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Lysistrata | Study Guide


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Stasimon 2

Course Hero Literature Instructor Russell Jaffe provides an in-depth summary and analysis of Stasimon 2 of Aristophanes's play Lysistrata.

Lysistrata | Stasimon 2 | Summary



The Leader of the Men's Chorus declares women are harder to control than wild animals and fire. The Leader of the Women's Chorus asks "then why wage war with me?" but then the Leader of the Women's Chorus offers the men's leader her shirt then helps him remove a painful insect from his eye, wipes it, and gives him a kiss. The Leader of the Men's Chorus quotes a saying, "'These women—one has no life/with them, and cannot live without them.'" He then proposes a truce: "I won't/insult you any more in days to come,/and you won't make me suffer." The Leader of the Women's Chorus agrees, and the two choruses combine for a song to the audience. They sing about how the lean times are over, and they invite the audience to a party. Ending on a mocking note, they say that when the audience arrives for the party, they will find the door locked.


This scene between the two fighting choruses takes an unexpectedly tender turn. The Leader of the Men's Chorus seems to have figuratively thrown up his hands in comparing women to wild animals and fire; the Leader of the Women's Chorus implies she doesn't disagree with his assessment. Both parties can acknowledge women are a force to be reckoned with. They must now find a way to reconcile, even though the Leader of the Women's Chorus believes the men's leader is a "scoundrel," and he admits "my hatred of women will not stop!" Reconciliation will demand a grand gesture, which the Leader of the Women's Chorus will deliver.

Understanding this gesture requires clarification of what is happening with the costumes on stage. At some point after their last appearance the women evidently put their clothes back on; the men, however, are still naked. The Leader of the Women's Chorus, in helping the men's leader dress, begins to restore normalcy. "Now at least you look like man again," says the women's leader, suggesting she has restored his humanity. But the restoration of normalcy for the old man is not yet complete until the women's leader makes an even more intimate gesture in removing an insect from the eye of the men's leader. Now the man can see clearly, both literally and figuratively. With the removal of animosity, Aristophanes suggests, the man can now recognize the woman's worth.

The man's need of a woman's help to dress and to see clearly is further evidence of women's power. But the fact remains the women have returned to serving men. Normalcy, it seems, requires women to rein in their power for the sake of domestic harmony. With his eyes streaming (from relief, but also perhaps from contrition), the old man proposes his truce, which prefigures the one between the younger men and women under Lysistrata's direct charge.

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