History – Ancient history

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1. Aristophanes chose to write a comedy about women, though we know precious little about women who lived in Ancient Greece. In Athens, for example, citizen women were meant to be domestic and have virtually no public life, and while Spartan women did play more of a public role in society, their roles were secondary to the military roles of men. Write a 4-5 page, well-argued response in which you consider the role of women in Greek society as they are written by Aristophanes. You might want to consider the following questions when crafting your response: How does Aristophanes, as a Greek man, write about women? What roles do women play in Lysistrata? Does he write women as strong characters who transgress traditional gender roles or does his focus on women and sex only reinforce already existing tropes of women’s unbridled sexuality?

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2. For most of Aristophanes’s life (446-386 BCE), Greek poleis fought against one another during the Peloponnesian War. The length of the war had dire consequences for the Greek lands, not least of which included mass death, destruction, and economic ruin. Write a 4-5 page, well-argued paper that considers the extent to which Lysistrata can be considered an anti-war comedy. You might want to consider the following questions when crafting your response: For whom might have Lysistrata been intended? What about the play is anti-war? Why does Aristophanes choose to have women from all the Greek poleis represented in the play? What is Aristophanes saying about the nature of war and its consequences for Greek society?

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3. Aristophanes is arguably Ancient Greece’s most notable comic writer. Though a proud Athenian who loved his city-state, he was not afraid to make fun of it or its politics. Write a 4-5 page, well-argued paper that analyzes the comedic aspects of Lysistrata. You may want to consider the following questions while crafting your response: What makes Lysistrata a comedy? What is Aristophanes choosing to satirize? How does he do so? Has this humor transcended time and space?

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