Lysistrata

The Chorus of Old Women Character Analysis

In Greek drama, a chorus is a homogenous, synchronized group of actors that typically comments on the action of the play and models the ideal audience response in speech, song, and dance; their leader and spokesperson is called a “Koryphaios.” It was usually traditional to only have one Chorus in a play, but in Lysistrata there are two, and both Choruses directly participate in the action of the play. The fierce, no-nonsense Chorus of Old Women seizes the Acropolis—site of the Athenian war treasury—as part of Lysistrata’s plan to end the Peloponnesian War. Using pitchers of water, the Chorus then repels the Chorus of Old Men as the latter attempts to burn and smoke the women out.

The Chorus of Old Women Quotes in Lysistrata

The Lysistrata quotes below are all either spoken by The Chorus of Old Women or refer to The Chorus of Old Women. 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 and citation info for the quotes below refers to the New American Library edition of Lysistrata published in 1984.
Lines 254 – 705 Quotes

Preserve me, Athene, from gazing on any
maiden or maid auto-da fé’d.
Cover with grace these redeemers of Greece
from battles, insanity, Man’s inhumanity.
Gold-browed goddess, hither to aid us!
Fight as our ally, join in our sally
against pyromaniac slaughter—
Haul Water!

Related Characters: The Chorus of Old Women (speaker), The Chorus of Old Men
Related Symbols: Athena and the Acropolis
Page Number: 335-349
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.

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A tally of [these girls’] talents
convinces me they’re giants
of excellence. To commence:
there’s Beauty, Duty, Prudence, Science,
Self-Reliance, Compliance, Defiance,
and Love of Athens in balanced alliance
with Common Sense!

Related Characters: The Chorus of Old Women (speaker)
Page Number: 541-548
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

Melanion is our ideal:
his loathing makes us free.
Our dearest aim is the gemlike flame
of his misogyny.

Related Characters: The Chorus of Old Men (speaker), The Chorus of Old Women
Related Symbols: Athena and the Acropolis
Page Number: 790-792
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.

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The Chorus of Old Women Character Timeline in Lysistrata

The timeline below shows where the character The Chorus of Old Women appears in Lysistrata. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Lines 1 – 253
War and Peace Theme Icon
Rebellion, Patriotism, and the Political Power of Comedy Theme Icon
...part of her plot: to prevent the Athenian men from continuing the war effort, the Chorus of Old Women will seize the Acropolis, where the war treasury is located, on Lysistrata’s command. (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
Lampito then hears a “ruckus” in the distance—the Chorus of Old Women have taken the Acropolis, citadel of the wise goddess Athena! Lysistrata tells Lampito to return... (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
While the Chorus of Old Men prepares the torches, the Chorus of Old Women , led by their Female Koryphaios, suddenly enters, wearing long cloaks and bearing pitchers of... (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
...one another. The Chorus of Old Men is surprised by the “flood of reserves” the Chorus of Old Women has managed to muster. The Male Koryphaios asks for volunteers to pulverize the women—“just a... (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
The Chorus of Old Men and the Chorus of Old Women fire more threats and insults back and forth. The men threaten to barbecue the women;... (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
The Male Koryphaios urges the Commissioner to bring charges against the Chorus of Old Women , but the Commissioner says that the women are, counter-intuitively, in the right. Why? Because... (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 the excellence of women, from Beauty... (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 members of the Chorus of Old Women then strip down to their short tunics, and they sing of their high pedigree as... (full context)
Lines 980 – 1323
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 audience in song. The Chorus of Old Men wish the Athenians wealth, and the Chorus of Old Women wish them good eating. (full context)
War and Peace Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Rebellion, Patriotism, and the Political Power of Comedy Theme Icon
...with that she and Peace enter the Acropolis. The delegations exit at a run. The Chorus of Old Women sing about jewelry on offer—the joke is they don’t really have anything to sell. The... (full context)