Lysistrata Summary

Lysistrata Summary

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Table of Contents
Summary Part 2
Summary Part 3
Summary Part 4
Summary Part 5
Literary Analysis
Literary Analysis Part 2
Further Resources

Prologue Summary

The play opens with Lysistrata standing at the Propylaea, which is the gateway to the Acropolis. It is to be understood that she is expecting to see someone. She laments that if it were a feast or celebration she was throwing, there would be women everywhere. But now there are none.  Her friend Calonice arrives, the only woman to show up on time. Lysistrata complains about women’s irresponsibility when confronted with a serious task, which Calonice refutes with the excuse of long hours spend on domestic duties. Lysistrata tells her that within the Acropolis waits a much lengthier and weightier object, sparking the first of many phallic jokes in the play. At this point in the plot, she confides in Calonice that she intends for women to save Greece itself through their own feminine adornments and wiles, but she does not go into the full detail of her plan quite yet.  Lysistrata remains coy about what exactly she intends to do for the time being, as she wants to reveal her plan before all the Greek women.

At this point in the plot of Lysistrata, Myrrhine, a Anagyrian woman, and then Lampito, a Spartan, enter. Lysistrata and Lampito flirt briefly as more and more women from around Greece file in. Lysistrata begins her speech to the women by addressing the problem of all their husbands being gone at war for extend periods of time. Several of the women give brief personal accounts of where their husbands have gone, and how long ago. Lysistrata announces that she has a plan to end this war that has consumed much of Greece, to which the women respond enthusiastically with assurances that they are willing to do anything she could possibly conceive in order to bring the war to an end.

Lysistrata finally reveals her plan to end the war- all the women will refuse to have sex with their husbands until the war is over. The women are absolutely mortified at the prospect, saying that they were expecting a much easier proposition, like being made to walk across fire. They decide that they would rather see the war continue. The exception is Lampito, the Spartan woman. She is the first to step up and agree to the plan, and remains steadfast in her commitment. Lysistrata praises her as her only true comrade amongst cowards. She explains that with enough primping, the women can drive the men to seek peace by any means necessary if they all ignore their husbands’ demands for sex.