However, it is a passive means and is indicative of physical allure, a trait that is feminine and lacking authority. Even with this power, characters like Calonice are depicted as being too weak to even exercise it properly:. Such a statement suggests that women are subject to the will of their physical desires and cannot control them. It also shows that women are truly the weaker sex because they cannot control their bodily drives. This is sharply contrasted to men, who are usually characterized in Greek culture as strong, reserved and in control.
Lysistrata lamented this facet of women in Greece by arguing,. It's no wonder men write tragedies about us. This marginalization of women in literature would continue throughout history and is particularly evident in the works of William Shakespeare. The play also clarified Greek culture and its gender norms by detailing how men used their physical power and violence to undermine women.
Even the brace Lysistrata acknowledged that men have an upper hand in this respect. When the other women asked what to do if their men beat them, she replied by lamenting that:. Such submission to male authority shows that violence and physical means of coercion were the norm.
Women had no choice but to accept it and deal with the repercussions. Later in the play, there were also numerous instances where men threatened women with physical violence directly. For instance, when the Chorus reflected shared dialogue with women, a question posed was:. This paints Greek culture in a light that undermines women and their freedoms.
While it may be a broad generalization to assume that all men beat their wives, the play does show that society sees it as an acceptable means by which to deal with unruly women. With a life of dealing with children, cleaning and other familial tasks, gender roles were oriented towards men being the breadwinners while women were passive and submissive. In Greek culture, women were burdened with:. This shows that Greek culture was conservative in terms of gender interaction. Moreover, instituting a sexual double standard where women wield sex as a means of persuasion, the play portrays women in a negative light.
Despite being limited to only bodily pleasure as a bargaining tool, evidence from the play shows that apprehension towards using this power stemmed from an inability to control sex drive. Clearly, women in Greece were depicted as weak, sexual creatures that were powerless to men despite the fact that they ultimately achieve their goal in the play. Finally, the ubiquitous use of violence to deal with the women shows that this was an accepted facet of Greek gender relations. Women had to deal with violent means of coercion as an acceptable form of discourse.
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This essay focuses on the author Aristophanes' view of male and female gender roles in ancient Greece. Insightful literary interpretations are just one of the many features provided by Ultius.. Aristophanes’ Lysistrata as a representation of Greek gender roles Greek culture has long been cited as one related to sophistication, social progress, and intellect.5/5(1). Free Essay: Officially titled the Hellenic Republic, Greece is a country whose historical and cultural heritage continues to influence the modern world.
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