Targets of Aristophanes’ satire

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Question: What targets of Aristophanes’ satire can you identify in this passage? How typical are they of the aspects of Athenian society which Aristophanes makes fun of elsewhere in Lysistrata and Clouds?

The passage does show some typical Aristophanes satire in the portrayal of women. This is because of the mockery of the women with the big bowl of wine- with the slave girl staring open-mouthed at it. This mocks women’s stereotypical addiction to alcohol and their revelry. This is a typical representation for Aristophanes, especially in Lysistrata- where Lysistrata bemoans the lateness of her assembly at the start of the play- again playing on the drunk stereotype of women by moaning that if it had been a Bacchic convention, they would have all been there. This kind of satire is less prevalent in Clouds, however, Strepsiades does mention how his wife has been banging away at the loom, wearing away his ‘resources’ showing a typical target of Aristophanes’ satire.

The passage is typical in Aristophane’s satirical attack on foreigners. In the passage, Lampito- a Spartan is deliberately given a Spartan/Scottish accent “how will ye ever induce them tae see sense?” This is a mockery of foreingers at their expense- to uphold Athenian superiority. In Lysistrata, this was much more typical humour than in Clouds because it was at the more local (due to rough seas) affair of the Lenaia versus the Great Dionysia. Within Lysistrata, it is typical mockery and satire- reflected in the Spartan delegates accent later on in the play. Again, the exotic, foreign accent is mocked- to Athenian delight.

The passage is typical because of Aristophanes satirical attack on Athenian generals in the Sicilian expedition. Here, it is a less typical attack, as it much more subtle through the use of Lampito’s irony of how Athens will never make peace till its navy and Delian League funds had been depleted. This is a mockery of the Sicilian expedition fiasco that wiped out an entire generation of Athenians and their navy, compromising them as worldly power. This is typical humour found within Lysistrata but not in Clouds- whose attacks are based more on individual politicians like Cleon. However, in Lysistrata, Lampito mentions how her husband has been sent to keep and eye on the generals abroad which show Aristophanes’ typical satirical attack on the Sicilian expedition.

The passage is not typical because Aristophanes often makes Cleisthenes and other effeminate’s the butt of his satire. In Lysistrata, the men complain how they are so desperate for sex that they may even turn to Cleisthenes . Later in the play, Cleisthenes is claimed to be the agent of the women. This kind of satirical attack is not found within this passage, instead the mockery of the effeminate is found elsewhere in Lysistrata. Could have added: Cleisthenes and Cleonymus attacked in Clouds: Cleisthenes compared to a Cloud: because they look like women

The passage is not reflective of the individual politicians that Aristophanes attacks in Clouds. For example, Aristophanes attacks Cleon for being voted back in- in the parabasis of Clouds. He also attacks the audience for not voting his play and for its third-placed flop. This kind of direct attack is not found within the passage, nor Lysistrata at all- instead passing references are made such as ________________ Could have added: instead, Lysistrata’s woolworking metaphor is an indirect criticism of the democratic factionalism within the ruling Athenian elite mainly due to the lack of parabasis in Lysistrata, which means that the satirical edge has been blunted as there is no coming forward of the chorus- traditionally where the playwright announces his views.


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