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Unformatted text preview: H ist 151 Professor Corpis 9/24/08 Aristophanes Satirical View of Women At its fi rst showing in 411 B.C., Aristophanes play Lysistrata was presented to the Athenian public amidst a state of great political tu rmoil. 1 Aristophanes attempts to, throughout the entirety of this work of theatrical writing, invoke feelings of anti-war sentiment and dictate a story which supports this policy. In addition to playing off of the crowds feelings toward the ever present pressures on daily life caused by the continuation of mili tary conflict known as the Peloponnesian War, Aristophanes also fools around with the concept of womens role in Greek (mainly Athenian) society. In an effort to use the viewers outlook on the position of woman and the extensive satirical atmosphere in which he presents the women in the play, Aristophanes seeks to provide entertainment in order soften the harsh statements of his anti-war propaganda. From looking at Aristophanes overall motivation for writing this play along with 1 1 Douglass Parker, translator, Lysistrata by Aristophanes (New York: New American Library, 2001), 7 the li terary tools he uses to portray the women in it, the position of women in Athenian society, as seen through Aristophanes eyes, is clearly shown. When comparing Aristophanes ideas of gender issues to the two Greek philosophers Aristotle and Plato, the writings of the former seem to be more in line with stance taken by the playwright. Thus, Platos notions of semi gender neutrality appear to take a back seat to the philosophy of male dominance pushed by Aristotle and Aristophanes. The Greek philosopher Plato, a student of the well-known sophist Socrates, became one of the most in fluence minds in history. In his famous work the Republic , Plato, through the dialogue of Socrates and other characters, describes his ideal empire and the structure of i ts political organization. In his explanation of this ideal state, Plato breaks the populous into three separate groups: the ruling class of philosopher kings, the military class, and everyone else (i.e....
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