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Aristophanes’ Lysistrata. Two Quotes. Women’s peithō , how appraised?. Two Quotes. Chorus Leader to Lysistrata:. Magistrate (on Demostratus). . . . a noisy rooftop party for Adonis, just like the one that spoiled our assembly. That ill-starred, foolish politician moved

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Aristophanes lysistrata

Aristophanes’ Lysistrata

Two quotes
Two Quotes

Women’s peithō, how appraised?

Two quotes1
Two Quotes

Chorus Leader to Lysistrata:

Magistrate (on Demostratus)

. . . a noisy rooftop party for Adonis,

just like the one that spoiled our assembly.

That ill-starred, foolish politician moved

we sail to Sicily, while his wife was dancing

and yelling for Adonis. When he said,

let’s muster allied troops for this armada,

his wife was on the rooftop getting drunk

and yelling ‘Oh doomed youth!’ But he persisted,

the goddamned stubborn hotheaded son of a bitch! (p. 110)

Hail the bravest of all women!

Now you must be more besides:

Firm but soft, high-class but low-brow,

Strict but lenient, versatile.

Delegates from every city,

captured by your potent charms,

Come before you and request your

arbitration of their cause. (p. 142)


Women in Aristophanes' Lysistrata embody positive role models (politically, etc.)


  • Epideictic Project

    • An Immodest Proposal

  • Recap

    • Persuasion and Democracy in Thucydides Readings 2

  • Persuasion in Lysistrata

    • Let’s Count the Ways. . .

  • Resolved:

    • Women in Aristophanes' Lysistrata embody positive role models (politically, etc.)

Epideictic project
Epideictic Project

An Immodest Proposal

Gorgianic figures
Gorgianic Figures

Basic concept

  • Colon

    • rhetorical unit

      Word repetition

  • Anaphora

    • colon beginning

  • Antistrophe

    • colon end

  • Anastrophe

    • end/beginning

Other figures

  • Antithesis

    • contrast

  • Homoioteleuton

    • end rhyme

  • Isocolon/parisosis

    • same/similar-length successive cola

  • Paronomasia

    • word play

Our epideixis
Our epideixis..

We live in a time of overpopulation, we die in a time of great starvation. Though these problems seem infinite, our solution is infantile.


Persuasion and Democracy in Thucydides Readings 2


  • “Truthiness,”

    • “truth that comes from the gut”

  • Foundationalism

    • The “noble simplicity”

  • versus Spin & revalorization

  • Sophistic ethics

    • Law of nature

    • Right of the stronger

  • (Counter-)rhetoric

    • captatio benevolentiae

    • demophilia topos

  • Stasis

and persuasion?


  • Despotic/oligarchic democracy? (Michels)

    “The preponderant elements of the movement, the men who lead and nourish it, end by undergoing a gradual detachment from the masses and are attracted within the orbit of the ‘political class’ ” (Political Parties)

  • Charismatic democracy? (Weber)

    “… devotion to the exceptional sanctity, heroism or exemplary character of an individual person, and of the normative patterns or order revealed or ordained by him” (Economy and Society)

  • Pragmatic democracy? (Finley)

    Democracy’s “substantive promises”: “what counts is that the people expected results and at times, sometimes for long periods, felt satisfied with them” (Ancient History)

Melian debate
Melian Debate



“Nature (phusis) always compels gods (we believe) and men (we are certain) to rule over anyone they can control. We did not make this law (nomos), . . . but . . . will take it as we found it. . . .”

(Thucydides 3.38.4, p. 68)

Er s logos
Erōs, logos



  • Plague

    • “The pleasure of the moment . . . [was] set up as [a standard] of nobility and usefulness" (50)

  • Mytilenean Debate

    • CLEON: Athenians as rhetoric-addicts

    • DIODOTUS: “Hope and passionate desire (erōs) . . . dominate every situation” (73)

  • Stasis Description

    • “The cause of all this was the desire to rule out of avarice and ambition” (93)

  • Sicilian Debate

    • NICIAS: “Do not be sick . . . with yearning (erōs) for what is not here” (116)

    • HISTORIAN’S ANALYSIS: “Now everyone alike fell in love (erōsenepese) with the enterprise” (122)

Anti x rhetorical rhetoric
Antix-Rhetorical Rhetoric?





“The most difficult opponents are those who also accuse one of putting on a rhetorical show (epideixis) for a bribe” (71)

  • “The habits you’ve formed: why you merely look on at discussions, and real action is only a story to you!” (68)

Gorgianic cleon thuc 3 38 4
“Gorgianic” Cleon (Thuc. 3.38.4)

“you are accustomed to being VIEWERS OF WORDS”

eiōthate theatai men tōn logōn gignesthai,

akroatai de tōn ergōn,



parisosis (closely balanced clauses)

antithesis (contrast)

homoioteleuton (end rhyme)

oxymoron (ironic non-sequitur)

Persuasion in lysistrata
Persuasion in Lysistrata

Let’s Count the Ways. . .

Lysistrata layout
Lysistrata: Layout

Comic structure

Dramatic arc*


Occupation plot

“Magistrate” scene


“Rod”-Myrrhine scene


Men and women

Spartans and Athenians


    • war

    • husbands absent


    • sex-strike

    • fiscal embargo

    • logos?


    • Athenians, Spartans

    • Women, men

* Courtesy Henderson 1987.

Peitho types of success
Peitho: Types of, Success

Non-verbal persuasion

Verbal persuasion

Some dialogue
Some Dialogue. . .

MAGISTRATE: You can stop these wartime hardships. . .?


MAGISTRATE: How? . . .

LYSISTRATA: . . . First you wash the city as we wash the wool, . . .

Bring it all together now, and make one giant ball of yarn. . . .

MAGISTRATE: What do women know of war? (Lit. “Is this not a terrible thing, these women ‘woofing’ and ‘warping’ us!”). . .

LYSISTRATA: . . . First of all we make the children,

Then we send them off to war.

MAGISTRATE: That’s enough! (Lit. “You must stop remembering evil!”)


Women in Aristophanes' Lysistrata embody positive role models (politically, etc.)