CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF GENDER DIMENSION IN ARISTOPHANES’S LYSISTRATA
The issue of sex–strike has slowly gained grounds as a form of political strategy. Thefirst of such was presented in a comedy by Aristophanes in his Lysistrata. During the fifthcentury, Athenian women withheld sexual favours from their husbands and lovers, as aresponse to protest against the Peloponnesian War (125–127).The women in the Lysistrata used this tactic of denying sexual pleasures to theirhusbands to coerce them to settle for peace (952–960).In the traditional Athenian society, denial of sexual pleasures by a woman to her husbandwill mean the flaunting of her conjugal duty in caring for the husband’s emotional needs. Italso poses a serious threat to the continuation of the family lineage.
As in the case ofLysistrata, the Spartan and Athenian delegates were yearning to negotiate for peace talks(1102–1104).The sexual theme that Aristophanes incorporates into the play was to demonstrate thatwomen are not only concerned about the effects of wars but also about the plight of betrothedwomen who might loose their chances of getting married to their husbands. He at leastshowed sympathy for the women. Since men do not want to be denied sexual pleasures then they will do all they can to help curtail the crisis as in the case of Kinesis. The strike did notonly serve a comic purpose but also address a very sensitive issue: loss of live andmismanagement of state funds.One fact still remains in the play; women helped change the affairs of the state for ashort period and the world at least for a brief time; complex military negotiation for peacewas at the time not needed to end the war. It worked in this play for the mere fact that womenbeing involved in politics were utterly an absured idea at least for a time to justify an equallyfarcical conclusion of the play