For What It’s Worth: Peace and Love In Lysistrata College

For What It’s Worth: Peace and Love In Lysistrata

Did you ever wonder why Marilyn Monroe was painted on the side a fighter jet? It always seems a vulgar juxtaposition that the bombs dropped on Hiroshima were, from a visual perspective, dropped from between a pin-up girl’s legs. Incidentally, this tendency to make warefare sexy is not indicative of twentieth century America. In fact, the trend seems to have continued from the days when Helen’s faced launched one thousand ships through the modern era. It appears undebatable that a connection exists between sex and war. The task now is to find the genesis of this unlikely relationship and then to explain its longevity. History and literature contain countless examples of the sex- war dichotomy but when searching for a model, Aristophanes’ play Lysistrata proves particularly effective.

In this comedy, a matriarch named Lysistrata, and the other women of Athens, organize a sex embargo in an effort to force their husbands to end a long war. Surprisingly enough, they actually succeed. Much of the literary criticism surrounding this play has focused on this success, elaborating on the role of women as peacekeepers. Critic Mary Jane Fox claims that Aristophanes “unapologetically...

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