Friends and foes: the people of Lysistrata

Robson, James (2010). Friends and foes: the people of Lysistrata. In: Stuttard, David ed. Looking at Lysistrata. London: Duckworth, pp. 49–60.



This essay looks at the ways in which different social groups in Aristophanes' Lysistrata are presented, such as old men, old women, younger women, Spartans, slaves and immigrants. It is argued that Aristophanes' portrayal of these characters is both lively and realized in such as a way as to convey complex and radical ideas. In his portrayal of women, for example, Aristophanes creates a thematically rich battle of the sexes in the play and draws on comic stereotypes, exploiting the tension between women's supposed love of sex and the decision to hold a sex strike to end the war. The way in which Spartans are presented in a the play is noteworthy, too, since here Aristophanes appears to paint a highly positive portrait of a city with which Athens was at war.

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