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By John Zumbrunnen

Aristophanic Comedy and the problem of Democratic Citizenship reveals in Aristophanes' comedies a fancy comedian disposition important for assembly the basic problem of normal citizenship. That problem, Zumbrunnen argues, emerges from the stress among democratic impulses: a rebelliousness that resists all makes an attempt to impose any kind of institutionalized rule; and a tendency towards collective motion taken via associations of renowned rule. Democracy calls for that normal electorate negotiate the stress among those frequently conflicting impulses. Aristophanes' comedies relaxation upon and search to instill in spectators a fancy comedian disposition that holds an easy get together of uprising in pressure with an appreciation for the prepared collective motion essential to result in actual swap. John Zumbrunnen is affiliate Professor of Political technological know-how on the collage of Wisconsin, Madison, and the writer of Silence and Democracy: Athenian Politics in Thucydides' background in addition to a variety of articles and essays.

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Sample text

Athenian madness also appears in a willingness on the part of some to drain the city’s finances while they profit from the war. Peace offers the only cure for these maladies. ” And, again, we can see from this sort of reading why Lysistrata seemed in 2003 to be an excellent vehicle for the expression of antiwar sentiment. Its story is, on this level, one in which the madness of war, fed by greed and elite demagoguery, meets its match in the sanity of a few brave dissidents. “This story” thus sounded all too familiar in the early 2000s.

This same contrast appears later in Lysistrata in the differing movements of the men’s and women’s semichorus as they race to the Acropolis. Following Lysistrata’s instructions, the older women of Athens have seized the treasury and barricaded themselves on the Acropolis. Their success in this task is marked by a loud hurrah heard offstage, but Calonice raises the possibility that “the men will soon launch a concerted counterattack” (246–47). A counterattack indeed follows, but “soon” is an overstatement.

Consider along these lines the words of the oracle she produces to rally the women when their patience for the plot flags: “high-thundering Zeus shall reverse what’s up and what’s down” (770). ” one of the women asks archly). But there is also an indication that the prevailing order of things in Athens will be overturned as women, literally, speak for themselves. ” (626). ” Lysistrata remains relevant, from this perspective, not so much because of the sex strike, but because of the way in which the sex strike and the seizure of the Acropolis together bring about a radical change in who counts and who can be heard.

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