Lysistrata: The Dominant One?

Find past paper here: http://www.longsands.cambs.sch.uk/data_files/curriculum/2009%20Specimen%20paper%20&%20mark%20scheme[1].pdf

Question: How dominant is Lysistrata in this passage and the rest of the play?

Lysistrata is dominant in the passage due to her bossing about of Scythaena. She uses the imperative “Put that shield face down” to be dominant over the slave girl- who duly submisses to this command, showing Lysistrata’s dominance. In the rest of the play, Lysistrata does use imperatives and bosses and commands- thus dominating other women. This is shown when she stops the women escaping from the Acropolis, exposing one ‘pregnant’ lady’s helmet- ensuring domination over her followers to ensure the sex strike continues.

Lysistrata is dominant in the passage due to her confidence and optimism. In the passage, Lampito casts doubt over Lysistrata’s plan for peace, but Lysistrata affirms her plan ” we will, you’ll see”. This shows dominant Lysistrata as she refuses to abandon her plan, eventually convincing the women to follow it. However, elsewhere in the play, her confidence falters- during the reconciliation scene, whereby the Spartan delegates completely mock her attempts at peace settlement. Whilst she continues, her dominance is completely undermined by these men.

Lysistrata is not dominant in this passage, as both Calonice and Myrrhine have to give her advice. Myrrhine suggests a “white stallion” whilst Calonice gives the idea of the large “black cup”, which is the plan that is accepted. Therefore, Lysistrata is not dominant, instead sharing her power amongst peers by allowing them to come up with plans of action. Could have added: Elsewhere, where does she take advice/be reactive/be led by others?

Lysistrata is not dominant in this passage because serious intentions are undercut by humour. She is trying to organise the women into swearing an oath, but Myrrhine makes the comment on the cup- “isn’t it a whopper” undermining the serious atmosphere and Lysistrata’s attempted dominance and organisation. Elsewhere in the play, Lysistrata is trying discuss a big idea- again trying to assume dominance over her women- but again fails, as they talk at cross purposes, Stratyllis Correction: Calonice saying “very big and very meaty” making a sexual innuendo about it. Any attempted dominance is undercut by lewd humour of other characters.

In this passage, Lysistrata is dominant due to her invocation to the gods. By appealing to the goddess of persuasion, Lysistrata takes on a facade of dominance as a mock-serious atmosphere is created by the taking of the oath. By leading the invocation, she becomes dominant over the other women. Elsewhere in the play directly following passage, Lysistrata is dominant as the women swear the oath that she leads and they repeat. For example, they even swear not to “thrust back” if their husbands take them by force. There is clearly a religious dominance of parallels to Lysimachae, the leading priestess of Athena. In this way, Lysistrata dominates her uncouth, lavish and impious followers.

 

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