Misogyny pervades the picture Aeschylus, Aristophanes, and Sophocles paint of Athenian society. In their literature, however, female characters catalyze plot by challenging this picture. Such characters--from Sophocles’ Antigone to Aristophanes’ Lysistrata--face grim consequences for acting independently. Clytemnestra and Cassandra from Aeschylus’s Agamemnon exemplify this archetype of autonomy and destruction. When they confront injustice, male characters perceive them as vindictive and hysterical. This paper will compare the standards of justice Aeschylus’s society imposes on men and women. I will argue that Clytemnestra and Cassandra are protectors of divine justice who reject subservience and thereby transcend the sexism of their society.
Throughout history, art has been a reflection of society, an indication to culture and a way to analyze historical context. Art is a gateway to understanding how people think, feel, and act in the context the art was created in. Athenian theater remains popular in modern times; it is not only timeless in its message but it can be useful in analyzing the way in which people lived during the time. Oedipus and Lysistrata, both Greek dramas, prove an example of this: they provide a reflection on the views of women at the time. The playwrights, Sophocles and Aristophanes, were both highly popularized at the time, deeply culturally ingrained into society and therefore highly reliable when it comes to cultural observation. The role of women in Ancient Athens was that of subservience and limitation. Respectable women held no job, instead bound housework and childcare. While higher class women often had
The women in Lysistrata are portrayed as strong and confident. This is seen in the form of the main character of the play, Lysistrata; who is the first one to propose the idea of withholding sex as a measure to stop the war. She demonstrates the qualities of a true leader as she has a well-planned strategy to get her way: “if we would compel our husbands to make peace, we must refrain”. At first this idea is instantly rejected by the women, but Lysistrata manages to convince them with her words of wisdom. This indicates how strong and perseverant Lysistrata is, and this is displayed by her idea of giving up sex. This is likely to be appreciated by the contemporary Greek audiences, as sex is described as the “most beautiful thing in the world” and Lysistrata is giving it up.
It was seen as irrational to the men that women withheld sex, that their own wives abandon their vice to be heard in a society where there was not a part in democracy for women. Moreover, this situation depicts how serious the women were about having a voice in their government, because a three-decade long war was excessive. Luckily, Lysistrata did not back down from the men and was determined to find a voice amongst the men, in that society, a woman did not belong in the government, because a woman is a housewife and a sex tool. (ADD MORE)
Euripides was one of the most well-known playwrights of ancient Greece. He was known as a modern playwright because he wrote with realism, and had a doubtful way of portraying the gods in his plays. Euripides’s plays had women as the main character because he had a sympathetic way of portraying women. The women were mainly strong and are passionate in their motives for their actions. Although Euripides is well known now, during ancient Greece Euripides wasn’t an appreciated playwright. When there were play performances men would be the audience since women weren’t allowed to take part in or watch the plays. So with the focus of women in his plays, he gave them a voice, which would throw men off, mainly because they would be terrified if their wives did and said the same things. Euripides supplied a philosophical thought to the women he has written about.
Women in classical Athens could not have had an extremely enjoyable experience, if we rely on literary sources concerning the roles of women within the Greek polis. The so-called Athenian democracy only benefited a fraction of the entire population. At least half of this population was female, yet women seem to have had very little influence and few official civic rights. `The position of women...is a subject which has provoked much controversy.'
Ultimately, she chooses to use manipulation and temptation to her advantage to sway the minds of men. “If we sat there at home in our make-up, and came into their rooms wearing our lawn shifts and nothing else and plucked down below delta-style, and our husbands got all horny…but we kept away and didn’t come to them—they’d make peace fast enough I know for sure” (Aristophanes 80) Lysistrata urges that the women avoid sex by any means, even if they must fight against physical force by their husbands (Aristophanes). By using this tactic of a sex strike applied all over mainland Greece, Lysistrata remains confident that women can persuade men to keep peace as opposed to war. Therefore, evidence suggests in Aristophanes’ play that women such as Lysistrata derives power and authority over men through sex and temptation. Women can only attempt to persuade them due to the fact that men hold too much power to be outright forced to anything.
