What is the historical context of Aristophanes' Lysistrata? How does it effect the drama?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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Aristophanes' comedy Lysistrata really had nothing to do with feminism. It was staged for an all male audience, with all the roles (including those of the women) played by men. The premise, like that of most Aristophanic comedy, was meant as funny and fantastical, rather like the kingdom of the birds or the farmer flying to Olympus on a huge dung beetle, rather than a serious consideration of gender. The main historical context was the Peloponnesian War, which had been going on for 20 years and devastating the lives of ordinary people in Athens and Sparta. The play is a strong anti-war statement, showing that the effects of war were so pervasive that even women, who in AThens tended to be very isolated from political affairs, were still be affected by it.

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