Literature Study GuidesLysistrataGreek Comedy Structure

Lysistrata | Study Guide

Aristophanes

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Lysistrata | Greek Comedy Structure

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Most Old Comedy, including Lysistrata, follows the dramatic structure outlined below:

Prologos (PRAH-luh-goss): Usually called the prologue in English texts, the prologos opens the play with dialogue that reveals the setting and themes.

Parodos (PAIR-uh-doss): The chorus makes its first appearance, without the other actors, in this section.

Agon (AG-ohn): The agon is a debate between two speakers, the first of whom loses.

Parabasis (puh-RAB-uh-sis): The parabasis in Aristophanic comedy is typically an ode in which the chorus members remove their masks and address the audience directly to voice the author's opinions. In Lysistrata the split chorus makes it impossible to air a coherent view; instead the two choruses argue with each other.

Episode(s): These scenes involve the actors in dialogue with each other and the chorus.

Stasimon(s) (STASS-uh-monz): In these scenes, one of which follows each episode, the chorus sings a song with no other actors present.

Exodos (EX-uh-doss): The exodos, or exit scene, is the final part of the play, usually involving feast, song and dance, and a general air of reconciliation.

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