The role of comedy in literature is to challenge preconceptions, satirize stereotypes, and hold a mirror to societal standards in a way that changes the viewpoint of the reader, or, in the case of Lysistrata by Aristophanes, the audience. From its parody of gender roles, to its frequent use of double-entendres and sexual humor, to its sardonic message directed at the culture and politics of Greece, Lysistrata is a cornerstone of modern satire. It also possesses numerous qualities analyzed in Andrew Stott’s book Comedy: The New Critical Idiom. This work details the history of comedy and the influence it has on modern humor. It explains what goes into making comedy work as an art form and analyzes why people find certain elements humorous to begin with. Both pieces give great insight into the use of satire as a way to make a difference in common opinion, as comedy should do.
From the opening scene of Lysistrata, Aristophanes incorporates satire of gender stereotypes into his dialogue and shows a clear distinction between Lysistrata and the other female characters. She attempts to discuss war with her fellow women, a subject matter that their husbands are more accustomed with, and is infuriated by the lack of interest. She states that if an orgy took place for Dionysus, the god of wine and other festivities, the women would go into the streets without a second thought. This relates to Stott’s quoting of Aristotle, “comedy is an imitation of inferior people.” He states, “Comedy