Lysistrata

Lysistrata Character Analysis

A grand, intelligent, alluring woman, Lysistrata organizes a sex strike not only in her hometown of Athens but in Sparta as well, all in the hope that the men of Greece might peacefully end the bloody, costly Peloponnesian War. She is something of an idealist, and very witty. Scholars see in Lysistrata traces of two important Athenian figures: the priestess of Athena and the courtesan (mistress or upper-class prostitute). Lysistrata is not married, is seemingly less susceptible to erotic desire than the other Athenian women, and wisely works for Peace by masterfully manipulating the men around her. Indeed, Lysistrata practically directs the play of which she’s part: the Athenian women obey her orders, and the men can’t help but react to her plot in the way she wants them to. By the play’s end, of course, the men who earlier denounced Lysistrata as a rebel celebrate her as the most excellent of women, a true peace-bringer.

Lysistrata Quotes in Lysistrata

The Lysistrata quotes below are all either spoken by Lysistrata or refer to Lysistrata. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
War and Peace Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the New American Library edition of Lysistrata published in 1984.
Lines 1 – 253 Quotes

Announce a debauch in honor of Bacchos,

a spree for Pan, some footling fertility fieldday,

and traffic stops—the streets are absolutely clogged

with frantic female banging on tambourines. No urging

for an orgy!
But today—there’s not one woman here.

Related Characters: Lysistrata (speaker)
Page Number: 1-4
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other Lysistrata quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!

I’m positively ashamed to be a woman—a member

of a sex which can’t even live up to male slanders!

To hear our husbands talk, we’re sly: deceitful,

always plotting, monsters of intrigue…

Related Characters: Lysistrata (speaker)
Page Number: 11-12
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Us? Be practical. Wisdom for women? There’s nothing

cosmic about cosmetics—and Glamor is our only talent.

All we can do is sit, primped and painted,

made up and dressed up.

Related Characters: Kleonike (speaker), Lysistrata
Page Number: 41-43
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. LorLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla p

We can force our husbands to negotiate Peace,

Ladies, by exercising steadfast Self-Control—

By Total Abstinence…
By Total Abstinence…
from SEX!

Related Characters: Lysistrata (speaker)
Page Number: 119-125
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

I’m willing to walk through fire barefoot.
But not

to give up SEX—there’s nothing like it, Lysistrata!

Related Characters: Kleonike (speaker), Lysistrata
Page Number: 134-136
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lines 254 – 705 Quotes

Commissioner:
I DO NOT WANT TO BE SAVED, DAMMIT!

Lysistrata:
All the more reason.
It’s not only Sparta: now we’ll have to save you from
you.

Related Characters: Lysistrata (speaker), Commissioner of Public Safety (speaker)
Related Symbols: Athena and the Acropolis
Page Number: 522-523
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

It’s rather like yarn. When a hank’s in a tangle,
we lift it—so—and work out the snarls by winding it up
on spindles, now this way, now that way.
That’s how we’ll wind up the War.

Related Characters: Lysistrata (speaker)
Page Number: 584-591
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lines 706 – 979 Quotes

I’ve lost my grip on the girls—they’re mad for men!
But sly—they slip out in droves.

Related Characters: Lysistrata (speaker)
Related Symbols: Athena and the Acropolis
Page Number: 714-715
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Your duty is clear.
Pop him on the griddle, twist
the spit, braize him, baste him, stew him in his own
juice, do him to a turn. Sear him with kisses,
coyness, caresses, everything
but stop where Our Oath
begins.

Related Characters: Lysistrata (speaker), Myrrhine, Kinesias
Page Number: 841-845
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lines 980 – 1323 Quotes

Now, dear, first get those Spartans and bring them to me…
Be a lady, be proper, do just what you’d do at home:
if hands are refused, conduct them by the handle…
And now a hand to the Athenians—it doesn’t matter
where; accept any offer—and bring them over.

Related Characters: Lysistrata (speaker), Peace
Page Number: 1116-1124
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Each man stand by his wife, each wife
by her husband. Dance to the gods’ glory, and thank
them for the happy ending. And, from now on, please be
careful. Let’s not make the same mistakes again.

