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Lysistrata Of Aristophanes Essay

1202 words - 5 pages


The Lysistrata of Aristophanes Aristophanes was a satirist who produced Lysistrata around 413 BC when the news of Athen’s warships had been destroyed near Sicily. For twenty-one years, while Athens was engaged in war, he relentlessly and wittliy attacked the war, the ideals of the war, the war party and the war spirit. This risked his acceptance and his Athenian citizenship. Lysistrata is probably the oldest comedy which has retained a place in modern theatre. It primarily deals with two themes, war and the power of sexuality.. Lysistrata (an invented name meaning, She Who Puts an End to War) has summoned the women of Athens to meet her at the foot of Acropolis. She puts before them the easy invitation that they must never lie again with their husbands until the war is ended. At first, they shudder and withdraw and refuse until, with the help of the women from Sparta and Thebes, they are impelled to agree. The women seize the Acropolis from which Athens is funding the war. After days of sexually depriving their men in order to bring peace to there communities. They defeat back in an attack from the old men who had remained in Athens while the younger men are on their crusade. When their husbands return from battle, the women reject sex and stand guard at Acropolis. The sex strike, portrayed in risqué episodes, finally pressure the men of Athens and Sparta to consent to a peace treaty. Ancient Greece in 431 BC was not a nation. It was a collection of rival city-states that were allies with each other or with leading military powers. Athens was a great naval power, while Sparta relied mainly on its army for superiority. In 431 BC, these alliances went to war against each other in a conflict called the Peleponnesian War. The war, which went on for 27 years, is named for the Peloponnesus, the peninsula on which Sparta is located. As the war began, Sparta and Athens each took advantage of their military strengths. Sparta ravaged Attica, the territory around Athens, while the Athenian navy raided cities in Peloponnesus. This strategy lasted for two years. Meanwhile, Pericles’ death in 429 BC left the democracy open for hostile factions and reckless leaders who pursued their own advantages. Chief among these leaders was Alcibiades, who was as irresponsible as brilliant. By 425 BC, Sparta’s hopes for victory were bleak, and its leaders were ready to ask for peace. Slowly, however, the fortunes of war changed. Sparta, under general Brasidas, scored significant victories at Chalcidice and Amphipolis. The Athenian leader Nicias persuaded the city to accept Sparta’s offer to cease the war in 421 BC. Everyone was allowed to go home, and the territorial status as it stood at the time of peace, was allowed to remain in place. Athens kept its continental territories and allies, and Sparta kept all the territories acquired. Nicias, however, was a rival with Alcibiades in the democratic assembly. Alcibiades in 415 BC convinced the Athenians to attack...

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