LysistrataSome Greek men, you ll discover,Being a lesser loverThan a renderer of war,Treat their wives much like a whore.So one day, Lysistrata,Equipped with all the data,Reckoned upon a tacticTo withhold love climactic.She aimed to end all conflictWith some cohorts she had picked,To flaunt breasts and nothing hide,Though, til peace, men were denied.Males came with their pricks erect,Revealed for all to inspect,Still their wives rejected them,Until war they would condemn.So the violence did decrease And the warring tribes made peace,A gently handled magic wandMade sure a double entendre.At play s end, the sun went downOn the whole of Athens townAnd nothing followed after,But the echoes of laughter.Illustration by Norman Lindsay It had been quite awhile since I contemplated over any books let alone penning a critical appraisal on Goodreads It was tough trying to get words out of the overwhelming emotional vortex an obstinate ketchup bottle ignoring the need of a fried potato for the tangy goodness So, when Brian suggested a group reading of Lysistrata, I was a bit apprehensive A Greek playwright crossing the dreaded course of fallen heroic tragedies even remorse to my cerebral coma not a luxurious indulgence at the moment Lysistrata is a woman s name yes it is and sex is the weapon used to hem the broken olive branchTo husband or lover, I ll not open arms Though love and denial may enlarge his charms But still at home, ignoring him, I ll stay Bountiful, clad in saffron silk all day If then he seizes me with by dint of force, I ll give him reason for a long remorse I ll never lie and stare up at the ceiling Nor like a lion on all four go kneeling If I keep faith then bounteous cups be mine Do you swear to this Then I shall immolate the victim thusHolding a pair of olive logs, a vine torch and a small pot of live embers Lysistrata and her women folk thus embarked on an egalitarian journey within the locked Acropolis citadel a long awaited unified cry of misplaced wisdom Neither the pointless sexist blabber from unassailable old men who rather burn the protesters than give a patient ear nor the wailing of desperate husbands and lovers could shake the well rooted fortitude of this rebellious bunch Peace is what they strive at the cost of their fornication We pay taxes, manage finesse with domestic budgetary, and give birth to descendants who will render their youth to deathly absurdities in a unproductive war. Abandoned voices yearning to be heard outside the bedroom in the ubiquitous courtyards of masochism I m a free woman screams this slap stick engaging play Aristophanes delineated a cohesive front an equalized gender dais debating the validity of aggressive hostilities Wars not only annihilate countries but families too Common sense is a rarity and idiocy the universal daily crow of a proud rooster Underestimating the weak is the biggest blunder of an astute strategist And, Groupthink is not just a term coined by a confident Mr Janis harried egocentric faulty pronouncements can even corrupt sincerity Remember theBay of PigsNevertheless all is not lost and the inbred humor prances around like a spring rabbit One cannot help but laugh when distressed over the abstinence issue Myrrhine s husband Cinesias brings their child to convince to come back to a lovely home and a lonely husband Even after pledging to bringpeace to the land, Myrrhine does not give in to the carnal needs bringing Cinesias to tear his hair outCINESIASA wicked thing, as I repeat.O Zeus, O Zeus,Canst Thou not suddenly let looseSome twirling hurricane to tearHer flapping up along the airAnd drop her, when she s whirled around,Here to the groundNeatly impaled upon the stakeThat s ready upright for her sakeBaudrillard was precise in inferring the power of seduction to be greater than the act itselfMaster the kitchen, master the bedroom and so shall rule your husband. The evergreen thumb rule of triumph of one of my elderly aunt s long lasting marriage In a world devoid of any sex toys or cinematic screenings, sex and food was the ultimate seduction of powerBuy me the silver or no midnight climaxes You want me to clean after you my closed legs will be your eternal marriage giftCan sex be really used as a weapon by ladies of all societal strata Power seekers beware of the fairer sex for they have unfailing artillery Is the abstinence of sex capable of stopping mindless male aggression of power Could Silvio Berlusconi minimize the impact of EU crisis if Ruby had protested the Bunga Bunga Gaddafi would not have met with such a brutal death for being a scoundrel of a dictator An excellent point put forth by Brian, about the Iraq War wonders if the search of the indiscernible WMDs would have stopped if Mrs.Bush along with Mrs Blair transpired Lysistrata proposal at the White House The new democratic gesticulation could discipline the wildest of men, Napoleon would have been the best candidate as the saying goes small men huge ego Aristophanes is undoubtedly a visionary for banishing the discrepancies of gender biases bequeathing the weaker sex with a new leash of power and control No will the patriarchal societies characterize gender roles and women no longer will be