Study Guide

Lysistrata What's Up With the Title?

By Aristophanes

What's Up With the Title?

The play Lysistrata is named after its main character and hero: Lysistrata. Fairly straightforward stuff, right? Pshaw. Maybe in the real world, but this ain't the real world—this is Lit World, suckers. Nothing here is straightforward.

Lysistrata's name itself means "army-dismisser," and dismissing armies is exactly what she tries (and succeeds!) to do in the play. This double-meaning would not have been lost on the original audience of Aristophanes' comedy. It would be like if Titanic had starred Kate Winslet as a girl named "Poor Little Rich Girl Saved By Love," and Leonardo DiCaprio as a dude named "Working-Class Hero With A Lust For Life," and the movie had been after their characters.

Ancient Greece: long on forging Western civilization, short on subtlety.