What serious issues are being explored beneath the comic surface of Lysistrata?

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

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The original question had to be edited down.  Beneath the comedy of Aristophanes' work is a significant and serious issue about the nature of modern warfare.  War is shown to be a destructive force, something that endangers all human beings.  Men and women are shown to be impacted through war.  Lysistrata's plan is not meant to ensnare men, as much as it meant to stop war.  The Peloponnesian War has ravaged Athens.  It has not spared anyone and the plan to stop the war is what motivates the women.  The fundamental issue that drives the plot of the drama is how to stop the bloodshed and the destruction that is so intrinsic to war.  War is shown to be socially destructive.  Nothing of value is shown to be gained by it.  Women are challenged by time apart from their men, who are already impacted by the war that they wage.  The serious issue about how war can be stopped is where the comedy is most effective.  The Athenian desire for conquest and for victory is offset by how the women understand the condition of war that has left them without their men, subject to living lives alone.  At the same time, the need to stop war becomes one of the fundamental elements in the narrative, helping to convey something very profound through its comedic approach.

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