Different portrayals of women in "Antigone" and "Lysistrata"

1447 Words May 4th, 2006 6 Pages
The different portrayals of female characters Antigone and Lysistrata illustrate the fundamental nature of the proper Athenian woman. Sophocles' Antigone allows the reader to see that outrage over social injustices does not give women the excuse to rebel against authority, while Aristophanes' Lysistrata reveals that challenging authority in the polis becomes acceptable only when it's faced with destruction through war. Sophocles and Aristophanes use different means to illustrate the same idea; the ideal Athenian woman's ultimate loyalty lies with her polis. This Greek concept of the proper woman seems so vital when considering Athenian society because both a tragedy and comedy revolve around this concept. The differing roles accorded to …show more content…
Lysistrata comes to the conclusion that the only way to save Athens from destruction in war comes with defiance of her husband. In her role of rebel within the family, Lysistrata decides to "...compel [her] husband to make peace" by withholding sex from him until he stops his disastrous warring behavior (Lysistrata, 7). She concludes, "...there are a thousand ways of tormenting [him]" that will lead to the ultimate safety of Athens (Lysistrata, 9). Unlike Antigone, Lysistrata realistically considers the possible consequences of her actions. She understands that the consequences of rebellion against her husband could be dire. Lysistrata recognizes that her husband might beat her or even rape her in order to get physical satisfaction, but she also realizes that her husband would, "...soon tire of the game there's no satisfaction for a man, unless a woman shares it" (Lysistrata, 9). Lysistrata acknowledges that defying her husband will have consequences, but she chooses to realistically face those possible consequences, and continues knowing that her actions will benefit Athens. Aristophanes' reveals that a woman's greatest allegiance lies with her polis through Lysistrata's role of rebel within her family to save Athens.

Lysistrata takes the position of leader in her relationships with other women; she encourages her followers to fight for the betterment of their polis; thus, she

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