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Talking about LaughterAnd Other Studies in Greek Comedy$
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Alan H. Sommerstein

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199554195

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199554195.001.0001

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Lysistrata the warrior

Lysistrata the warrior

(p.223) 11 Lysistrata the warrior
Talking about Laughter

Alan H. Sommerstein (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that neither Aristophanes, nor his creation Lysistrata, can reasonably be regarded as a pacifist, or even as an unconditional advocate of ending the current war against Sparta. Lysistrata herself uses violence and the infliction of pain to achieve her ends; every reference made by her or her supporters to wars against enemies other than Sparta is a favourable one (as is typical of Aristophanes); and the peace terms she makes with Sparta would have been utterly, and obviously, unattainable for a democratic Athens in early 411 bc, as is virtually admitted within the play itself. The play transports the audience into a dream world where, with divine aid, the impossible is achieved. There is no sign, here or elsewhere, that Aristophanes would have accepted, let alone advocated, any peace that did not leave Athens free to maintain her empire.

Keywords:   Aristophanes, Lysistrata, peace, pacifist, war, Sparta

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