Reading Lysistrata is kind of like peering in the windows of a middle-class Athenian home… except not creepy. We get all sorts of interesting tidbits from this play about home-life in Ancient Greece: the lady of the household played the role of manager, overseeing the domestic servants and slaves. She also typically also managed the household finances and performed chores themselves, such as spinning and weaving.
Lysistrata thinks that this power in the home should lead to power out in the boy's club of politics. She argues that they give women the qualifications to manage the affairs of the city. She even compares cleaning up the corruption in the city to cleaning a new fleece of wool. And she stages the ultimate domestic/political protest: no nooky 'til war is over.
Questions About The Home
- Based on the play's depiction of political life and home life, which group of Athenians would you say works harder: men or women?
- How are women's experiences in the home related to the skills they need to put on their strike?
- In the world of the play, is the average marriage happy, unhappy, or a mixture of the two?
- While Lysistrata and her crew are holed up on the Acropolis, do you think the average female sex-striker is (a) worried about how things are going at home, or (b) glad to have a vacation from worrying about how things are going at home?
Chew on This
Lysistrata portrays home-life as often full of love between husband and wife, but frustration over the unequal distribution of household duties.
In the home, women play a powerful role as overseers of the domestic slaves and servants, and managers of the household finances. This role gives them organizational skills and confidence that help them during their strike.