Euripides and Sophocles wrote powerful tragedies that remain influential to this day. The vast majority of work recovered from this time is by male authorship. What remains about women of this time is written through the lens of male authors’ perspective and beliefs about the role of women in Greek culture. The works of these two playwrights frequently characterize women as unstable and dangerous. Agave, Antigone, and Medea are all undoubtedly the driving force behind the tragic action in these plays. It is their choices that lead to the pain and death of the people around them. Through an examination of the evidence from three separate works, Antigone, The Bacchae, and The Medea, the role of women in ancient Greek tragedy becomes clear. The actions of Agave, Antigone, and Medea repeatedly prove their characters instability and danger.
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
In Antigone and Lysistrata the tension between the polis and oikos is reflected in different ways. Antigone prioritizes oikos over polis, while Creon prioritizes polis over oikos. The men in Lysistrata favor fighting for the state over being at home while the women want their husbands with them instead of being at the war. We find ample evidence of different conflicts and similarities in both plays, but the male's prioritizing polis over oikos and the female's prioritizing oikos over polis causes the central tension in Antigone and Lysistrata.
The power of women was very limited in ancient Greece. Women were mostly viewed as the housewives and mothers instead of being involved in society. In the excerpt Lysistrata written by Aristophanes and Roman Women Demonstrate against the Oppian Law written by Livy, there is a clear indication women thrive to have more power than they are originally granted. In fact, women want to be able to have a say in the important aspects of their community such as wars they lose their husbands to or the amount of jewelry they are allowed to wear to show their honor and wealth. Furthermore, the women start very weak, but then realize they can have power over their men. In Lysistrata, the women are able to manipulate the men but taking away their number one desire. Meanwhile, in Roman Women Demonstrate against the Oppian Law, women are able to beg men into giving in to what they want. By viewing and analyzing two sources, the audience comes to the conclusion that women are able to achieve more power than they are originally granted.
Since the beginning of time, women have always been looked down upon mentally. During the time period of The Odyssey and Lysistrata, women were known as less powerful gender. They have never had much say about what goes on around them. Some women were recognized as a sex symbol. In The Odyssey, some women were goddesses that just wanted sex and other women had to stay at home to help raise their kids and do all of the feminine work. Compared to The Odyssey, in Lysistrata, women denied sex against their men to get what they want. In addition, they did not have many political rights and a say so on what goes on in their country. In comparing both of these stories, women show similarities toward each other.
Aristophanes and Agathon were peers in Ancient Greece. Aristophanes was the master of comedy, and Agathon was the master of tragedy. They traveled in the same circles and are present in the same works. In looking through the comic lens at Agathon in Aristophanes’ Women at the Thesmophoria, the reader is presented with a portrayal of an effeminate man with a flair for the dramatic and a queenly attitude. Aristophanes’ Agathon is a comic character to be laughed at, a man that is more female than male. In looking at this view of Agathon, Greek views of homoeroticism are brought up and Agathon’s reputation and character in the world of Ancient Greece is brought into question. How much of
Readers of the three Greek plays, Oedipus the King, Antigone, and Medea, can easily gather an abundance of information about the different cultural details within the Greek society at that time. One of the major cultural values that can be picked up from these three plays, is the roles of women in this society. The roles of women can be observed through a comparison between them and their male counterparts.
“Lysistrata” is a tale which is centered around an Athenian woman named Lysistrata and her comrades who have taken control of the Acropolis in Athens. Lysistrata explains to the old men how the women have seized the Acropolis to keep men from using the money to make war and to keep dishonest officials from stealing the money. The opening scene of “Lysistrata” enacts the stereotypical and traditional characterization of women in Greece and also distances Lysistrata from this overused expression, housewife character. The audience is met with a woman, Lysistrata, who is furious with the other women from her country because they have not come to discuss war with her. The basic premise of the play is, Lysistrata coming up with a plan to put an