Describe the devastation of the war in Lysistrata that motivates the women to withhold sex.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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It is important to keep in mind that Lysistrata's desire for mobilization to change the condition in Athens is reflective of the destruction in the Peloponnesian War.  This is seen in different aspects, reflective of how the war has created a condition where there is little good in Athens.  The Chorus being made up of old men because the young ones have died in the war is one such aspect of this.  The absence of husbands and sons or fathers for a period of about two decades is reflective of the war's destruction and the root cause as to why the war needs to stop in the women's eyes.  For the women, the emotional heartache of separation or widowhood is evident.  Yet, there is a practical struggle also present as women who are behind have to deal with property issues, managing the affairs of the home, as well as domestic duties.  For women, the war has relegated them to emotional isolation as well as dual responsibilities.  Younger women waiting to be married have been relegated to the single life because the duration of the war has moved them past the age of marriage.  The waging of the war on the part of men has abandoned the lives of women, causing their predicament to be even more strenuous.  Women's voices were never taken into account in this, and thus, Lysistrata's actions become the need to right that which is wrong.  This is the devastation of the war that has been wrought upon the women and thus calling out for change.

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