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Lecture

Aristophanes' Lysistrata.doc
Aristophanes' Lysistrata.doc

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School
University of Toronto St. George
Department
Classics
Course
CLA219H1
Professor
Regina Höschele
Semester
Fall

Description
Lecture 9 (11/20/12): Aristophanes' Lysistrata - 411 BC, performed in Athens by the comic playwright Aristophanes - Aristophanes lived in the second half of the 4th century and the beginning of the 3rd century BC - Most of his plays were performed while the Peloponnesian war was being fought - Often the plays were about silly ways to stop the war and contained direct attacks on prominent people, this is the old comedy - New comedy was more romantic comedy styled plays - Lysistrata shows the women running the city - Gynaecocracy: rule by women - The Sicilian expedition was a total clusterfuck that destroyed the Athenian fleet - 413 BC, saw the political restructuring with a council of 10 elders to make the decisions for the people - 411 BC, temporary establishment of a oligarchy in Athens - The Four Hundred: The short lived oligarchy imposed on Athens by a coup during the Peloponnesian war - Oligarchy: The rule of the few, usually the rule of the upper class - 410 BC, the return of the democracy - These things are all found in Lysistrata since its part of the political context - Comic idea: women want to stop the war by refusing to have sex with men until they relent - But the women want sex too so they have trouble sticking to the plan - Comedies are not strictly logical, the ban on sex should only work if the men were at home buy they're doing it because the men are away - Put on the same year that Aristophanes put on the Thesmophoriazusae - Would be put on during the Lenaea or the City Dionysia - Lenaea: Small dramatic festival of Athens held in the winter - Dionysia: A large dramatic festival to Dionysus held in winter and early spring in which dramatic contests were held for comedy and tragedy - There is an occupation of the acropolis by the old women to take hold of the treasury and the finance - the old men try to take the acropolis back - A paralysing of both the Oikos with the sex ban and the polis with the occupation of the acropolis - Two levels of conflict, Sparta vs. Athens and men vs. women - Shown by the split of the chorus into a male and female half - Comedy has a structure similar to tragedy with an alternation between spoken parts and the chorus - Chorus not usually split but they are in this case - Lysistrata is a meaningful name, means woman who dissolves the army, was an allusion to the priestess of Athena Polias at the time whose name meant dissolver of battle - Lysistrata's partner is named after the priestess of Athena Nike, confirming the connection between the play and the priestesses of that year - The idea of a gynaecocracy is not
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