Classics–whether they are novels, plays, or epics–offer us great characters, interesting plots, and lots of things for discussion … but sometimes they can be a little tough to tackle. Sometimes we adore them, but sometimes we can’t get past page 3, let alone the requisite 50. That doesn’t mean that we should give up what they have to offer, though, does it? Many of today’s authors try to use these classic works as a starting off point to write a more modern version. If done well, these contemporary versions can have a huge impact and impart the same wisdom that made the earlier story gain its classic status. Jessica Miller and I decided to find and examine some great pairs of classics and their contemporary rewrites to see if they are successful … or maybe not.
The Classic: Aristophanes’ Lysistrata
Lysistrata is a play that has been performed millions of times. It was written by the Greek playwright Aristophanes in the 4th Century BC (or BCE, if you prefer). In this play, Lysistrata, a “Grand Dame” as she is defined in a few translations, has hatched a plan to end the Peloponnesian War. Gathering all of the women of Athens and Sparta, Lysistrata proposes a genius plan to end the war: withhold sex from their soldier husbands until they declare peace. While the other women originally balk at this plan, they eventually concede. This, however, leads to a crazy battle of the sexes, and a few ideas about men, women, fairness, and a lot of other things.