pretty bodies sitting on a vagina Lysistrata s protest was not designated to demoralize the validity of manhood, but an outright memo of the rarity of common sense and advocacy of peace over a senseless war fought for decades The weak can be strong when they stand up for their rights and cannot be easily dismissed by mere ignorance Not only wars, but numerous crimes against can be stopped with the ongoing strategy The only fear looms is of how long it will be until the newly acquired democratic forum spits an authoritative fire But, that is yet a farsighted destination and as of now, peace was ultimately restored and the Greeks merrily celebrated with abundance wine and sex Wasn t that sex the ultimate catch after allLYSISTRATAEarth is delighted now peace is the voice of earth.Spartans, sort out your wives Athenians, yours.Let each catch hands with his wife and dance his joy,Dance out his thanks, be grateful in music,And promise reformation with his heels How old is the idea of women withholding sex from men to get what they want Well, apparently as far back as 405 BC, because that s what happens in this hilarious and bawdy Greek comedy In this play it was en masse with the singular purpose of bringing peace between the warring Athenians and Spartans Did it work Well, what do you think Today Alyssa Milano called for a sex strike in response to Georgia s abortion ban, which raises two questions 1 Alyssa Milano is still a thing and 2 Haven t I heard this before I can help with the second thing Milano got it from Aristophanes, who in 411 BC invented the sex strike and, for all you know, dildos It s 411 BC and Athens is deep in the Peloponnesian War with Sparta and everyone s pretty stressed about it In Aristophanes brilliantly simple idea, the women of both sides organize and throw a sex strike Stop fighting, they say, Or no humping The plot is that they say that and then it works There s some stuff about dildos, for obvious reasons, but that s about all there is to it Unfortunately it was a made up story in real life this didn t happen and Athens lost the war and that was basically the end of the Golden Age of Democracy But the play is great easily Aristophanes s best surviving play funny and filthy and don t forget, the thing about Greek plays is that you can knock one out in an hour and a glass of wine, so why haven t you read this Translation and illustration courtesy of Valerie Schrag for The Graphic CanonAlyssa Milano, who played a kid on the 80s TV show Who s The Boss and is now still a thing, isn t the first to try the Lysistrata strategy It s been done in places as diverse as Colombia, Nigeria, and Italy It comes up in the US every time Republicans do something particularly assheaded so, daily.It s not an ineffective strategy, and I don t mean to belittle Alyssa Milano, who performed the voice of Bimini in 2012 s Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2 and is totally still a thing Georgia s abortion ban is a nightmare and if this is what it takes it s a small price to pay That s what she said Dunked on my own dick And the play s not ineffective either Like all the best ideas, it s extremely simple and it involves dildos.TranslationsValerie Schrag, as mentioned above, has a comic version for the Graphic Canon that s super fun but pretty direly abridged.Douglass Parker has one for this common Aristophanes collection that s fine but it s trying very very hard to be as cool as Aristophanes was and failing If you ve found a great translation, please do let me know. Aristophanes Comic Masterpiece Of War And Sex Remains One Of The Greatest Plays Ever Written Led By The Title Character, The Women Of The Warring City States Of Greece Agree To Withhold Sexual Favours With Their Husbands Until They Agree To Cease Fighting The War Of The Sexes That Ensues Makes Lysistrata A Bawdy Comedy Without Peer In The History Of Theatre , TV Commercial Does your husband and the men of Athens just want to wage war Do they ignore your pleas for peace no matter how long the Peloponnesian War has been going on Tired of your men s stupid decisions in such a trying time Do you wish to end it Well women of Athens, you are in luck, we have the solution for you, withhold sex from your husbands and lovers, that will bring them back with their tails between their feet and a signed peace document Women of Athens Would that not just create divisions between the sexes and a sort of war between the citizens TV Commercial ehhhh, most likely But, their idiocy must be stopped.Lysistrata You have got a deal I am starting now Women let us meet My time has come to convince you to withhold sex so we can have peace This cannot possibly backfire Now that that is aside, THIS IS NEITHER A FEMINIST PLAY, NOR A PACIFIST ONE I understand why modern readers might interpret it as such, but at the time it was written,and many years after, it was clear that the view was that women were a nuisance that needed to be protected from themselves It basically begins with these linesLYSISTRATA There are a lot of things about us women That sadden me, considering how men See us as rascals.CALONICE As indeed we are Not the greatest sentence for a supposedly feminist play Now