Study Guide

Lysistrata Section 6

By Aristophanes

Section 6

  • At that very moment, Lysistrata walks onstage. The Chorus leader pleads with her to use all of her considerable skill to make the Athenians and the Spartans make peace.
  • Lysistrata says that that's exactly what she has in mind. Then she summons someone else onstage to help her—but it's isn't just anybody: it's a goddess, the spirit of Reconciliation. What's more, Reconciliation is a naked girl!
  • Lysistrata instructs Reconciliation to stand between the Athenians and the Spartans, holding one member of each delegation by the hand—or by whatever else she can grab (seriously).
  • Once Reconciliation is in place, Lysistrata launches into her speech. She points out how the Athenians and Spartans get along at the Olympics and have been allies in the past—so why do they have to war against each other now? Don't they have barbarians to fight?
  • Lysistrata goes on to point out how the Athenians have helped the Spartans out of some tight scrapes in the past, and vice versa. How can they be so ungrateful to each other?
  • Throughout Lysistrata's speech, the Athenians and Spartans keep agreeing with her—though their attention is mainly focused on the naked figure of Reconciliation, who is driving them wild with desire.
  • Finally, the Athenians and Spartans get down to business. They decide to divide up the territory that is disputed between them. Or rather, they each lay claim to the most attractive body parts of Reconciliation, and these body parts symbolize the various territories that they lay claim to.
  • Eventually, the Athenians and the Spartans decide to have sex with Reconciliation simultaneously—but from opposite sides. In keeping with their national stereotype, the Spartans lay claim to Reconciliation's backside.
  • We are not making this up, guys. Aristophanes was a dirty old man.
  • Once the ceremony is over—and the Spartans and Athenians have promised to get their allies in on the deal—Lysistrata says that the sex strike is over: the men can reclaim their wives.
  • Then, Lysistrata, Reconciliation, and the delegates leave the stage. Some slaves sit down outside the gates of the Acropolis; a doorkeeper keeps them company.
  • Now the Chorus sings another song with the same message as their last one: they want to share everything with everybody… except not really.
  • Just then, the Athenian delegates burst onto the scene and knock over the slaves who were leaning on the door. They chase the slaves away. The Athenian delegates then talk about how they just had a great party with the Spartans—and how they should always get drunk with each other while conducting important business.
  • Then, for no apparent reason, the slaves come back, and the Athenians chase them away again.
  • Now the Spartan delegates emerge from the Acropolis. The leader of the Spartans is carrying bagpipes.
  • With the encouragement of the first Athenian delegate, the Spartan begins dancing and singing a song about the great military exploits of Sparta from days gone by.
  • Then the First Athenian Delegate tells the men of Athens and Sparta to reclaim their wives. Then he sings a song of prayer for the occasion.
  • Next it's the Spartan's turn again. He sings a song in praise of Sparta, but ends with a call for everyone to sing a hymn to Athena—a nice tip of the hat to his hosts' patron goddess.

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