Lysistrata (English)Machine readable text

Lysistrata (English)
By Aristophanes
Edited by: Jeffrey Henderson

Newburyport, MA The Focus Classical Library 1992

Perseus Documents Collection Table of Contents

Funded by The Annenberg CPB/Project


Speaking characters

Lysistrata, an Athenian woman
Calonice, an Athenian wife
Myrrhine, an Athenian wife
Lampito, a Spartan woman
Magistrate, an Athenian bureaucrat
Old Women, three helpers of Lysistrata
Rod, Myrrhine's husband
Spartan Herald
Spartan Ambassador
Athenian Ambassador
Athenian, friend of the Ambassador

Mute characters

Athenian Wives
Foreign Wives
Policewoman with Wives
Slaves with Magistrate
Police with Magistrate
Athenian Old Women
Nurse with Rod
Baby with Rod
Reconciliation, a naked young girl
Spartan Husbands
Athenian Husbands
Chorus of Old War-Veterans, twelve
Chorus of Old Wives, twelve

If I'd invited them to drink some wine1
or talk about the kids or go out dancing,
you'd hear the sound of high heels everywhere.
But now there's not a single wife in sight.
Well, here's my next-door neighbor, anyway.
Hi, Calonice.2
Hi to you, Lysistrata.
Hey, why the dirty looks? Cheer up, kiddo.
Don't frown, you'll wrinkle up your pretty face.
I'm really angry, Calonice, deeply hurt,
in fact offended by the wives, by us,
because, according to our husbands we're
the best at clever schemes
And that's the truth.
but when I tell them all to meet me here,
to scheme about the most important things,
they're sleeping in and don't show up.
They'll show.
It's not so easy getting out this early.
We've got to do our husbands little favors,
we've got to get the servants out of bed,
we've got to wash and feed and burp the kids.
But they've got more important things to do than those!
OK, Lysistrata, suppose
you tell me why we're meeting here. The deal.
Is it a big one?
Very big.
Not hard as well?
It's very hard.
Then why aren't we all here?3
No, no, not that: if it were that, they'd come.
It's something I've been thinking hard about:
on sleepless nights I've tossed it back and forth.
I guess it must be pretty limp by now.
It's limp alright! So limp that the salvation
of all of Greece lies in the women's hands!
In women's hands? We're goners then for sure!
The nation's fate is in our hands alone!
The very existence of the Spartan people
It's best they don't exist, in my opinion.
and all of Thebes completely obliterated
Not all of Thebes: please save the caviar!4
and I don't event want to mention Athens:
You know what I could say: you fill it in.
But all the women, if they'd only come,
the Theban women and the Spartan women
and us, together we could rescue Greece!
But what can women do that's sensible,
or grand? We're good at putting make-up on,
designer clothes and wigs and necklaces,
imported gowns and fancy lingerie!