Week Twelve Notes (Classics 320)
Week Twelve Notes (Classics 320) Classics 320
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This 11 page Class Notes was uploaded by Hannah James on Wednesday November 18, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to Classics 320 at a university taught by Laura McClure in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 31 views.
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Date Created: 11/18/15
Lysistra Summary Beginning: Inspection of Spartan Women Lysistrata opens with the exposition of Lysistrata's plan to save and unite all of Greece Lysistrata is pacing back and forth in front of the Akropolis in Athens o The Propylaia, the gateway to the Akropolis is behind her in the background o Lysistrata impatiently waits for the women of Athens and Sparta to meet her and discuss the war Lysistrata fumes that if she would have called an orgy in the name of Bacchos, a celebration of sex and drunkenness, the women would have been out in the streets with tambourines, implying that no woman requires encouragement for sex Lysistrata's tirade is interrupted by Kleonike, her nextdoor neighbor o Kleonike is older than Lysistrata, but not old enough to be considered a matron Lysistrata tells Kleonike that she is distraught that the women will not come to talk about war and that she is ashamed to be a woman because of it o Lysistrata can't understand why the women will put up with their husbands' insults and deceit Kleonike assures Lysistrata that the women will come, but for the moment they are occupied with helping their husbands Lysistrata begins to outline to Kleonike her plan to save Greece Lysistrata claims that all hope of ending the war lies with the women, a comment Kleonike finds rather surprising o Kleonike can't understand how the women of Greece could possibly end the war Kleonike informs Lysistrata that "Glamour" is the only talent women possess and that there is nothing for a woman to do besides sit looking beautiful for her husband wearing the best of negligees and slippers o Lysistrata believes that women's ability to attract and allure men, to look beautiful, sexy and well kept is exactly the key to ending the war As Kleonike begins to get excited about Lysistrata's ideas, a group of women enter o Lysistrata tells Kleonike that these women are from the "outskirts" of town The group is led by Myrrhine, a young matron Another group of women also joins the group, led by Lampito, a burly Spartan woman o Lampito is joined by two women, Ismenia, a pretty Boitian girl and a massive Korinthian Girl with large buttocks Lysistrata and the other women look over and dissect the physical characteristics of Lampito, Ismenia and the large Korinthian that would attract a male best o Kleonike admires Lampito's bosoms and Ismenia's wellgroomed pubic area and Lysistrata points out the exceptionally large derrière of the Korinthian Lysistrata’s Appeal Gates of the Akropolis The women gather around Lysistrata and ask her why she has brought them here Lysistrata first asks the women if they would like to have their husbands safely restored to them from the war o Kleonike immediately tells Lysistrata that she would like to have her husband home for he has apparently been gone for the last five months o Myrrhine and Lampito agree that they too miss their husbands Myrrhine complains that since the Milesians revolted she hasn't even been able to buy a masturbation tool from the open market and is desperate for sex With such apparent enthusiasm, Lysistrata asks if she can then have the support of the women to end the war o Lampito, Myrrhine and Kleonike all brag of the great feats they would accomplish just to end the fighting, but when Lysistrata finally tells them that she means to end the war through the evocation of chastity, the three women refuse and cry out, "On with the War!" Kleonike, Myrrhine and Lampito tell Lysistrata that they would be willing to do anything but give up sex to end the war, and even offer to walk through fire o Lysistrata is outraged at her peers and tells the women that they are the stuff of heroic songs about women—that the women are playing out their stereotypical sexdriven roles After more rousing, the women finally agree to Lysistrata's plan o Lysistrata explains that the women should powder, primp and make themselves look as attractive as possible so that the men will want them desperately She says the women will refuse sex with the men until a treaty for peace between Athens and Sparta has been signed Lysistrata also tells the women that the Akropolis, including the temple of Athena, will be seized by women later in the day to prevent the Athenians