book Beginning Theory: An Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory, asserts that observing the female characters in works by men is important because it provides “role models which indicated to women, and men, what constituted acceptable version of the ‘feminine’ and legitimate feminine goals and aspirations” (122). Looking into the roles of the women within the works helps us determine the kind of role women and men occupy in relation to each other in addition to the personal characteristics of the women. This insight into the relations between men and women adds a new layer of knowledge for feminist critics.
The depiction of women by women writers differs greatly from the depiction of women by male writers. Women, as represented by men, represent stereotypes of actual women. That is, “the feminist critic may assume that the images of women in these plays represent a fiction of women constructed by the patriarchy” (Case 132). In other words, the women in these plays are versions of women as viewed by man. They are what men think women actually are. By looking at the roles in which men place those fictional women, we can examine the “cultural ‘mind-set’ in men and women which perpetuates cultural inequality” (Barry 122).
This representation of women is a main concern of feminist literary critics. Women characters in classical drama, such as Aristophanes’ Lysistrata, are not so much realistic, well-rounded female characters, but figments of a classical male imagination. The representations of the women in Lysistrata are unrealistic in terms of their behavior towards one another as well as the relative amount of power that they gain through their attempt to influence the diplomacy of the men. However, the societal constraints on their behavior are somewhat accurate.
Women in ancient Greek society had little to no political or social influence. Originally, they took part in the traditional religious practices, like the festivals of the god Dionysus. “In the sixth century, both women and men participated in these ceremonies, but by the fifth century,...

Find Another Essay On Feminist Literary Criticism and Lysistrata

Literature - Feminist Criticism and Wonder Woman

835 words - 3 pages exist in the face of these contradictions and complications—within feminist criticism, within gender studies, within individual literary texts and within our understanding of the individual woman as a subject—but that it cannot exist without them. Perhaps, like Wonder Woman, feminist criticism remains vital because it is astonishingly diverse, open, and rigorously self-problematizing.

Town and Country Lovers: A Feminist Criticism

731 words - 3 pages What is Feminist criticism? Dobie defines Feminist criticism on page 97 as,"The premise that unites those who call themselves feminist critics is the assumption that Western culture is fundamentally patriarchal, creating an imbalance of power that marginalizes women and their work. That social structure, they agree, is reflected in religion, philosophy, economics education - all aspects of the culture, including literature. The feminist critic

The Importance of Distinction in Literary Theory and Criticism

1385 words - 6 pages by the faults and follies of earthly existence, consecrated by time (Whipple 386). This particular description on the importance of books, fantastic as it is, can also easily be applied to the broader spectrum that books belong to, literature. Thus, it is easy to understand why such emphasis is placed on the “exegesis, interpretation, and evaluation, [of literature]” otherwise called literary criticism and/or theory (Groden , Kreiswirth and

Satire and Hypocrisy: Literary Criticism of Lewis’ The Monk

689 words - 3 pages Satire and Hypocrisy: Literary Criticism of Lewis’ The Monk In her essay "Satire in The Monk: Exposure and Reformation", Campbell strives to portray Matthew Lewis' The Monk as a work that is full of and dependent upon satire, yet marks a significant departure from the tradition thereof. Campbell asserts that satire "forcibly exposes an essential quality of an institution, class, etc., which individuals associated with the ridiculed body have

A Feminist Literary Stance, Roles of Women in Henrik Ibsen’s Play A Doll’s House and George Eliot’s Novel Middlemarch

1599 words - 6 pages A feminist literary stance, roles of women in Henrik Ibsen’s play A Doll’s House & George Eliot’s novel Middlemarch Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House and George Eliot’s Middlemarch are based on events from their personal experiences. The events that lead Ibsen to feel the need to write A Doll’s House makes his approach on the feminist stance a bit more unusual from other writers. Ibsen shows his realist style through modern views and tones

Literary Criticism Essay for Beauty and the Beast

1192 words - 5 pages At every moment in the brain, messages travel from neuron to neuron by jumping from terminal branches to dendrites and speeding down axons to create thoughts and ideas that fuel emotions and actions. Fairy tales become messages and float from neuron to neuron in the brain to generate images of unrealistic worlds filled with castles guarded by dragons, Fairy God Mothers who grant your every wish and genies who arrive out of lamps only to cause

Literary criticism and anlysis of "Richard Cory," "I'm nobody! Who are you?," and "We wear the mask."

