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Lysistrata | Study Guide


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Episode 3

Course Hero Literature Instructor Russell Jaffe provides an in-depth summary and analysis of Episode 3 of Aristophanes's play Lysistrata.

Lysistrata | Episode 3 | Summary



The Spartan and Athenian ambassadors arrive; they have huge erections and are ready to make peace. The Leader of the Chorus (now united) takes them to Lysistrata and praises her wisdom. She calls in the naked goddess Reconciliation and asks her to take each ambassador in her hands. Reconciliation takes two Spartans by their phalluses, leads them to Lysistrata, and then does the same with two Athenian ambassadors. Lysistrata scolds the ambassadors of both parties for fighting each other when they should be united against their common enemies.

The ambassadors agree to make peace. Using the body of Reconciliation as a map, they begin to divvy up the regions of Greece each will control. Once they've concluded their business, Lysistrata leads them into the citadel for a party the women are holding in their honor.


Lysistrata once again demonstrates her genius in bringing along a voluptuous woman, a representation of the goddess Reconciliation, as a visual aid during the negotiation between the ambassadors. The arguments Lysistrata puts to each delegation are persuasive and based on common sense ("I picked it up/from listening to my father and to speeches from our senior men," she tells the ambassadors). Lysistrata's masculine style of persuasion is not what seems to convince the delegation, however; it's the body of Reconciliation who drives the men toward a frenzy of actual reconciliation.

Using Reconciliation's body as a map is another stroke of diplomatic genius on Lysistrata's part. The places on the map each delegation wants matches their supposed sexual preferences; the Spartans demand Pylos (slang for anus), and the Athenians Echinous (slang for vagina). Lysistrata guides the men in a give-and-take so skillfully that neither party feels short-changed. Instead, both parties eagerly anticipate concluding the negotiations; "I'd like to strip and start ploughing naked," declares the Athenian ambassador. The ambassadors' eagerness also ensures their allies "will agree this is just fine." Literally and symbolically, the allure of Reconciliation effects a truce.

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