Essay Example on Gender Stereotyping in Aristophanes' Play Lysistrata

Published: 2022-12-06
Essay Example on Gender Stereotyping in Aristophanes' Play Lysistrata
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Stereotypes World literature Gender in literature
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 930 words
8 min read

It is a noticeable fact that society often typecast both men and women. The same case is witnessed in the works of many scholarly authors who portray men and women differently. Stereotyping is the act of viewing an image or a character using general factors to give them certain responsibilities. Simply put, it is a biased perspective of a subject. Today, many authors use a stereotype in their literary works to give men and women-specific roles. Aristophanes' play, Lysistrata, is an excellent example of this incident. The play reveals the aspect of stereotype, and it clearly shows how men and women are conveyed through prejudice. Therefore, this paper will illustrate gender stereotyping as evident in the play, Lysistrata

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The play is an old comedy authored by Aristophanes during Ancient Athens. It is about women who choose to deny their husband sex to show that they can be in control although, in reality, they do not have power over men. Lysistrata also illustrates the mission planned by Athenian women to end the perpetual Peloponnesian war. The protagonist, Lysistrata together with other women who reside in Athens and other warring States focus on their sexuality. In this male chauvinist society, women render their husbands powerless. In a quest for peace, a comical battle for gender emerges.

It is worth noting that emphasis is placed on gender issues in the conceptualization of masculinity and femininity. The intricacy behind the argument is whether or not the author is a useful source for the history of women. Most importantly, the play seeks to expose cultural stereotype about Greek men and women. Regarding females, Lysistrata is suggesting that women promoted peace in the Peloponnesian war by intentionally denying their men sex until they settle disputes between Greece and Sparta. This shows that women are not often obsessed by sex as proposed by cultural stereotype.

Further, this play is purely a political remark, and other scenes seem to portray women as powerful individuals. At around 411, women were dependent in Athens, Greece. Patriarchal hegemony was inconceivable when there were small social changes or public manifestations based on how society viewed women. However, midway through the play, Lysistrata seems to confront a magistrate, thus, depicting how powerful a woman is in the play.

The play also depicts women as the keepers of home and hearth due to their reproductive nature whereas men are portrayed as providers and protectors because of their strength and size. One scene of the play reveals that women were upset because they remained at home taking care of the babies while men were on the battlefield, and this follows typical gender. In other words, Lysistrata jumps into conclusion that since women are weak, they are only capable of doing household chores, and that is why they are given lighter duties like feeding the children and performing household duties. Similarly, because men are strong, they deserve to fight in the war. This separation of gender roles is itself a stereotype as men and women are assigned duties based on their physique and appearance. The play, therefore, assumes the fact that some women can perform male responsibilities.

Another aspect of stereotype is derived from the theme of politics. Between 500 and 400 BC, Athens had embraced civilization and democracy. However, there still existed division between men and women as a result of prejudice since the Athenians believed that the two genders were unique in their distinctive ways. According to play, since men appeared vibrant, they qualified to take part in politics to affect change. On the other hand, women were allowed to stick to their homes and take care of their family. While Greek men received their honor and prestige for fighting bravely, women seemed to gain their respect and attain success by giving birth to boys who later became men.

Lysistrata gives readers many examples of various types of women through actions and dialogues. On the one hand, the protagonist is seen as a powerful and an excellent speaker who can command a gathering. On the other hand, a woman is perceived as weak. One woman contradicts the character of Lysistrata. She is apathetic and does not want to involve in political matters once the likelihood of sex is revoked, and for the most scenes of the play, many characters seem to fit in the context of a stereotypical woman:- housebound and dutiful to the husband.

By presenting the audience with a solid woman character, the author perceives both sides of a woman: - subservient and influential. While the play is undoubtedly the central theme of political movement, some elements of Aristophanes character are more masculine than the other females encountered, and this gives the play a sense of meaning. It is because male audiences at the time would have found the plot to be incredible if the protagonist that influenced change was a woman.


Overall, the play, Lysistrata exhibits various instances of the stereotype that are present in society today. Women and men in the play are assigned different duties based on their appearance. At the beginning of the scenes, women are portrayed as housewives who can only perform household roles such as caring for the family due to their nature. Men, on the other hand, are conveyed as breadwinners and providers because of their masculinity. In reality, the play is based on traditional gender roles. The debate as to whether there should be gender role separation is, therefore, complex. From an individual perspective, the division of these roles can lead to separation between men and women. Equally, unifying these roles can result in competition.

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Essay Example on Gender Stereotyping in Aristophanes' Play Lysistrata. (2022, Dec 06). Retrieved from

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