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Lysistrata

by: Aristophanes

Kinesias

Aristophanes makes fun of women, but he also makes fun of his own sex. Kinesias, of course the prime example, is the unhappy target of the women's sex strike. In the infamous scene between Myrrhine and her husband Kinesias, Kinesias is fooled and tricked by his wife. Douglas M. MacDowell suggests that Myrrhine's husband Kinesias is the same gawky and cadaverous poet who is mocked in Aristophanes's Birds. Because Kinesias is a rare name, MacDowell believes that the audience of Ancient Greece would automatically assume it was the same poet, who was the "constant butt of comic dramatists" and the subject of an entire work by Strattis. In Lysistrata, Kinesias proves himself a buffoon, poor father and misogynist-extraordinaire. As many of the women of Greece exemplify the idealized or stereotypical female, Kinesias represents the stereotypical, dimwitted male figure; Kinesias only seeks out his wife because he has a painful erection, he is unable to care for his own children and is outwitted by his playful wife. Kinesias's character confirms that Aristophanes meant Lysistrata to be a play mocking the sexual desires and attributes of both sexes.