1565 words - 6 pages Never judge a book by its cover. Appearances can greatly deviate from what is hidden on the inside. "Richard Cory" by Edwin Arlington Robinson, "We wear the mask" by Paul Laurence Dunbar, and "I'm nobody! Who are you?" by Emily Dickinson each give examples of appearances in contrast to reality. Robinson's "Richard Cory" is essentially about a man who is set upon a golden pedestal by others and due to his suppressed sadness, kills himself. "We

"Sisterly Bond" - on Amy Tan's "The Hundred Secret Senses." Analysis of literary criticism and summary of book.

1030 words - 4 pages being not believable and not nearly as good as her first novel, it is, nevertheless, and immensely enjoyable novel. Her characters, especially Kwan, are unique and unforgettable. The Hundred Secret Senses is one of my favorite books not only because some critics called it a "literary masterpiece" but because of the deep and meaningful morals contained within it.

Medea and Lysistrata

548 words - 2 pages proposed concepts that gender equality should not be taken for granted in order to prevent tragic consequences as what had happened in The Medea. The comedic undertone of Lysistrata's response to gender equality caused humiliation as Lysistrata had caused men during the women's strike against them and their refusal to have intercourse with them. In general, The Medea and Lysistrata can be considered as two feminist literary examples and proofs

lysistrata work

3084 words - 12 pages Lysistrata is a comedy by Aristophanes. Originally performed in classical Athens in 411 BC, it is a comic account of one woman's extraordinary mission to end the Peloponnesian War. Lysistrata persuades the women of Greece to withhold sexual privileges from their husbands and lovers as a means of forcing the men to negotiate peace - a strategy, however, that inflames the battle between the sexes. The play is notable for being an early expos

lysistrata work.

3084 words - 12 pages Lysistrata is a comedy by Aristophanes. Originally performed in classical Athens in 411 BC, it is a comic account of one woman's extraordinary mission to end the Peloponnesian War. Lysistrata persuades the women of Greece to withhold sexual privileges from their husbands and lovers as a means of forcing the men to negotiate peace - a strategy, however, that inflames the battle between the sexes. The play is notable for being an early expos

Similar Essays

Lysistrata And The Feminist Movement Essay

1853 words - 7 pages Lysistrata and the feminist movement In ancient Greece, society for women was constricted in a patriarchal society. Women could not participate in politics nor could they obtain an education. Women were bound to their homes and in charge of their slaves and rearing their children. Men were entitled to anything they desired including women. The decisions regarding all matters of the polis were decided by men and men were the ones responsible for

Jane Eyre's Prison Feminist Literary Criticism On Novel Jane Eyre, By Charlotte Bronte.

1136 words - 5 pages As one era ends another begins. Old eras are remembered and not forgotten for they are a symbol of our past mistakes; a template to learn from. As we see in today's world, equality is the key. This has evolved from the past where not everyone was treated as an equal. Race, sex and money decided your rights. Charlotte Bronte tells us the story of a woman; A woman who throughout her life has struggled to stand upon the same stage as men. The book

Feminist Criticism And Shakespeare's Work Essay

2159 words - 9 pages Shakespeare’s works had few females because women were not allowed to act in London in the late 1500s and early 1600s. Disregarding the standards imposed on women of his time, Shakespeare created many female characters that were strong-willed, intelligent, and daring. Shakespeare resided in a world dominated by men, in which women were essentially the means of exchange in power relationships among those men. Feminist criticism is interested in

Marxist Literary Theory And Criticism Essay

1718 words - 7 pages highly and appreciated 19th century literature except for Dostoyevsky and Goncharov. Ironically, as we will see later, those writers lead people by their great masterpieces to believe in Communism and their cause. (Cuddon 493)A prominent figure in Marxist literary criticism history is Georg Lukacs. He is the first major Marxist critic. He believes that literature is not supposed to alienate an already alienated audience, i.e. alienated by