from using the money from the treasury for the war Lysistrata calls a policewoman over and tells her to turn over her shield so that the women can sacrifice a sheep on it and swear an oath that they will follow Lysistrata's directions and make peace in Greece Kleonike tells Lysistrata that the women cannot make an oath of peace on a shield and suggests that they might slaughter a jar of Thasian wine instead Lysistrata agrees and the women bring in an enormous jug of Thasian wine o As if it were an animal for sacrifice, the women remark that the color of the wine is a beautiful shade of blood o Lysistrata prays over the wine and then elects Kleonike to take the oath on behalf of the rest of the women o Lysistrata recites an oath of chastity and each line is repeated by Kleonike o After the oath is recited, the women drink the wine. As the women pass the cup, loud sounds are heard from offstage o Lysistrata informs the women that the sounds they hear are the women taking the Akropolis and announces that the citadel of Athena is theirs Lysistrata and Kleonike hurry off to help the women at the Akropolis Meanwhile, the Chorus of Old Men is led in from stage Left o This group of rather aged and decrepit old men carries wood and earthen pots of fire to smoke the women out of the Akropolis The Koryphaios of Men encourages the men to keep going o Swifty, a leader one of the groups of men, struggles to sing a song to set the pace of the group The First Semichorus of men joins Swifty in song and adds his own laments of the pains of Matriarchy The Second Semichorus also joins the singing and tells the story of Kleomenes, the Spartan, who briefly occupied the Akropolis in 508 BCE As the men progress towards the Akropolis they blow on their earthen pots of fire, which give off great clouds of smoke right back into the men's faces o As the men work with their firepots at the gates of the Akropolis, the Chorus of Old Women, carrying pitchers of water and led by the Koryphaios of Women, approaches The Chorus of Old Women is quite old like the men, but lively o The First Semichorus of Women urges the women ahead in song and is joined by the Second Semichorus of Women Gates of Akropolis Wool Metaphor The Chorus of Old Men makes its way toward the gates of the Akropolis The males prepare their earthen pots of fire to smoke out the women who have already overtaken the Akropolis o The Chorus of Old Women, carrying water, meet the men at the gates The Koryphaios of Women tells the men that the chorus only represents one percent of all the women in their force The Koryphaios of Men assures his troops that a few jabs will certainly quiet the women, in the manner of Hipponax The Koryphaios of Men reluctantly steps up to the Koryphaios of Women who has begun to advance on him The Koryphaios of Women tells her enemy that she will castrate him, which apparently frightens the Koryphaios of Men, who retreats o The Koryphaios of Men quotes Euripides and states that there is no beast as shameful as a woman The threats between the two sides escalate until the women empty their pitchers of water over the men, fully soaking them The Commissioner of Public Safety enters with a squad of police o The Commissioner has heard of the insurrection of the Akropolis, but does not yet know of the sexstrike The Commissioner has come to the Akropolis to withdraw funds for Athens's naval fleet The Commissioner, realizing that the Akropolis has been taken by women, concludes that the women must be involved in some kind of orgy or "spontaneous combustion of lust" and rants about women and the imminent moral chaos that they create o The Commissioner criticizes modern society and men who have allowed women to have such power As the Commissioner and his police attempt to pry open the gates of the Akropolis, Lysistrata bursts through o The Commissioner orders four policemen to arrest Lysistrata and the women, but the men are overpowered by the women's threats comprised of a chamber pot, a lamp, a pair of tweezers, and finally an entire hoard of women brandishing pots and household articles The policemen run and Lysistrata and The Commissioner are left to argue Lysistrata informs The Commissioner that she intends to keep the money in the treasury until Athens and Sparta declare peace o The women will budget the money for the city, just as the women budget their household accounts Lysistrata tells the Commissioner that she will save Greece from itself o The women of Athens have tolerated and endured too many stupid actions of men and have now decided that they will not witness any more The Commissioner is increasingly offended and threatened by Lysistrata's words The Commissioner tells Lysistrata that he cannot listen to a woman who wears a veil, the obvious sign of women's inferiority Lysistrata defiantly removes her veil and tells the Commissioner to be quiet o Lysistrata takes her veil and puts it around the Commissioner Kleonike and Myrrhine enter and help to dress the Commissioner up as a woman Lysistrata shouts to the Chorus of Old Women, "Ye Women must Wive ye warre!"