One of the most famous of Aristophanes’ comedies depicting powerfully effectual women is the Lysistrata, named after the female lead character of the play. It portrays Athenian Lysistrata (which means ;release of war;) and the women of Athens teaming up with the women of Sparta to force their husbands to end the Peloponnesian War.
To make the men agree to a peace treaty, the women seized the Acropolis, where Athens’ financial reserves are kept, and prevented the men from squandering them further on the war. They then beat back an attack on their position by the old men who have remained in Athens while the younger men are out at war. When their husbands return from battle, the women refuse to have sex with them. This sex strike finally convinces the men of Athens and Sparta to agree to a peace treaty.
Lysistrata shows women acting bravely and even aggressively against men who seem resolved on ruining the city-state by prolonging a pointless war and excessively expending reserves stored in the Acropolis. This in turn added to the destruction of their family life by staying away from home for long stretches while on military campaign. The men would come home when they could, sexually relieve themselves, and then leave again to continue a senseless war.
The women challenge the masculine role model to preserve the traditional way of life of the community. When the women become challenged, they take on the masculine characteristics and attitudes and defeat the men physically, mentally and strategically. Proving that neither side benefits from it, just that one side loses more than the other side.
It’s easy to see why Athenian women would get tired of their men leaving. Most Athenian women married in their teens and never had to be on their own Most of them wouldn’t have known what to do if they did end up on their own. The men leave for war and some don’t return because of death or other reasons, so now a widow finds


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