Monday, November 17, 2008

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, I think Lysistrata was the winner by a nose for my favorite reading so far, followed closely by Hedda Gabler, and with The House Of Bernarda Alba a distant third. I think what I liked the most about Lysistrata(the play) was the Lysistrata(the person) was able to effectively gain power without losing control of her own life. It was certainly a welcome change from the sombreness of the previous two plays.

Battle Of The Sexes

There is a dominant theme of the battle of the sexes throughout Lysistrata. The whole play, the women are fighting not only to secure peace, but also to secure some more power for themselves. I don't think that they necessarily want to wield power, I think that they just want the men to know that they could wield power if they wanted, and I think that they accomplished it quite effectively.

Behind Every Great Man Is A Great Woman

Lysistrata really demonstrates this throughout the play. The men when the women would just sit at home and agree with what the men said, it led to war between the states. However, as soon as the women step out from their subservient spot in the house, they immediately begin to fix what the men have broken. Without the women to help guide them, it seems likely that the war would have continued.


Lets look at the wool for a second shall we? This is really an interesting metaphor. The wool represents the Greecian states, but thats fairly obvious. The part that I thought was the most interesting was the spin that Lysistrata puts on the states. She uses this idea of spinning to get her plan for ending the war across to the commissioner, but at the same time implies that women are the only ones who could possibly fix Greece. At least thats what I thought, because traditionally women are the ones who spin the wool into yarn and weave the clothes. If Greece is a piece of wool, how could a man possibly spin it into a cloth without the help of women?


I thought that it was interesting how different yet similar Lysistrata was to The previous two plays. All center around a very masculine type woman, who manipulates others to accomplish her desires. In The House Of Bernarda Alba, it was Bernarda controlling her daughters to keep up her appearences in the town. In Hedda Gabler it was Hedda, who controlled basically anyone she could in order to feel alive. In Lysistrata, it was Lysistrata who controlled the other women to bring about peace. The main difference between Lysistrata and the other two is that she was able to retain her femininity as well as accquire masculine traits.

Everything But The Kitchen Sink

Shawn Spencer: Good morning detectives, collecting money for the Policemen's Ball?

Detective Lassiter: We don't have balls

Shawn Spencer: ...I honestly have no response to that.

Apparently police have come a long way since ancient Greece. They're attempt at taking the Acropolis from the women was, quite frankly, embarassing. Turned away by women wielding household items? Really?

The real importance of this I think is to show that the women are throwing off their traditionals roles in the house. No longer are they just spinning or cleaning, agreeing with whatever their husbands say. They are becoming women with voices, and women with fists. They demonstrate that not only do they have power through sex, but they are also physically powerful.

As George Sr. Once Said...

"Daddy horny Micheal."
George Senior, Arrested Development, Season 1
Would abstinence work today as a means of bringing about change? Obviously organizing a boycott on sex in today's world would never work the way that it did in Lysistrata, due to the number of women, enterprising young women that realize the potential to make large sums of money, etc. The premise however, I think could still work. It may not bring about any type of world peace or anything, but if somehow someone were able to organize a large group of women, it may at least bring about a little bit more equality among men and women when men see that women do hold some powers that men don't have.


I'll start by stating the obvious: Lysistrata is the leader of the abstinence movement. Of course she is, if she weren't the play wouldn't be named after her. The fact that she is the leader of the movement puts her in a unique position among the women. It places her into a role typically reserved for men, a role of power. I don't think that this alone is anything too interesting, after all many women have been in this type of position through out history. What I found intersting about it was the fact that Lysistrata almost becomes too masculine in her role. For instance, on page 21 Lysistrata says
"Hello, Lampito dear. Why darling, you're simply ravishing! Such a blemishless complexion-so clean, so out-of-doors! And will you look at that figure-the pink of perfection!"
Here she has not only gained some masculinity from her power, but executed a nearly complete inversion of traditional gender roles, and is appraising Lampito much the same as a man might. I think that Lysistrata's ability to accquire the traits of the traditional man are a large part of what allowed her to keep the boycott alive and ultimately achieve peace.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

No Love Lost

It was brought up today for our journal whether the women would have given in had the men not given in first, and I think that its worth posting my thoughts here as well. And it takes up one more of my posts...