—a rewrite of Homer's text, "Ye Menne must see to Ye warre." (This passage from the Ili means "What Athens needs is a Man," or, in the case of Lysistrata, "What Athens needs is a Woman.") The Chorus of Old Women dances and sing a verse about their coming victory o Lysistrata imagines the states of Greece as a great piece of wool to be spun Lysistrata tells the Commissioner that Hellas is in a nasty snarl and the women will be responsible for cleaning, scutching, pluching, combing and finally spinning the fibers into a bobbin of yarn to clothe the entire city of Athens, free of Bias or stitch The Commissioner is not convinced of Lysistrata's weaving metaphor and exclaims that the women have not born any part of the war o This comment infuriates Lysistrata who tells the Commissioner that she has had to bear double the quota—she has given her son and her husband to the effort Lysistrata winds a bobbin of thread around the Commissioner, Kleonike empties her chamber pot over him and Myrrhine breaks a lamp over the Commissioner's head The Commissioner, defeated, finally staggers off Wool Metaphor Myrrhine’s Seduction The Koryphaios of Men addresses the audience and tells them that they must act to preserve their freedom from the women The Chorus of Old Men also advances toward the audience and, with the Koryphaios of Men, the chorus strips its clothing off until the men wear only short tunics o The Koryphaios of Men and the Chorus of Old Men lament that the women have caused great disorder in Athens o The Koryphaios of Men sneaks up next to the Koryphaios of Women, knocks her in the jaw and runs back to the men The women also remove their mantles, revealing tunics much like those of the men o The Chorus of Old Women also advances toward the audience and makes its plea o The Koryphaios of Women tells the audience that she is not ashamed to be a woman, that women's leadership is better than the present state of Greece The Koryphaios of Women hits the Koryphaios of Men in the jaw with her slipper The Koryphaios of Men leads the Chorus of Old Men in the removal of their tunics to make the women smell their foul odor o The women also remove their tunics to give the men a whiff of the "Femme Enragee," or the enraged female's odor The Koryphaios of Women then grabs the Koryphaios of Men by the ankle and trips him Lysistrata comes out of the Akropolis, visibly distraught Lysistrata complains that women are escaping to have sex with their husbands o At that moment, a women attempts to escape from the Akropolis across the stage The woman explains that she must get back to her weaving at home and runs on despite Lysistrata's orders o Another woman then runs across the stage telling Lysistrata that she must pluck the fibers from unpeeled flax and, finally a third woman crosses the stage who pretends that she is pregnant Other women filter out of the Akropolis and crowd around Lysistrata who tells the women they must be a united front or that everything will fail Lysistrata reads from the oracle, which tells the women that if they do not work together they will suffer great shame and embarrassment. o Encouraged, the women go back to the citadel As the women exit, the choruses reassemble o A fight ensues between an old man and an old Woman, who unsuccessfully swing at each other with fists and sexual slander In the midst of this struggle, Lysistrata mounts a platform and looks over the horizon where she sees an approaching male o Myrrhine identifies the man as Kinesias, her husband and assures Lysistrata that she can take care of him All of the women exit, except for Lysistrata, who is on the platform, and Myrrhine, who is hidden from the view of her husband o Kinesias has a visible erection and is followed by a slave who carries a baby boy Kinesias is in visible pain and demands that Lysistrata bring out Myrrhine to him o Myrrhine appears at the wall and Kinesias begs her to come down to him o Kinesias has brought the couple's son who begs for his mother. Pitying the child, Myrrhine comes down from the wall As Myrrhine descends, Kinesias soliloquizes about the beauty and temper of his wife o When Myrrhine enters she takes the baby and refuses to let Kinesias touch her Kinesias explains the problems at home—the weaving has come