Mr. Rock hosts post-Roe open lecture


On May 19, English teacher Jared Rock hosted the post-Roe open lecture on the comedy Lysistrata during activity period. The lecture delved deeply into the presentation “Smoke! Someone’s Playing with Fire,” examining Lysistrata and its key connections to the Supreme Court’s leak of Roe v. Wade’s possible overturn. 

“I normally enjoy the discussions that we do in Mr. Rock’s English class,” Won-gyeom Yang (9), attendee of the lecture, said. “There was a time when we covered Oedipus Rex, a Greek epic poem, in class—which I found really interesting. I attended the lecture because I found Lysistrata to be very similar and as interesting as Oedipus Rex. I also read an article about the Supreme Court leak prior to the lecture which motivated me to join Mr. Rock’s post-Roe lecture.” 

At the start of his lecture, Mr. Rock briefly introduced Lysistrata and Roe v. Wade’s predicted overturn. The storyline behind Lysistrata, a sex strike against Greek men, is first explored with touches upon its comic writer Aristophonase and the characters (Lysistrata, Kalonike, Myrrhine, Spartan, Commissioner, Choruses A and B). Mr. Rock progressed with an examination of Roe v. Wade and what its overturning means to advancement of society today, with nineteen states already prepared to effectively ban abortion in line with the Supreme Court’s decision. 

Within the presentation, he mainly explored Roe v. Wade through synonymous events in Lysistrata: the “battle of the sexes” behind the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the literal Battle of the Sexes in the comedy, the willpower displayed to fight for women’s reproductive rights, and the transcendental issues of cooperation within this fight. 

First, the “battle of the sexes” in both contexts focuses on the reproductive rights stripped from women, often by societal standards set by men. Second, mobilization and willpower within Lysistrata is primarily directed toward the leader Lysistrata, who kept women dedicated to the cause—a type of figure that Mr. Rock finds exemplary amidst the current fight against the overturning of Roe v. Wade. As for transcendental issues and identity, Mr. Rock believes that a successful fight for maintaining reproductive rights involves regarding this topic as solely a women’s issue in both Roe v. Wade and Lysistrata. 

“I love to use transcendental issues to form a common sense of identity; I think that this is a way to get more lasting change as it incorporates the democratic process at its best for forming a civilization and political atmosphere,” Mr. Rock said. 

By the end of the lecture, Mr. Rock once again touched upon the role of Lysistrata by spotlighting other present-day women’s struggles in having control over their own bodily autonomies. 

His final statement centered on the metaphor from Lysistrata about cleaning out wool and reweaving it—a tedious effort that Mr. Rock feels is near equivalent to the struggles behind fixing corruption that arose due to democratic institutions trampeding on human rights. 

“I attended and enjoyed all of Mr. Rock’s previous seminars and this lecture as well,” Jinmin Lee (9), attendee of the post-Roe lecture, said. “I love how Greek plays like Lysistrata do not necessarily have a pessimistic view on serious topics but rather examinines matters swiftly in a more comedic way.”