Lysistrata by Aristophanes:Themes

The themes of an ancient play Lysistrata by Aristophanes can be described as follows namely under the topics of War and peace, Sex and Disobedience.

Aristophanes (448BC-388BC)


One of the most striking themes of Lysistrata is disobedience of the women to the men. Women were expected to follow whatever they were told to do or instructed to do. They were supposed to show their meek and helplessness nature in front of the men, but in the play, the women especially the leader Lysistrata goes against the traditional convention and set a new example that if women are determined they can do more than the men. Her peaceful revolt against war proves women’ capability to set peace in the country. The women of Athens go against the set tradition and the men not for their personal interest, but for the sake of the country and for the collective interest. No men in the Athens can have control over the determined women, not even the magistrate, who represents the law, has the power to control the women and their peaceful way of protest. The women have left their traditional roles as obedient and meek wives and daughters and have taken the position of power for a good reason.


Sex has been one prime theme in the play Lysistrata. The whole novel chiefly centers round the theme of sex. It has become one major weapon for the women to fight against the men to settle down the war between Athens and Sparta. The power of women of sex is positively used to set peace in the country.  Because of the sexual power that women have, they are able to seize the control over men. The warriors of Athens cannot have sex with their wives as they used to have previously. They are held captive to their bodily desires as women protest not to keep the sexual relationship with their husbands until they set peace and withdraw the war. Sex provides the women with power that they did not use to have. The extreme desire for sex leads the men to surrender in front of the women who are in the protest to withdraw the war and set peace in the Athens. Lysistrata uses sex to motivate men to negotiate peace.

War and peace

Aristophanes is concerned about the theme of war and its deadly aftermaths. His Lysistrata is about the theme of antiwar. When Athenian men are involved in the war with the Spartans, mainly the women have to suffer. They have to lose their sons, husbands and have to stay away from the family. Their financial condition along with the country’s financial state is degrading. War has not done anything good for both sides. It just has brought devastation and misery in the lives of the people. No state has taken the initiative to settle the war and set the peace. In such condition Lysistrata, a bold and clever lady comes up with a magnificent plan to hold sex strike. She calls all the Athenian women and does her best to convince them not to have sexual relationships with their husbands until they denounce the war. The playwright depicts the unwillingness of men in the war because of not having fulfilled their carnal desires. The war has caused problem for men that they have to suppress their biological need. Not only that, some have gone mad due to extreme suppression of sexual desire. At last, the war is stopped by the men warriors and peace, which all the Athenian women have desired to set, is restored. The playwright here shows the victory of peace over war and he vehemently denounces the war. Lysistrata has become his spoke person carrying his views on war.

Aristophanes Study Center

Introduction of Lysistrata

Summary of Lysistrata

Aristophanes' Satire in Lysistrata

Biography of Aristophanes