Study Guide

Lysistrata Perseverance

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The no-nooky strike organized by Lysistrata is all about perseverance: not doin' it isn't easy, after all. The women's success is largely due to the perseverance of Lysistrata herself, who steadfastly encourages the young wives to stay away from their husbands, and relentless opposes the Magistrate and other men who try to quash their efforts. This woman has a willpower of steel.

But the play shows the negative side of perseverance as well. When perseverance goes bad, it usually turns into either apathy (lazily enduring problems without changing them) and stubbornness (steadfastly clinging to a bad course of action). Lysistrata freely admits that she and the other women of the city used to fall into the apathetic form of bad perseverance, when they sat twiddling their thumbs while their husbands screwed up the city. The male characters in the play typically fall into stubbornness, as they try to defend their own power at all costs, without worrying about the effects it has.

Questions About Perseverance

  1. Which does Lysistrata portray as more important: perseverance by individuals or perseverance through teamwork?
  2. Perseverance can have a bad side: it can decay into either apathy or stubbornness. Which characters in Lysistrata tend to fall into the bad form of perseverance?
  3. Why is the theme of perseverance so important in Lysistrata?
  4. Does the play portray perseverance as good in and of itself, or is it only good when used as a tool to achieve some goal?

Chew on This

The male characters in the play show the wrong kind of perseverance: they are apathetic and stubborn in sticking to wrong-headed policies

The theme of perseverance is important in Lysistrata because the sex-strike basically involves a conflict of endurance between the men and the women of the city: who will crack first?

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