Critical Analysis #4

    In present times, scholars interpret the play Assemblywomen mainly in two ways. While some think that the play is a conservative reaction against those in Athens who was thinking that women should have equal rights to men, including the right to vote, others propose that the play advocates for a new social order in which gender equality is granted. In the latter case, scholars assume that humour was used to sensitively advance an idea that would shock most of the audience if exposed in plain form. 

    Please consider that the ancient evidence allows for both interpretations. Remember that, although ancient literate societies were dominated by men, women sometimes had access to positions of power such as, for example, in the case of the Egyptian queens.

    Please choose and defend ONE of the following interpretations of Aristophanes Assemblywomen:

    1. The Assemblywomen is a condemnation of the idea that women should have equal rights. The play, therefore, proposes that the subordination of women should be maintained.

    2. The Assemblywomen subtly advances the idea that women should have the same rights as men and, therefore, recommends the creation of an egalitarian society.

    To support your claims, please use evidence primarily from the Assemblywomen but also from other sources like Inannas Descent to the Underworld, Cycle of Baal, the Hymn to Demeter, or Antigone.

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