On a basic level, Lysistrata is about a struggle for power. The men of the city want to hang on to the power they've got, and the women of the city (led by Lysistrata) want to increase their own power. But what's most interesting is the different kinds of power that the men and women wield. For the men, power is all about political authority and decision-making; it also seems to be an end in itself. For the women, however, power is not an end in itself. Sure, the women are trying to have a voice in political decision-making, but that's because they want to bring about a specific change: an end to the Peloponnesian War… even more than they want to get laid.
Questions About Power
- What are the main sources of women's power in the play?
- What are the main sources of men's power in the play?
- What does the play portray as the relationship between human and divine power?
- Why do the male characters in the play react so strongly against the women's attempts to gain power?
Chew on This
The male characters react strongly against the women acquiring power because they see it as a limit on their own power, and they aren't used to having their own power limited.
The women see part of their power as coming from the gods, whom they call upon to make them as sexually attractive as possible.