Summary of Aristophanes’ “Lysistratus”

The name “Lysistrata” means “The Destroyer of War.” Such a name gave Aristophanes the heroine of her fantastic play about how women, with their feminine means, achieved what men could not, put an end to a great war. The war was between Athens and Sparta, it lasted ten years, Aristophanes was speaking against her in the comedy “Horsemen”. Then there were several years of truce, and then the war began again. Aristophanes was already desperate that the horseman landlords will manage to cope with the war, and he composes a comedy fairy tale where the world is in reverse, where women are smarter and stronger than men, where Lysistratus really wreck the war, this disastrous male venture. How? Having arranged an all-Greek women’s strike. Comedies were supposed to be obscene, such is the law of the spring theater festival; in the “Lysistratus”

Every strike begins with collusion. Lysistrata collects for collusion a deputy from all over

Greece to the square in front of the Athenian acropolis. They are going slowly: who has a wash, who has cooking, who has children. Lysistrata is angry: “I convoke you for a great cause, and if you do not care, there are some other things that were big, I suppose they would immediately fly!” Finally they gathered. “Do we all miss your husbands?” – “All!” “Do we all want the war to end?” – “All!” – “Is everyone ready to go for this?” – “For all!” – “So this is what you need to do: until men reconcile – do not sleep with them, do not give them, do not touch them!” – “Oh!!!” – “Oh, so you’re ready for anything!” – “We’ll jump into the fire, cut ourselves in half, we’ll give off the ring-earrings – just not this!!!” Begin persuasion, wrestling, persuasion. “I could not resist a man against a woman: Menelaus wanted to deal with Elena – and as I saw, he himself rushed to her bed!” – “And
if they seize and force it?” – “Lie down a pack, and let him suffer!” Finally agreed, they bring a solemn oath over a huge wineskin with wine: “I will not give myself to my husband or lover. I will not stand up to the white legs before the rapist. I will not get up, like a lioness over the gate. And change – now let me drink water!”

Words are said, business begins. The choir of women occupies the Athenian acropolis. The men’s chorus – of course, the old men, young after all in the war, – goes to the Acropolis with an attack. The old men are shocked by fiery torches, women are threatened with buckets of water. “And I’ll burn your girlfriends with this spark!” – “And I’ll fill your little flame with water!” The squabble, the struggle, the senile old men run away. “Now I see: Euripides – the wisest of the poets: after all, he said about the women, that the creatures are not shameless!” Two choruses are disputed with songs.

On the stage, barely moving his legs, the oldest old man wanders, the state councilor. The main part of every Greek drama begins – a dispute. “What are you doing out of your business?” Says the adviser. “War is a man’s business!” (This is a quote from Hector’s parting with Andromache in the Iliad). – “No, and women,” Lysistrata answers, “we lose husbands in the war, we give birth to children for war, do we not care about peace and order!” – “You, women, started to rule the state?” – “We women, we rule the same household chores, and not bad!” – “How can you unravel the state affairs?” “And just like every day we untangle the yarn on a spinning wheel: we will raise scoundrels, raise good people, ponvayem good-quality threads from the side, \ And a single strong spun yarn, and a great tangle of winding, \ And,

The adviser and the choir, of course, do not stand such impudence, again there are bickering, brawls, dashing songs on both sides, and again the women come out victorious,

But it’s too early to celebrate! Women are also people, they also miss men, only they look as if to run away from the acropolis, and Lysistrata catches them and takes them away. “Oh, I have left the wool on the stove, I must roll!” – “We know what kind of hair you have: sit!” – “Oh, my canvas is not rolled, I need to roll!” – “We know, sit!” – “Oh, now I will give birth, now I will give birth, now I will give birth!” “You’re lying, yesterday you were not pregnant!” Again, the persuasion, again the warning: “And to men, you think, it is easier? Whoever will sit out, that will win. Yes, look: already running one guy, no longer endured! Well, who’s his wife? Lure him, kindle him, let him feel what is without us! ” Under the wall of the acropolis appears abandoned husband, his name is Kinesia, which means “pusher”. All comic actors relied on large leather phalluses, and this is now directly gigantic. “Come down to me!” “Oh, no, no, no!” “Have pity on him!” – “Oh, sorry, sorry, sorry!” – “Lie with me!” – “Get Recollected First”. – “Maybe we will reconcile.” – “Then, maybe I’ll lie down.” – “I swear to you!” – “Well, now, only I’ll run behind the rug.” – “Come quickly!” – “Now, just bring a pillow.” – “Forces are gone!” “Ah, oh, how can I not have a blanket?” – “You will bring me!” – “Wait, I’ll bring you a wipe of oil.” – “And without oil it is possible!” – “Horror, horror, an oil of the wrong sort!” And the woman hides, and the man writhes with passion and sings, as he howls, about his torment.

There is nothing to do, it is necessary to reconcile. Ambassadors of Athenian and Spartan converge, phalluses are of such magnitude that everyone immediately understands each other without words. Negotiations begin. Lysistrata descends to the negotiating people, recalls an ancient friendship and union, praises for valor, scores for foolish quarrelsomeness. Everyone wants to quickly and peace, and wives, and plowing, and harvest, and children, and booze, and fun. Without bargaining, they give away the captured ones in exchange for captured by others. And, glancing at Lysistratus, they exclaim: “What a clever!”, Do not forget to add: “What a beautiful!”, “What a slender!” And in the background the female chorus flirts with the old man’s choir: “Behold, we will reconcile and live with the soul again!” And the old choir answers: “Ah, it’s not for nothing that the old people talked about us:” It’s impossible to live with them,

The world is enclosed, the choirs sing; “Evil we do not remember, evil will be forgotten! …” Athenian and Spartan husbands snatch up their wives and dance with songs and dances from the stage.

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Summary of Aristophanes’ “Lysistratus”