Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of Humanities and Social Sciences



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Mary C. English

Committee Member

Lee Behlman

Committee Member

Arthur D. Simon


Though the plays of the early Greek comedian Aristophanes are replete with crude humor and buffoonish behavior, it is important to examine the works through a more critical lens rather than discounting them as mere entertainment. Aristophanes expounds upon political conflict and leaders, scoffs at social mores, and highlights the many facets of human nature. In addition, the dynamic between men and women is a central theme in many of Aristophanes’ plays. Comedies such as the Lysistrata, Assemblywomen, and Women at the Thesmophoria feature women who appear to be empowered as they try to fight against patriarchal systems; however, examining the plays through a feminist or gender studies perspective may dismiss the possibility that Aristophanes nurtured an early belief in gender equality. It is arguable that the role of women in Aristophanic comedy is to provide a medium for female objectification. In other words, the female characters personify widely-held stereotypes and portray the women as sexual objects.

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