this is also quite a crude play, maybe even so than the Bard himself In it men walk about with erect penises for no other reason that them being denied sex and unable to control erections We have a woman that sort of teases her lover by saying she will do him and them promptly bringing a bed, a mattress, a pillow, a blanket, some oil, and then ends up running back up to the Acropolis where the women are holding out Their oath to not have sex tells them not to do a certain sexual pose that apparently was popular back then I would say this play is a bit offensive to men, not as much as women, but it does dictate that men cannot function unless their penis is inside someone s vagina That kind of does them a disservice Here s a few reasons why it is not feminist The first lines of the play as written above Majority of women, except Lysistrata, are presented as voluptuaries A magistrate arrives and starts spouting about how women are hysterical and that men should keep better hold of them He proceeds to also claim they have too much of a liking to wine, promiscuous sex, and for some weird reasons, exotic cults There are two women with these names seed market porridge vegetable sellers and garlic innkeeping bread sellers Lysistrata uses a woman for her beauty to distract the men enough to have them sign peace I did laugh nonetheless, I prefer to read it as satire, it makes the funny and cringe worthy moments all the fun. This was hilarious Women withholding sex until all the men stopped the war What an imaginative idea I especially liked how the women fought against their own desires despite being in heat Several laugh out loud moments for me. In the introductory note in my edition a Mr Crofts mentions that the play is notorious for its racy, almost pornographic humor I d say that this seems to be a bit of an overstatement Surely it is not that much racy than say a William Shakespeare play or for that matter The Arabian Nights Tales from a Thousand and One Nights It is really all talk and no action Surely we as modern readers can handle that And would anyone living in 1994, the date of this edition, really consider this pornographic As for the drawings of Aubrey Beardsley NSFW link , though they are lovely, they are also a bit besides the point I mean there s not actually any enormous penises running around in the play At the most there s some naked wrinkly old men ok, all men deciding to never read this play at this point, come back It is a really fun play, you learn about Greek history and feel smart, yey I m not saying that there s not a fair amount of sexual innuendo in the play, how much seems to depend a bit on which translation you have The Beardsley drawings are clearly a rather unsubtle hint on someone being a view spoiler cock hide spoiler Non esistono al mondo creature pi sfrontate delle donnev 369 La guerra ventennale tra Atene e Sparta diventata logorante per tutti ma gli uomini sono ciechi e sordi di fronte alla ragione e se nessuno li ferma continueranno a trucidarsi La scena si apre proprio su Lisistratainquieta passeggiando dinanzi alla casache attende le altre donne chiamate a raccolta e alle quali vuole comunicare l estrema decisionebisogna astenersi dal bischeroDi fronte a tale richiesta, per , le donne cercano pretesti Non si sentono cos coraggiose da potersi astenere sessualmente.Ecco che Lisistrata perno e caposaldo dell azione al compito di ricercare lo strumento con cui ricattare gli uomini e far cessare la guerra si aggiunge quello di convincere le donne che il sacrificio proposto importante.Fondamentale questo spirito di sorellanza perch se alle donne non permesso entrare nel campo delle decisioni qui con forza pretendono questo diritto non pi solo ascoltare ed obbedire a testa bassa con quel velo sul capo a segnare la condizione di inferiorit imposta ma con la forza dell unione a dar voce alle proprie opinioni.Rosso il sangue versato in guerra.Rosso il colore del desiderio carnale che si esprime liberamente Sono ancora lontani i tempi delle dottrine artefatte che assoggettano e addomesticano la natura reale dei corpi come fossero bestioline selvatiche.Lontano lo spauracchio del peccato cristiano che frena, reprime, inibisce sotto la sferza di costumi e morali che terrorizzano con la visione delle fiamme infernali.Qui in scena ci sono corpi di uomini e di donne liberi di dichiarare senza vergogna o ti la voglia di fare sesso E molto tempo dopo si dir fate l a non fate la guerra
c 446 BCE c 386 BCE was a playwright of ancient Athens About 11 of his works are known in full, and they are the only plays of the Old Comedy style to have survived They are The Acharnians, The Birds, The Clouds, The Ecclesiazusae, The Frogs, The Knights, Peace, Plutus Wealth , The Thesmophoriazusae, and The Wasps These plays have been translated into many languages and continue to be staged or adapted for theatrical productions.Aristophanes satirized the political and social issues of 5th century BC Athens, such as the ongoing Peloponnesian War, the structure of the city state, the role of women in public life, and the influence of philosophers notably Socrates in shaping public opinion.
- 132 pages
- 19 January 2019 Aristophanes