Related Characters: Lysistrata (speaker)
Page Number: 1274-1178
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deseLorem ipsumLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud e

Get the entire Lysistrata LitChart as a printable PDF.
Lysistrata.pdf.medium

Lysistrata Character Timeline in Lysistrata

The timeline below shows where the character Lysistrata appears in Lysistrata. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Lines 1 – 253
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...a street in Athens, with the Acropolis visible in the background. It is early morning. Lysistrata is alone, pacing in furious impatience, waiting for the women she has summoned to arrive.... (full context)
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Rebellion, Patriotism, and the Political Power of Comedy Theme Icon
Lysistrata’s neighbor Kleonike enters. “Don’t look so barbarous, baby,” she says. Lysistrata responds that she’s ashamed... (full context)
War and Peace Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Rebellion, Patriotism, and the Political Power of Comedy Theme Icon
Kleonike asks what Lysistrata’s plot is all about. Lysistrata responds that the hope and salvation of Greece lies with... (full context)
War and Peace Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Sexuality and the Battle of the Sexes Theme Icon
Rebellion, Patriotism, and the Political Power of Comedy Theme Icon
Lysistrata insists that she wants to bring together all the Greek women to form an alliance... (full context)
War and Peace Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Rebellion, Patriotism, and the Political Power of Comedy Theme Icon
At last, other women enter from the right and left, even some ragged rural women. Lysistrata’s friend Myrrhine also enters guiltily. Soon after, the brawny Spartan woman Lampito enters, along with... (full context)
War and Peace Theme Icon
Rebellion, Patriotism, and the Political Power of Comedy Theme Icon
The women want to know, at last, why Lysistrata has summoned them. Lysistrata asks if the women would like their men to come home... (full context)
War and Peace Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Sexuality and the Battle of the Sexes Theme Icon
Rebellion, Patriotism, and the Political Power of Comedy Theme Icon
To force a peaceful end to the Peloponnesian War, says Lysistrata, the women need only abstain totally—from sex. At once, the women turn away and begin... (full context)
War and Peace Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Sexuality and the Battle of the Sexes Theme Icon
Rebellion, Patriotism, and the Political Power of Comedy Theme Icon
Lampito, however, is on Lysistrata’s side, and the other women gradually come around to the idea of a sex strike.... (full context)
War and Peace Theme Icon
Rebellion, Patriotism, and the Political Power of Comedy Theme Icon
Lysistrata proceeds to reveal the second part of her plot: to prevent the Athenian men from... (full context)
War and Peace Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Sexuality and the Battle of the Sexes Theme Icon
Rebellion, Patriotism, and the Political Power of Comedy Theme Icon
...fragrant wine. The women surround the cup and place their right hand on it, and Lysistrata leads Kleonike through the Oath as a spokesperson for all the women. To uphold the... (full context)
War and Peace Theme Icon
Sexuality and the Battle of the Sexes Theme Icon
Rebellion, Patriotism, and the Political Power of Comedy Theme Icon
...distance—the Chorus of Old Women have taken the Acropolis, citadel of the wise goddess Athena! Lysistrata tells Lampito to return to Sparta to work on bringing about peace on her end.... (full context)
Lines 254 – 705
War and Peace Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Sexuality and the Battle of the Sexes Theme Icon
Rebellion, Patriotism, and the Political Power of Comedy Theme Icon
Just then, the gate to the Acropolis bursts open, revealing Lysistrata. She is perfectly composed and is holding a large spindle, an instrument used to spin... (full context)
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Sexuality and the Battle of the Sexes Theme Icon
Rebellion, Patriotism, and the Political Power of Comedy Theme Icon
...as a unit, but a horde of women brandishing household goods pours from the Acropolis. Lysistrata urges these “ladies of hell” onward, these bargain hunters and “grocery grenadiers.” The policemen are... (full context)
War and Peace Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Sexuality and the Battle of the Sexes Theme Icon
Rebellion, Patriotism, and the Political Power of Comedy Theme Icon
The Commissioner asks Lysistrata why the women are blockading the Treasury. Lysistrata responds that money is the cause of... (full context)
War and Peace Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Sexuality and the Battle of the Sexes Theme Icon
Rebellion, Patriotism, and the Political Power of Comedy Theme Icon
Why do the women even care about War and Peace? asks the Commissioner. Lysistrata responds that the women have tolerated for long enough their husbands’ mismanagement of affairs of... (full context)
War and Peace Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Sexuality and the Battle of the Sexes Theme Icon
