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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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Nudity, obscenity, and power: modes of female assertiveness in Aristophanes 1

Nudity, obscenity, and power: modes of female assertiveness in Aristophanes 1

(p.237) 12 Nudity, obscenity, and power: modes of female assertiveness in Aristophanes1
Talking about Laughter

Alan H. Sommerstein (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the ways in which women, in Aristophanes' Lysistrata and Ecclesiazusae, use nudity, obscene language, and obscene gesture to assert their independence of, and power over, men. The women's chorus in Lysistrata are ‘stage-naked’ for some 300 lines; earlier in the play, other women had pointedly used obscene words and gestures; and later, the mute nude Reconciliation, unlike every other Aristophanic figure of her kind, is used to exercise control over men, offering to take them by the penis not to pleasure them but to drag them to the peace table. There is a series of similar phenomena in Ecclesiazusae too, culminating in an apparent nude dancing duet by two young women who must logically be, and be seen to be, of citizen status.

Keywords:   Aristophanes, Lysistrata, Ecclesiazisae, nudity, obscene

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