Another of the many reasons the primordial clown shouldn’t be so marginal in the “canon”
I was reluctant to post about this play the other night. “I’m not touching that headache” was my thought. This is another of his proto-feminist plays. This is one of the only plays we know was performed after the Peloponnesian War.
You might think I’m flying off into some inapplicable pedantry here until you realize the texts in question represent the main ancient discussions of communism. It started as humor then it was treated more seriously. Though there is debate about whether Plato was responding directly to Aristophanes, it seems pretty clear to me at least that he was.
We’re speaking specifically here of the abolition of private property and the elimination of the family.
I’ll give you an idea of how a study on the Ecclesiazusae begins
It was formed in 1848, it dissolved in 1879. You can try it for yourself, maybe you’ll have better luck. I’m not sure how the kids who grew up in that turned out, I’m sure there’s a study somewhere to read.
We have to wonder though, why is this one of the eleven plays of Aristophanes’ that have survived, why is this a theme in what’s generally taken to be Plato’s masterpiece? “DO we have to wonder??” It IS a funny concept.
So, in the Lysistrata we have women withholding sex from the men until they end the war, and in the Thesmophoriazusae we have women taking issue with the menace Euripides for teaching men to see women as vice-inclined, now in the Ecclesiazusae we have women plotting to govern the city themselves.
Socialism, it seems, represents an ascendancy of the feminine aspect of humanity
This is why I’ve always thought this is a more accurate meme
Who could ever hurt a woman though?
The main character is a young housewife. This seems familiar to me
In Praxagora’s rehearsed speech, moreover, the deceptive domestic practices of the women are incorporated into the list of their credentials for governance—those practices embody feminine virtue. Their consistency in practicing trivial machinations
Noo, we’re taught to see them as angels, aren’t we? What a psyop that is. That’s its own machination.
This protagonist’s name is Praxagora. You might see a Marxist resonance here. She’s like a philosopher queen of sorts and she teaches the other women to be more like men. This isn’t really a “laughing matter” to me because I see Praxagoras everywhere today. These men you see these days breastfeeding babies (yeah that’s a thing if you didn’t know), that’s something Praxagora would’ve wanted. Total role-reversal as far as it’s possible.
This is an interesting twist
Does she see the new regime as in some sense masculine? She sees herself that way, inasmuch as she continues to swear by gods rather than by goddesses
Aeschylus’s Clytemnestra was masculine also, so this has precedent in Greek drama, it took cajones to kill Agamemnon after all, and of course if you know the Oresteia, she is portrayed as receiving just punishment for her behavior. So what we see today goes back many many many years. The only change in modern times is that they’re rewarded rather than punished now.
HA I knew it- usually when I look for an Aristophanes play on youtube I see various recent productions, and with the Ecclesiazusae I see only one. This is one of the more controversial of his plays. I think people would be more receptive to it these days, everyone screws everyone, no one knows who their father is. Progs are probably going “Doesn’t sound so bad…” All walls knocked down, the city itself is one household. This is what I see as the “cladistic housewife”, most women today are still like that, reading everything through the old lens. Lots of people, men and women alike, seem to have this instinct, and I don’t understand it.
Chremes says that if the other citizens refuse to turn in their property, those who do will fight them
One could argue that the left of today fights for genetic property. That’s only taboo to say because they’re in total control of discourse about your property. If they want it muddied it will be muddied, and they do want that for you.
I think the prevailing scheme is closer to Aristophanes’ than Plato’s
The most portentous aspect in Socrates’ revision of Praxagora’s scheme is the “third wave”—the rule of philosophy.
The male drama is the first wave, the female drama the second.
There’s humor in Plato’s treatment of this subject too. It’s suggested for instance that for equality’s sake, women take their babies with them to a battle. “That’s an exception!” Why’s that, because when everyone turns 18 they’re magically a rational adult? A substantial portion of 40 year old women act like high schoolers, give me a break.
How lucky the Athenians in the audience for whom this was only a play to laugh about.