‘Examine the methods by which debates about social attitudes are dramatised in scenes from two plays, in any genre from different eras’
Social attitudes can be defined as a group of people’s feelings or opinions towards certain characteristics of society (for example race, gender or politics); they tend to be predominant views, held by large groups of people, although this does depend on context. In order to explore and answer this question I have chosen two plays, Aristophanes’ comedy ‘Lysistrata’ and Tony Kushner’s tragedy, ‘Angels in America, Part 1, The Millennium’. Although the plays are from different genre’s and time periods, Lysistrata being written in 411BC and Angels in America written in 1990/1991, there are some similar themes relating to social attitudes embedded within the plays, the main one being sexuality. The term sexuality is a word that encompasses not just people’s sexual orientations/preferences but general sexual feelings. This theme is relevant to both plays, in Angels in America, the topic of homosexuality is in my opinion the foundation idea of the play, this alternatively contrasts with Lysistrata, where sex is an attributing factor to the main theme of war. In this essay I intend to highlight key points within both of the plays where social attitudes are dramatised, relating it to background context and analysing the reasons why the playwright has done so.
Many academics would say that Lysistrata was the first play of its kind in terms of it being a comedy with a female character as the heroine. Before Lysistrata there had only plays of a tragedy genre that put women at the forefront of the plot, for example Euripides’ play Medea, and any plays that had comedy featuring women were lost within history. The play was produced twenty years into the Peloponnesian War, at the Lenaia festival and can be described as a satire, enforcing the point regarding the futility of war.
Aristophanes “well understood that...