An Analysis of Women at the Thesmophoria

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  • Topic: Mock object, Comedy, Thesmophoriazusae
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  • Published : November 11, 2014
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In Women At The Thesmophoria Aristophanes Mockery Of Effeminate Men And Of Foreigners Is As Harsh As His Mockery Of Women

In Women At The Thesmophoria, Aristophanes mocks women just as much as he mocks foreigners and effeminate men. There are several instances and several styles of humor that are used to make effeminate men and foreigners appear funny. Cleisthenes is a prime example of how effeminate men are mocked, he is sympathetic towards the women and first appears dressed in female clothing, revealing that Mnesilochus “is among them” dressed as a man. He inadvertently categorizes himself as a woman and takes great offence at Mnesilochus being at the Thesmophoria as if he were a woman himself, him behaving in this manner is an exaggeration of the real life Cleisthenes who was notoriously effeminate making it a parody and thus funny to the audience. Cleisthenes is also revealed at a time when the women are a source of fear for Mnesilochus and therefore they appear more serious at the time indirectly making Cleisthenes seem funnier. Agathon appears dressed in female attire also, he is singing in “falsetto tones” a chorus from one of his plays. Aristophanes clearly parodies Agathons playwriting skills and then goes on to parody other famous play writers using Mnesilochus’s criticisms of them describing Philocles, Xenocles and Theognis plays as dreadful, graceless and lifeless. Agathon is also able to produce even more women clothes such as a wig and shaving kit a further play and exaggeration on his effeminacy design to mock him harshly just as women are throughout the play. The Scythian Archer is shown to have a lack of intelligence, as he is easily tricked by Euripides to free Mnesilochus, his dopey characteristics is a clear mockery of foreigners and this would appear funny to the audience. The Scythian is also held in contempt by the women as they call him a “barbarian”. Aristophanes choice of words mock the Scythian harshly. A further mockery of the...
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