The Athens of Lysistrata was one of the most progressive cities of its time. As a democracy, it left political decision-making and government management up to the people… but the definition of "the people" was a bit limited. Women were not included as people. Boo. Hiss.
And that's exactly what Lysistrata and her fellow women are trying to change. Lysistrata is saying that the men who make the decisions are working from a perspective that's too limited, because they refuse to listen to their wives' sensible advice. She also argues that Athenian politics has simply gotten too corrupt, and is in need of a serious cleanup.
Questions About Politics
- What does Lysistrata portray as the main problems threatening Athenian democracy?
- Why do the men of the city think women shouldn't be allowed to participate in politics?
- Why do Lysistrata and the other women think they should be allowed to participate in politics?
- Does Lysistrata have any lessons that are relevant to the world of politics today?
Chew on This
Aristophanes' play portrays corruption and excessive male dominance as the main problems threatening Athenian democracy.
Lysistrata and her fellow women think they have a right to participate in politics because they are competent, they make a contribution to the city (by giving birth to warriors), and because they suffer when the city suffers.