unraveled, the house has gone to hell and he, himself, is desperate for sex o Myrrhine solidly refuses to have sex with him until there is a peace treaty Kinesias apparently wants to have sex with Myrrhine immediately and Myrrhine takes advantage of his neediness o Myrrhine pretends she is suddenly willing and gets a cot from the Akropolis While the desperate Kinesias lies down, Myrrhine goes to get more and more essential items for sex (a pillow, a blanket, perfume) from inside the Akropolis until she finally disappears after asking her husband to remember to vote for the truce Myrrhine’s Seduction Plays End The Koryphaios of Men comforts the distraught Kinesias, abandoned by Myrrhine o In agony, Kinesias departs A Spartan Herald enters the stage and shrouds his own erect phallus with his cloak o The Herald tells the men he has brought some news The Commissioner enters the stage and asks whether the Herald is carrying a concealed weapon (indicating the Herald's erection) o The commissioner throws open the cape of the Herald and exposes him in ful The Herald explains that things are very bad in Sparta and that the men are quite desperate for their women The Commissioner tells the Herald to go to Sparta and request a Plenipotentiary Commission to conclude an armistice o The Herald departs The Koryphaios of Women tells the Koryphaios of Men that the two should no longer persist in their frivolous war of the sexes o Although the Koryphaios of Men cries out for misogyny, the Koryphaios of Women wins his favor by helping him put his tunic on once again The Koryphaios of Women also helps the Koryphaios of Men take an insect out of his eye and the two make amends, sealed with a kiss from the Koryphaios of Women to the Koryphaios of Men The Chorus of Old Men and the Chorus of Old Women also make amends o The two choruses unite and face the audience in song The Spartan ambassadors, who enter from stage right, interrupt the singing o The ambassadors, like the Herald, also suffer from their erections o The Athenian delegation, also with erections, enters from the left led by Kinesias The gates of the Akropolis open and Lysistrata emerges with her handmaid Peace o Peace is a beautiful girl and is completely naked Peace remains out of sight when Lysistrata first enters the scene o Lysistrata says that the men come to an agreement soon and calls out Peace The men stare at Peace who makes the men's stiffness all the more uncomfortable Lysistrata directs the Athenians and the Spartans to places opposite each other o Lysistrata announces that she is a woman with wisdom and condemns the killing of Greek men and women As Lysistrata's oration goes on, Kinesias comically remarks that he will be destroyed if "this is drawn out much longer" (alluding both to the "drawn out" nature of not only Lysistrata's speech, but also of his elongated phallus) o Lysistrata continues and ignores Kinesias's complaint Lysistrata reminds the men that the Spartans have asked for assistance from Athens and that Athens gave it o Lysistrata tells the men of Athens that they should remember when the Spartans saved Athens from the "pride of Thessaly" Lysistrata asks what keeps the men from peace and a Spartan replies that they would end the war if Sparta was given a strategic location Pointing to Peace's buttocks, the Spartan tells Lysistrata that Sparta will take The Promontory of Pylos o Using the maid Peace as a map of Greece, Kinesias tells the Spartans that he wants certain portions of Greece and is given the land equivalent of Peace's legs or the "legs of Megara." With some urging from Lysistrata, both parties agree to a truce o The men take off their cloaks and again expose their throbbing phalluses Lysistrata further instructs the men that they must convene with their councils and declare a union among allies; the delegations of men run off to follow her instructions The Chorus of Old Men and the Chorus of Old Women sing another verse and go to the door of the Akropolis The Commissioner appears, slightly drunk and carries a torch o Time has apparently passed and the banquet between the Spartan and Athenian delegations has just finished The Commissioner tells the chorus to get back from the doors o Kinesias, also drunk, comes out of the Akropolis and raves at the wonderful party between the Spartans and the Athenians o The Commissioner also adds his enthusiastic description of the party The Spartans enter onto the stage through the Akropolis, followed by all of the women Lysistrata tells the men that they may take their women home and the men and women of the chorus join together in a joyous song o As the play concludes there is singing and dancing all around