The Commissioner is outraged by Lysistrata’s presumptuousness, but she shuts him up, winding her veil around his head. Kleonike and Myrrhine... (full context)
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Sexuality and the Battle of the Sexes Theme Icon
Rebellion, Patriotism, and the Political Power of Comedy Theme Icon
While the Commissioner struggles to remove his new outfit, Lysistrata tells the Chorus of Old Women to dance and sing. They celebrate their willpower and... (full context)
War and Peace Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Sexuality and the Battle of the Sexes Theme Icon
Rebellion, Patriotism, and the Political Power of Comedy Theme Icon
The Commissioner asks how the women intend to achieve their goal. Lysistrata responds that the women first intend to withdraw the Army of Occupation from downtown Athens.... (full context)
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Sexuality and the Battle of the Sexes Theme Icon
Rebellion, Patriotism, and the Political Power of Comedy Theme Icon
Lysistrata retorts that if the Commissioner were logical at all, he’d adopt her plan. She extends... (full context)
War and Peace Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Sexuality and the Battle of the Sexes Theme Icon
Rebellion, Patriotism, and the Political Power of Comedy Theme Icon
...the Commissioner complains, coming from women who had nothing to do with the war! It’s Lysistrata’s turn to be outraged: the women gave up their sons to the war effort in... (full context)
War and Peace Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Sexuality and the Battle of the Sexes Theme Icon
Rebellion, Patriotism, and the Political Power of Comedy Theme Icon
...women’s plight—but then only calls upon the Athenian men to fight all the more vigorously. Lysistrata bangs the Commissioner on the head with her spindle and winds him in thread; Kleonike... (full context)
Lines 706 – 979
Sexuality and the Battle of the Sexes Theme Icon
Rebellion, Patriotism, and the Political Power of Comedy Theme Icon
A distraught Lysistrata emerges from the Acropolis. In a lofty speech more suitable for a tragedy than a... (full context)
Sexuality and the Battle of the Sexes Theme Icon
The other women begin to crowd around Lysistrata. Kleonike complains of “those goddamned holy owls” in the Acropolis who hoot all night long.... (full context)
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Sexuality and the Battle of the Sexes Theme Icon
Lysistrata mounts a platform and scans the horizon. Then she stops suddenly, and orders her women... (full context)
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Sexuality and the Battle of the Sexes Theme Icon
“WHO PENETRATES OUR POSITIONS,” asks Lysistrata. Kinesias identifies himself, and Lysistrata pretends to be overcome. The name “Kinesias,” she says, is... (full context)
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Sexuality and the Battle of the Sexes Theme Icon
Lysistrata moves to where Myrrhine is hidden and the two have a conversation in voices designed... (full context)
Lines 980 – 1323
War and Peace Theme Icon
Sexuality and the Battle of the Sexes Theme Icon
Rebellion, Patriotism, and the Political Power of Comedy Theme Icon
...open their cloaks and commiserate. Kinesias, one of the delegates, wants to get hold of Lysistrata; only peace can cure the malady of the Greek men. The Male Koryphaios, for his... (full context)
War and Peace Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Sexuality and the Battle of the Sexes Theme Icon
Rebellion, Patriotism, and the Political Power of Comedy Theme Icon
...The Spartans say that they’re ambassadors who’ve come to talk about Peace. Perfect! But only Lysistrata can truly make Peace. Sure enough, she emerges at once from the Acropolis, to much... (full context)
War and Peace Theme Icon
Sexuality and the Battle of the Sexes Theme Icon
Rebellion, Patriotism, and the Political Power of Comedy Theme Icon
Lysistrata pontificates about the brotherhood of the Greeks, and about how they share a common enemy... (full context)
War and Peace Theme Icon
Sexuality and the Battle of the Sexes Theme Icon
...claims the “Easy Mountain” and “the Maniac Gulf,” among other things. An argument flares, but Lysistrata quells it at once to smiles of agreement. The men’s ardor “to plow a few... (full context)
War and Peace Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Rebellion, Patriotism, and the Political Power of Comedy Theme Icon
Lysistrata promises the Greek men a feast, and with that she and Peace enter the Acropolis.... (full context)
War and Peace Theme Icon
Everyone now emerges from the Acropolis, including the Spartan and Athenian delegations, a flutist, and Lysistrata and her women. The flutist plays and the Spartans slowly dance, singing in honor of... (full context)
War and Peace Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Sexuality and the Battle of the Sexes Theme Icon
Rebellion, Patriotism, and the Political Power of Comedy Theme Icon
When the Spartans end their song, Lysistrata returns the Peloponnesian women held hostage in Athens back to the Spartans. She also releases... (full context)
War and Peace Theme Icon
Rebellion, Patriotism, and the Political Power of Comedy Theme Icon
Lysistrata, in closing, invites the Spartans to sing a final song. The Spartans invoke the “Spartan... (full context)