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ART, English, Literature

“Non, pas ce soir, j’ai mal à la tête” / Lysistrata by Aristophane – Picasso


Lysistrata offers readers several examples of different types of women through dialogue and actions. One the one hand, the main character, Lysistrata, is very powerful and an excellent, moving speaker. The other women that surround Lysistrata are rather the opposite; the don’t care to engage in politics once the possibility of sex is revoked and for the most part, many of them seem to fit to fit the mold of a stereotypical woman of the time—housebound and dutiful to her husband.

By presenting readers with a strong central female character, Aristophanes is showing both sides of women—the influential and the subservient. While Lysistrata is unquestionably the ring-leader of the political movement, there are elements of her character that are more masculine than the other females we encounter, which serves to lend this tale some degree of credibility since male (and likely female) audiences of the time would have found the plot to be completely unbelievable if the main character that affected such change was a “typical” woman. Lysistrata breaks from the traditional role of a female in many ways, but the disturbing part about this separation is that she seems almost too masculine and removed from the world of the other women she encounters.


Lysistrata (“Army-disbander”) is a comedy by Aristophanes. Originally performed in classical Athens in 411 BC, it is a comic account of one woman’s extraordinary mission to end the Peloponnesian War. Lysistrata persuades the women of Greece to withhold sexual privileges from their husbands and lovers as a means of forcing the men to negotiate peace — a strategy, however, that inflames the battle between the sexes. The play is notable for being an early exposé of sexual relations in a male-dominated society. The dramatic structure represents a shift away from the conventions of Old Comedy, a trend typical of the author’s career.

Pablo Picasso’s Illustrations For Aristophanes’ Lysistrata (1934)

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While Aubrey Beardsley’s 1896 illustrations do full and stylish justice to the satirical Greek comedy’s bawdy nature, Picasso’s drawings render several scenes as tender, softly sensual tableaux.



2 thoughts on ““Non, pas ce soir, j’ai mal à la tête” / Lysistrata by Aristophane – Picasso

  1. I had not seen the Picasso illustrations to this play before, thanks for sharing!


    Posted by sarahcatherine487 | December 21, 2014, 3:53 pm

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