Lysistrata

by: Aristophanes

Chorus of Old Men & Chorus of Old Women

The Chorus of Lysistrata is split into two, the Chorus of Men and the Chorus of Women. The two choruses, both old and fragile, are incredibly comic elements of the text. As the members of the choruses have all reached and passed their prime, there is little sexual tension between the rival groups. It is obvious that Lysistrata sends the Old women of Athens to take the Akropolis because they will be of no use in the sex strike. Ironically, the Chorus of Women proves more useful than the younger groups of sex striking ladies. The Chorus of Women not only takes the Akropolis, but also is able to defend it against the Chorus of Men. The Chorus of Men, in the style of Kinesias, is rather dumb and is completely overwhelmed by the women who beat them physically and mentally. The action and relationship between the two choruses parallels the action of the story; as tensions between men and women increase, so does the fighting between the choruses. When peace is declared, the choruses join together as one. This dynamic between the male and female choruses also reveals the dependency between the domestic and political lives of the Athenian people. Like Sparta and Athens, like Myrrhine and Kinesias, like the Koryphaios of Men and the Koryphaios of Women, the choruses find reconciliation when the state declares peace. The Choruses also serve to place the events of the story within the Greek religious and historical tradition. The songs of the men and women constantly refer to other mythological and historical events that are like those that happen on stage.