Lysistrata was the third and final of the peace plays written by the great Greek Instead, there was to be no romantic relations of any kind with their husbands. Cleon in the play The Babylonians landed him in court in BCE. the Spartan Lampito; choruses of old men and women; a magistrate; three. This free synopsis covers all the crucial plot points of Lysistrata. The Commissioner, an appointed magistrate, comes to the Akropolis seeking funds for the. ARMED GUARDS: four police officials attending on the Magistrate. WOMEN: . The difference between the Spartans' speech and the language of the others reflects the political seeking public office—pluck out their heads. Then into a.
I think they brought them with them. At one level, this is harmless small-town banter and rivalry, the kind I recognise from having grown up on the Lancashire-Yorkshire border. But there are racist overtones, too, and racism now afflicts some of those same northern towns I knew as a child - despite the best efforts of integrationists, suspicion and separatism prevail.
Since the clashes and riots of the s, unofficial no-go areas have developed. There have been stories, circulated by the BNP, of Asian men grooming white girls for prostitution. In Aristophanes, too, ugly insults fly back and forth, jokes about the immoral behaviour of Other People, whether they're women, lechers, drunkards, wimps or foreigners. The longer I worked on the play, the more the material from two different eras seemed to connect.
Even an archaic-seeming set-piece, in which Lysistrata compares running a city or country to weaving wool, acquired a new lease of life after I saw an exhibition of knitting at the Crafts Council in Knitting, veils, hoodies, gun culture, Iraq, the sinister activities of the arms trade: The only risk was that what Aristophanes intended as a farcical comedy would morph into an earnest piece of social realism.
But as anyone familiar with the original will know, the second half of the play introduces giant erect phalluses, whose ridiculous appearance quickly removes any risk of pomposity. Aristophanes wrote his play just a year after thousands of young men from Athens lost their lives in a disastrous attempt to defeat Sparta's allies in Sicily - a military catastrophe and civic trauma that some have likened to the American experience in Vietnam or, now, Iraq. It was a sensitive time to produce an antiwar play, let alone an antiwar play featuring big willies, uppity women and a coarseness of language unrivalled in the ancient world.
Yet Aristophanes got away with it by pushing things beyond the bounds of the strictly credible. Lysistrata has a serious story to tell. Leader of chorus of women Ah ha!
Blake Morrison on Aristophanes' Lysistrata | Politics | The Guardian
Leader of chorus of old men [to his torch] Burn off her hair for her! Leader of chorus of women [to her pot] Achelous, do your duty! Leader of chorus of women Was it hot? Leader of chorus of old men Hot, great gods! Leader of chorus of women I'm watering you, to make you bloom afresh. Leader of chorus of old men Alas!
I am too dry! I was listening to the speeches last assembly day, and Demostratus, whom heaven confound!
Lysistrata - Aristophanes - Ancient Greece - Classical Literature
Adonis, woe is me for Adonis! Leader of chorus of old men But you don't know all their effrontery yet! They abused and insulted us; then soused us with the water in their water-pots, and have set us wringing out our clothes, for all the world as if we had bepissed ourselves. Magistrate And well done too, by Posidon! We men must share the blame of their ill conduct; it is we who teach them to love riot and dissoluteness and sow the seeds of wickedness in their hearts.
You see a husband go into a shop: Well, the other evening, when she was dancing, the catch came open.
Now, I am bound to start for Salamis; will you make it convenient to go up to-night to make her fastening secure? Take my own case — as a Magistrate I have enlisted rowers; I want money to pay them, and the women slam the door in my face.
But why do we stand here with arms crossed? Bring me a crowbar; I'll chastise their insolence! Come on, bring crowbars here, and force open the gates.
A 2,500-year-old sex ban
I will put a hand to the work myself. Lysistrata [opening the gate and walking out] No need to force the gates; I am coming out — here I am. And why bolts and bars? What we want here is not bolts and bars and locks, but common sense. Magistrate [jumping nervously, then striving manfully to regain his dignity] Really, my fine lady! Where is my officer? I want him to tie that woman's hands behind her back.
Lysistrata By Artemis, the virgin goddess! Seize her, I tell you, round the body. Two of you at her, and have done with it! Where is there another officer? Myrrhine By Phoebe, if you touch her with one finger, you'd better call quick for a surgeon! My own officers desert me. Scythians mine, close up your ranks, and forward! Lysistrata By the holy goddesses!
Magistrate Forward, Scythians, and bind them! Leader of chorus of old men Sir, sir what good are words? Don't you know how they have just washed us down — and with no very fragrant soap! Leader of chorus of women What would you have? You should never have laid rash hands on us. If you start afresh, I'll knock your eyes out.
My delight is to stay at home as coy as a young maid, without hurting anybody or moving any more than a milestone; but 'ware the wasps, if you go stirring up the wasps' nest! Chorus of old men [singing] Ah! As Lysistrata oversees the discussion, Myrrhine reminds him of the terms, and further taunts her husband by preparing an inviting bed, oils, etc, before disappointing the young man by locking herself in the Acropolis again. The Chorus of old women make overtures to the old men, and soon the two Choruses merge, singing and dancing in unison.
The peace talks commence and Lysistrata introduces the Spartan and Athenian delegates to a gorgeous naked young woman called Reconciliation or Peace, whom the delegates cannot take their eyes off. Lysistrata scolds both sides for past errors of judgement and, after some squabbles over the peace terms and with the naked figure of Reconciliation before them and the burden of sexual deprivation still heavy upon themthey quickly overcome their differences and retire to the Acropolis for celebrations, songs and dancing.
The oligarchic revolution in Athens, which proved briefly successful that same year, was more political fall-out from the Sicilian disaster was. Even while apparently demonstrating empathy with the female condition, Aristophanes still tended to reinforce sexual stereotyping of women as irrational creatures in need of protection from themselves and from others.
Certainly, it seems clear that Aristophanes was not actually advocating real political power for women. It should be remembered that this was a time when women did not have the vote, and when men had ample opportunities to whet their sexual appetites elsewhere.
Indeed, the very idea that a woman could have enough influence to end a war would have been considered quite ridiculous to the Greek audience members. Interestingly, when establishing the rules of the sex ban, Lysistrata also makes allowance for cases where the woman is forced to yield, in which case they should do so with an ill grace and in such a way as to afford the minimum of gratification to their partner, remaining passive and taking no more part in the amorous game than they are absolutely obliged to.
An added twist to the gender battle arises from the fact that, although the gender roles were reversed with the women acting like men, to some extent, in taking the political initiative, and the men behaving more like womenin the Greek theatre ALL the actors were actually male anyway.