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Women in Antiquity 6.docx

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CLAS 2051
Fiona Black

Athenian Drama Conclusion  axis of good vs bad women on the stage not necessarily representative of Athenian women (who should be silent and secluded in their house), and also came from a different time and place, and spoke a different language  discuss what makes a good person vs bad person by using fantastical characters  often death and destruction occurs if one does not follow the natural and divine laws Athenian Comedy  performance of comedy was a method of worshiping the god Dionysus  first appearance in 500 BCE  having people die was a way of expressing the death of the land until spring (tragedy) vs the procreative nature of comedy in which fertility was expressed  komos-oidos: literally, revelry-song  actors wear padded suits (distended bellies representing gluttony) and flaccid penises- procreation, enjoyment of life  one of the things that would initiate the comic performance would be carrying the phallus pole into the city o oppressive phallic imagery throughout drama  female characters acted by men... male actor pretending to be a woman pretending to be a man  compared to tragedy, not much comedy surviving  only author with thorough collection of works surviving is Aristophanes (445-380 BCE)  comedy sometimes drew upon the success of tragedy (using characters) by making fun  representing "real life"- contemporary life- not drawing upon tragic myths, rather portraying accuracies of contemporary life, used more natural meter (iambics), more common Athenian vernacular, better overall representation of Athenian language o tragic vocabulary used when mocking tragic authors  sometimes made fun of people from other places using different accents  some kind of truth in the hyperbole of comedy (low class sausage sellers probably accurate representation of how sausage sellers actually viewed)  Old Comedy- Aristophanes- mostly what survived o writing in a time when Athens was thriving o frequent mentions of statesmen (mocking), very little government can do  Middle Comedy  New Comedy  Three Main Comedies Featuring Women o circa time when Athens was at war with Sparta o Lysistrata 411  the most performed (publicly read) of Aristophanes works  women and the political system  what would happen if women had political power?  war with Sparta sucking resources out of Athens  what if women go on a sex strike until the war has ended and Athens and Sparta come to a truce  common theme with Aristophanes- "enough is enough"  Lysistrata is the main character, convinces all the women to go along with the plan, seize the Acropolis as their domain; Sparta
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