I think that had the men not given in first, the the women would most certainly have given in. I also think that would have given in sooner rather than later, and I think that there is a substantial amount of evidence in the text that supports this as well. In the beginning of the paly, when Lysistrata has gathered all the women together and first told them about her plan, Kleonike says, "Afraid I can't make it. Sorry. On with the war!" This shows that the boycot from sex was extremely difficult for the women as well. What I thought was intersting though was not that the boycot was difficult for the women as well, but why they were able to silence their feelings longer than the men. This ability is accounted for by the fact that the men had nothing to gain from the abstinence, whereas the women were fighting for the end of the war.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Shifting Gears

As Hedda Gabler draws to a close, Lysistrata is just beginning. I've began reading it, and something just seemed off. At first, I wasn't sure exactly what it was, but I think I've settled on what I think the problem is. Its not the story, its the translator. I understand that anything written around 400 bc is never going to appear in modern times exactly as it was written, and i understand that Douglass Parker even made a note in the introduction that he modernized some of it to make it more appealing, blah blah blah. Maybe it's because my whole life I've learned that all the ancient Greeks were basically geniuses, but the way he represents Lampito and the Spartans as basically hillybillies, it's hard for me to put myself into the mindset of the Athenians.

Thoughts On Hedda Gabler

The title that is, not the character.


I thought that it was curious that Ibsen would use Hedda's maiden name for the title. By using her maiden name, Ibsen plants the idea that Hedda isn't really Tesman's girl even before the first page is turned. We don't go into the play expecting some woman that fits into some type of stereotypical model, but a woman that belongs to no one, and ultimately that is what we get. When Brack thinks he has her, she goes and shoots herself to prove him wrong.

In General

In general, I thought that the play was quite interesting. Often times when reading literature during class, I find it somewhat unimpressive. I think that this is due to the fact that to me alot of the ideas being shot around around class are relatively absurd. Maybe the paperclip that he used was supposed to represent how he's bringing things together. Is it possible that he just wanted something to hold his papers together? Anyways, back on point, I found most of the ideas regarding methaphors and motifs and such, on the whole, relatively credible. Was there some BS going around, yeah probably, but when isn't there?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

As Omar Once Said...

Eh yo, lesson here, Bey, you come at the king, you best not miss.

-Omar, The Wire, Season One

Well, I thought that this quote was a fairly accurate summary of Judge Brack's and Hedda's final relationship. You have Hedda attempting to gain some type of power in her life, and Judge Brack attempting to not only remain in control, but gain more power. In the end, Judge Brack shows Hedda that he has leverage over her, and drives her to commit suicide. This act of suicide however, gives Hedda control of one thing that Judge Brack could never control, her life. Thus, the only way for her to show she had more power than the judge was to kill herself. Personally, I don't think she missed.


Well, at first I wasn't sure about Tesman. He didn't seem all that bright to begin with, and then turned into a much worse person than I thought he could be. However, after careful thought I've come to a conclusion.


I think that ultimately George was basically an average guy. He began to slip up in Act III when he held on to Lovborg's manuscript, but I believe that he honestly had the intention of returning it to Lovborg. He even said, "but as soon as I've had a little rest - and given poor Eilert time to sleep it off, then I've got to take it back to him."(278) Should he have given it back to Lovborg right when he found it, yeah probably, but under the circumstances, its understandable. Lovborg was potentially going to get his job, and if most people (granted, not all) were honest with themselves, they may have held onto it as well until they got the job.

Act II, cont.

As you should know, more than one important thing happened in Act Two. For example, Hedda continues showing her manipulative side, by coercing Eilert Lovborg to go to Judge Brack's stag party. I think that this is when Hedda really shows her manipulative side for the first time. Sure she was manipulative in Act I when she was talking to Thea Elvsted, and wanted information about Lovborg, but maybe shes just s gossip.
We know that Hedda is extremely bored with her life with George, but this manipulation stems from a deeper well than her just being a spoiled rich girl with nothing else to do, this manifests from Hedda lack of control in her life. She even says "for once in my life, I want to have power over a human being."(272) I believe that Hedda's urge for control stems from the era that she was from. Men, even George Tesman, whom Hedda appears to easily control, has more power in society than her. This fosters a resentment in Hedda, and a need to exercise control over others.

