Kvinnorna i Lysistrate : De underliggande strukturerna och syftet bakom Aristofanes framställning
411 BC during the festival in Lenaia in Athens, in the end stages of the Peloponnesian war, Aristophanes’ comedy Lysistrate was played on stage for the first time. Despite the fact that the Athenian woman didn’t have a voice in the public sphere, she not only dominates the story in the play, but also became the focus of the audience through the staging of the play.
My purpose with this study has been to examine through a close reading of the play how Aristophanes portrays the women in the text, and what might have been his purpose with the portrayal.
Aristophanes’ depiction of the women in Lysistrate is not only based on the conventions of his contemporary society, but also on more complex structures that form the aspects of how the women are shaped in the text.
In accordance with these structures the women are portrayed in a ridiculing and exaggerated way, especially when it comes to sexuality and all kinds of mischief. This results in a comical portrayal of the women. But they are also portrayed in a more sensible and serious way in their political statements, where they voice criticism and question the war and how it is handled. The women advocate their own right to take part in and give advice on political affairs in war as well as in peace.
The comical and the political portrayal of the women interact with each other and form a whole that might constitute Aristophanes’ purpose with his writing of the women. The political message, that Aristophanes’ wishes for an end to the war and that the women should be allowed to give advice, is clear, while the comical portrayal ensures that it comes across more as a wish, than as a political urging.
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