LYSISTRATA by Aristophanes, Part 01
CHARACTERS IN THE PLAY
CHILD OF CINESIAS
HeraLD OF THE LACEDAEMONIANS
ENVOYS OF THE LACEDAEMONIANS
AN ATHENIAN CITIZEN
CHORUS OF OLD MEN
CHORUS OF WOMEN
(SCENE:-At the base of the Orchestra are two buildings, the house
of LYSISTRATA and the entrance to the Acropolis; a winding and
narrow path leads up to the latter. Between the two buildings is the
opening of the Cave of Pan. LYSISTRATA is pacing up and down in
front of her house.)
Ah! if only they had been invited to a Bacchic revelling, or a
feast of Pan or Aphrodite or Genetyllis, why! the streets would have
been impassable for the thronging tambourines! Now there's never a
woman here-ah! except my neighbour Cleonice, whom I see approaching
yonder.... Good day, Cleonice.
Good day, Lysistrata; but pray, why this dark, forbidding face, my
dear? Believe me, you don't look a bit pretty with those black
Oh, Cleonice, my heart is on fire; I blush for our sex. Men will
have it we are tricky and sly....
And they are quite right, upon my word!
Yet, look you, when the women are summoned to meet for a matter of
the greatest importance, they lie in bed instead of coming.
Oh! they will come, my dear; but it's not easy, you know, for
women to leave the house. One is busy pottering about her husband;
another is getting the servant up; a third is putting her child asleep
or washing the brat or feeding it.
But I tell you, the business that calls them here is far and
away more urgent.
And why do you summon us, dear Lysistrata? What is it all about?
About a big thing.
CLEONICE (taking this in a different sense; with great interest)
And is it thick too?
Yes, very thick.
And we are not all on the spot! Imagine!
Oh! if it were what you suppose, there would be never an absentee.
No, no, it concerns a thing I have turned about and about this way and
that so many sleepless nights.
CLEONICE (still unable to be serious)
It must be something mighty fine and subtle for you to have turned
it about so!
So fine, it means just this, Greece saved by the women!
By the women! Why, its salvation hangs on a poor thread then!
Our country's fortunes depend on us-it is with us to undo
utterly the Peloponnesians.
That would be a noble deed truly!
To exterminate the Boeotians to a man!
But surely you would spare the eels.
For Athens' sake I will never threaten so fell a doom; trust me
for that. However, if the Boeotian and Peloponnesian women join us,
Greece is saved.
But how should women perform so wise and glorious an
achievement, we women who dwell in the retirement of the household,
clad in diaphanous garments of yellow silk and long flowing gowns,
decked out with flowers and shod with dainty little slippers?
Ah, but those are the very sheet-anchors of our salvation-those
yellow tunics, those scents and slippers, those cosmetics and