Act II

One important part of Act Two that I would like to explore is Hedda's shooting at Judge Brack.

Hedda shooting at Brack begins to develop a couple of important ideas in Hedda Gabler. First, it starts getting us thinking about Hedda's pistols, and what they represent in the play. Under the assumption that Hedda's pistols represent power, the small scene that plays out on page 248 is extremely important. Hedda shoots at Brack, attempting to gain power for herself. Unfortunately for her, Brack was able to delicately remove some of Hedda's power by "gently taking the pistol out of her hand." (248)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Devious (dee-vee-uhs)


1. not straightforward; shifty or crooked: a devious scheme to accquire wealth

Probably my favorite character of the play. Brack continually moves in an somewhat underhanded manner to gain more power. He is always trying to be "the one cock of the walk" (303). He starts his bid for power pretty early, when he returns to the Tesman residence, by "gently taking the pistol out of her hand" (248), symbolically taking the power out of Hedda's hands.
Photo: Steven Siewert
His quest for power continues when he attempts to get Lovborg to come to his stag party, but fails when Lovborg declines to attend. Here he gets a bit of good luck through Hedda, because she drives Lovborg back to the sauce, and ultimately to the party that night. Brack completes his power struggle when he finds out through a police man that presumably owes him a favor, that Eilert was shot with one of Hedda's pistols. This gives Brack power over Hedda, whom I believe was who he wanted control of the most.

On a side note, I wonder if we would be pronouncing Brack with a long A sound or a short A sound if it weren't an election year.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Monday, September 29, 2008

Bad Ju-Ju Mo-Gumbo

I'm fairly certain that shooting at someone is not a socially acceptable method of greeting people. In fact, I think that's attempted murder.

Photo: David Allen

In my journal today I anwered a question along the lines of "Is Hedda bipolar or just a mean person?" Admittedly I hadn't read Act II at that point, and therefore my answer has somewhat changed since then. Not entirely, but somewhat. Do I think that she's bipolar? Not in the least. She is however becoming a much meaner person than she was in Act I. At the end of Act II Hedda intentionally brings up the fact that Thea came to her and Tesman worried about Lovborg, for no other reason but to "have power over a human being" (272). Perhaps maybe this is just the manifestation of a mean person who is admittedly extremely bored.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Some Thoughts

I suppose I should post something that is actually related to Hedda Gabler, or even vaguely related to English in some capacity. Therefore prepare yo' selves fools. Act 1 started off slow, but I geuss the whole play can't be car chases and explosions. Admittedly I haven't read the whole play, or even half the play, yet, but I think it's safe to say that the funniest part has already occured. Certainly top 5. What part is it? I'll tell you. When Hedda is talking to Thea, and Hedda is all like "We were such good friends in school!" and Thea is all like "Umm, not really..." and then Hedda is all like "oh nonsense, of course we were" and then Thea is all like "You used to threaten to light my hair on fire" and then Hedda is all like "I was just joshin' you silly goose."


Of course as you know this was all just to get some grade A gossip out of Thea. I have no idea how Thea could have possibly felt as though Hedda was being sincere. Either Hedda is extremely good at being manipulative, or Thea is extremely dim-witted.

Also, I really don't know what Hedda is going to do all day. Near as I can tell she just sits around waiting for people she doesn't really appear to like to come over and talk to. And on top of that she obviously has hardly any feeling for Tesman. Sounds like pretty much the most boring life ever.

I'm fairly certain that this is all Hedda does all day.

Photo: Steven Stewert

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Update For The Sake Of Updating...

Here's one of the more fun rock climbs that I've ever rock climbed.

Maybe someday I'll post something meaningful thats actually about Hedda Gabler...

Monday, September 22, 2008

And Now For Something Completely Different...

Quite possibly the coolest thing to go to the top of in the history of going to the tops of things.

Why can't the Fisher Towers be in Wisconsin?