How does Aristophanes' Lysistrata subvert the private and public distinction?

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It can be argued that


Aristophanes' Lysistrata subverts the public and private distinction in the manner that the sexual, which is generally considered private, is set forth as a way of affecting public policy. Consider the statement:


Calonice: My dear Lysistrata, just what is this matter you've summoned us women to consider. What's up? Something big?



This sets up what functions as a parody of what would be, among men, a discussion of political news or other important public issues. Here, the protest, as it were, mingles sexual innuendo and a discussion of sexual practice and use of sexuality as politically manipulative with the quite serious public issue of the Peloponnesian wars, making the important point that the war affected many individuals in the polis who would not normally be considered part of the political classes or public per se, such as women, slaves, and metics.