Friday, October 25, 2019

Comparing the Immature Males of the Iliad and Lysistrata Essay

The Immature Males of the Iliad and Lysistrata    Both Homer's Iliad and Aristophanes' Lysistrata explore the nature and character of men. In their respective portrayals of male characters, both works reveal a fundamental flaw in that nature. This underlying flaw, immaturity, results in a variety of childish behaviors that are not only inappropriate but potentially quite dangerous and destructive. Reliance on women, inability to exert self-control, and resorting to violence as an easy solution to any problem or perceived threat are typical traits of young boys. Readers of the Iliad and Lysistrata are confronted with grown men consistently exhibiting exactly these behaviors and witness the adverse consequences to society. Throughout the Iliad Achilles operates like a spiteful child empowered with the body and strength of a man. He is stubborn and unreasonable, sullen and resentful when he cannot have his way, and, much like a playground bully, he uses his unusual strength to intimidate anyone who might challenge him. When in book one Achilles loses a battle of wills with Agamemnon and cannot retaliate, he retreats in frustration and self-pity; before long, he is throwing a tantrum. "Mother!" he cries, "You gave me life, . . . so at least Olympian Zeus, thundering up on high, should give me honor--but now he gives me nothing" (I, 416-419). Achilles subsequently relies on his mother, Thetis, several times for her advice and divine assistance. Rather than attempting to be resourceful in the face of frustration, he simply acts helpless and lets Thetis work out his problem for him. "But you, mother, if you have any power at all, protect your son!" the mighty and invincible Achilles implores (I, 467, 468). When his armor is ... ...Robert. "The Iliad". The Norton Anthology of World Masterpieces. Maynard Mack, general editor--6th ed. W.W. Norton and Company, N.Y. 1992. 98-208. Gulick, Charles Burton. Modern Traits in Old Greek Life. New York: Cooper Square. 1963. Henderson, Jeffrey, Aristophanes' Lysistrata, 1987 Holst-Warhaft, G., Dangerous Voices: Women's Laments and Greek Literature, Routledge, 1992. Hooper, Finley. Greek Realities: Life and Thought in Ancient Greece. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. 1978. Keuls, E. C., The Reign of the Phallus: Sexual Politics in Ancient Athens, New York, 1985 (reprint Berkeley, 1993). Miller, J. Hillis. "Narrative". Critical Terms for Literary Study. Lentricchia, Frank and Thomas McLaughlin, eds. University of Chicago Press, Chicago. 1990. 66-79. Tannahill, Reay. Sex in History. London: Scarborough House. 1992.

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