53 pages 1 hour read



Fiction | Play | Adult | BCE

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Teacher Introduction


  • Genre: Fiction; ancient comedy
  • Originally Published: 411 BCE
  • Reading Level/Interest: Lexile 1270L; grades 11-12; college/adult
  • Structure/Length: Divided traditionally into scenes rather than acts; approximately 132 pages; approximately 1 hour and 5 minutes of running time
  • Protagonist/Central Conflict: The play revolves around Lysistrata, an Athenian woman who orchestrates a unique plan to end the Peloponnesian War. She persuades the women of Greece to withhold sexual privileges from their husbands until peace is negotiated. The central conflict of the play is between the desires and frustrations of the men and the resolve of the women to maintain their strike until peace is achieved.
  • Potential Sensitivity Issues: Contains sexual innuendo and references; themes of gender dynamics and roles; comically exaggerated male and female stereotypes

Aristophanes, Author

  • Bio: Born c. 446 BCE; died c. 386 BCE; ancient Greek playwright; one of the best-known early comedians; used wit and satire to criticize contemporary figures and ideas; only 11 of his 40 plays have survived in complete form; his works provide a unique glimpse into the life of ancient Athens
  • Other Works: The Clouds (423 BCE); The Birds (414 BCE); The Frogs (405 BCE); The Wasps (422 BCE); Peace (421 BCE)

CENTRAL THEMES connected and noted throughout this Teaching Guide:

  • Aristophanes and Athenian Politics
  • The Peloponnesian War and an Appeal to Panhellenic Unity
  • The Rights and Roles of Greek Women