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Page 1

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Historical Context
Peloponnesian war:

Between Athens and Sparta.
Driven by jealousy for supremacy on Greek mainland and Island states.
There was a true, but was broke again in 431BC
Athens was defeated in 404 and forced to accept Spartan control

The Play:

Produced in 411
Athens suffered heavily in war…

Page 2

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Characters: Lysistrata, Calonice, Lampito, Myrrhine, Ismenia, Corinthian woman
Summary: Lysistrata is annoyed that the women are late to her celebration. Allows
for humour through stereotypes, `if it had been a Bacchic celebration...you
wouldn't have been able to move'. Calonice appears. Their dialogue allows for more
stereotypical humour, `clever villains' and…

Page 3

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Magistrate Scene ­
Setting: same as previous.
Characters: Magistrate, mens leader.
Summary: Begins with magistrate reaffirming stereotype of women as sex-mad.
The speech focuses on the evils of women, their promiscuity and is full of double
entendres. The men's leader approaches the magistrate complaining of the
women brutally assaulting them…

Page 4

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to the men who fight and that they are lost without their husbands with them to
enjoy life with. The women then proceed to dress the magistrate as a corpse, scope
for visual humour.


Pseudo-Parabasis-
Note: As the chorus is split, a typical parabasis is not possible so instead we…

Page 5

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Summary: The men make up a variation on a myth so it suits their point, that women are
detestable. The women do the same but that men are detestable.

Cinesias Scene:
Setting: same
Characters: Lysistrata, Calonice, Myrrhine, Cinesias
Summary: Lysistrata is delighted as she sees a man approaching, meaning her…

Page 6

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Spartan and Athenian Delegations ­
Characters: Leader, Spartan, First Athenian, Chorus, Lysistrata, Reconciliation
Summary: The Spartan and Athenians meet to discuss their problem, both men have
erect phallus. Joke at the expense of Cleisthenes, `We'll all end up shagging
Cleisthenes!' known for being effeminate, topical reference. Lysistrata comes out
with…

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