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Role of Divided Chorus in Lysistrata

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The play LYSISTRATA is named after a female character in the known history of Classical Greece. It was written by Aristophanes and was staged in 411 BC in Athens. The play is counted under the genre of comedy and provides a fantastical solution to the Athenian war with Sparta, popularly known as the Peloponnesian war. The war began in 431 BC when Sparta grew wary of the Athens's increasing might on the sea and its prosperity as at trading centre. In 413 BC, Athens was defeated by Sicily and its progress on land was hindered by King Aegis who had occupied Dekelia. This seizure made it impossible for the workers to work in the silver mines which were a major source of earning. This was followed by a revolt from Athens's allies and slaves.

Aristophanes locates his play Lysistrata in this context and uses the genre of comedy. Comedy came to be associated with fertility, peace and happy endings. The genre aimed to provide a fantastical solution to the situations and at the same time also satirized the society. The genre of comedy invented its own topics unlike tragedy. Also, Comedy comes from the word KOMOIDOS and was primarily associated with phallic songs, bawdy jokes and lewd presentations. An increasing knowledge of Agricultural techniques in 6BC led to a shift in the responsibility of reproduction. The invention of Agricultural implements like plough gave an upper hand to the Man and removed the MOTHER from the pedestal of being a procreator. This shift led to women being the subject of all bawdy sex jokes for the Athenian audience which was predominantly male.

The Greek plays had chorus which consisted of EXARCHOS and a group of fifty people. With the coming of the dialogic form of argument, there was an introduction of new characters and the stage became a shared space. Thespis introduced the PROTAGONIST on the Greek stage in 6 BC which was followed by the introduction of ANTAGONIST by Aeschylus. The protagonist and the antagonist were seen to be involved in an AGON and the chorus diminished. It was now reduced to 24 people and became the voice of the dominant view of the society. However, it also became the voice of the Sub- alterns in the society like the slaves and women. The chorus in Lysistrata is a divided one. It is fragmented along the gender lines which is also a representation of the Greek society during the Peloponnesian war.

In Lysistrata, the male chorus appears on the stage after the old women have taken over Acropolis. The old men appear carrying anvil in their hands and they walk slowly, maybe burdened by the war that they had brought upon themselves. The men plan to burn down the Acropolis in order to get the women out who had seized the national treasury. The men's chorus equated the women to their past enemies who had tried to capture the Acropolis. It is ironical because women were a part of the state but not recognized. The men took pride in their past battles. The men symbolize war and



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