Comedic Violence in The Medea, The Oresteia, and Antigone Essay

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Comedic Violence in The Medea, The Oresteia, and Antigone

Almost no Greek tragedy escapes the use of violence. The Medea, The Oresteia, Antigone, and other classic works of Grecian tragoidia all involve huge components of violence in many prominent places, and for all of these stories, violent action is an integral part of the play. Medea, especially, is a character worthy of note in this regard; her tumultuous life can be plotted accurately along a path of aggression and passionate fits, and her bloody history lends tension and ascendance to the cathartic events of the gripping Medea. In contrast to this turbulent streak of brutality in Grecian tragedy stands the world of Greek comedy. Violence in comedy is just as much a part
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In comparison to this is Lysistrata, a comedy in which violence is not shown to be an answer that works. In this story, however, the overarching dilemma is the existence of the Peloponnesian War. For Euripides, violence is a question and a centerpiece of intrigue, yet it is not the root of the plot. Aristophanes, on the other hand, chooses to investigate gender relations and the concerns of daily life by using a hollow context of violence that ostensibly motivates the actions of the characters while avoiding center stage as an issue of any weight in the play itself.

At first glance this analysis seems wrong: it appears that Lysistrata is very much concerned with violence. After all, Aristophanes intended to write an anti-war piece. However, while this statement is technically true, it is only a skin-deep realization. In actuality, Lysistrata herself is not anti-war in the sense of being ideologically opposed to war; she is anti-war only insofar as she detests the Peloponnesian War. "And yet, although the Mede is at our gates, / You ruin Greece with mad intestine wars. / This is my first reproach to both of you," (Aristophanes 1132) says Lysistrata to the assembled Spartan and Athenian ambassadors. In this passage, the fiery woman establishes her stance and proclaims that she is mainly upset over the fact that the current war is more a civil war than a war against actual enemies. Her core
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