In what ways does Aristophanes' Lysistrata undermine the notions of masculinity, femininity, and heroism defined by earlier Greek authors?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Aristophanes Lysistrata, like many of his other plays, exists in the realm of the fantastic. Just like his farmer flying to Olympus on a dung beetle or talking birds, the women in the play are not meant as realistic characters, nor is this meant as a feminist drama. It is not intended as a challenge to female gender roles, but rather a suggestion that the males of the Greek city are failing so badly in their civic duties by pursuing senseless wars, that even mere women need to intervene. It also suggests that heroism does not consist of pursuing war at all costs, but can consist of refraining from them. Thus gender roles are not really being undermined in the play except in so far as Aristophanes is suggesting that war is not a necessary attribute of masculinity.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial