Scene Analysis: Myrrhine and Cinesias essay


In Lysistrata, Aristophanes' adopts a humorous approach to explore war and sexuality. All women boycott sex as a peaceful way of bringing the Greek war to an end. Through an oath, they swear that they will not extend sexual favors to their men until the detrimental war in Greece is brought to a halt. The play revolves around scenes where men and women face one another to discuss the issues facing their land, and often the women emerge as victors.

In one of the scenes, a conversation between Myrrhine and Cinesias transpires. Cinesias approaches his wife and requests to have sex with her because it has been long since they did it last. Apparently, he is already in the mood, but his wife decides to torment him after Lysistrata requests her to do so. The scene features various techniques of drama which enhance both the comical effect and the severity of the situation facing men in Greece due to the sex-strike. Therefore, Aristophanes effectively applies double meanings, put-downs, and stereotyping among other dramatic techniques to divulge the preposterousness of war.

Double Meanings

The scene features several words and phrases that have been creatively used to contain double meanings. Just as Cinesias is about to enter the stage, Lysistrata describes him as “an upright man” according to her judgment. The phrase may have been used to imply that he was of sound moral and gentleman status. Also, it might also be interpreted to refer to his apparent erection. The interpretation regarding his penis can be strengthened by the fact that Lysistrata alludes to Aphrodite, the love goddess. When Myrrhine insists on knowing who the man was, Lysistrata tells her to "look hard,". It meant that Myrrhine should observe the man keenly if she wanted to know him. However, it could also mean that Lysistrata wanted Myrrhine to look at the man's erection to see how hard it was. The primary implication is that the war and its consequences, including the sex-strike, had made the lives of men very hard.

When Lysistrata faces Cinesias and pretends to be shocked upon realizing that he was a man, he points to his erection and says, “of course, a man,”. Cinesias is already sure that Lysistrata knows he is a man by his looks and dressing, but he adds the action by pointing to his erection and claims that it proves his manhood. Impliedly, Cinesias' penis is the man that he is talking about. Thus, the man in question has approached the women in search of his wife who had tortured his "man" because of the war that men have failed to bring to an end. Overall, the various instances of double speak in the scene help enhance the terrible situation in which war and the sex-strike have put all men in Greece.


Stereotypes appear in this scene occasionally. One of the most notable instances of its use is when Myrrhine and Cinesias are talking about the baby. It becomes apparent that women in that culture were expected to be fully in charge of their children and houses chores. He had come with the child since he knew it would attract his wife's attention. He uses the child to persuade Myrrhine to come down. The war has brought about awkward situations as men have been left to take care of children as their wives embraced Lysistrata’s plan of denying their men any sexual privileges. It is only after the child called her mother that she decides to come down and check on it.

Another stereotype that becomes evident as the scene unfoldsis that women should always, without any objection, give in to their husband's demands. Cinesias cannot imagine that his wife has defied his summoning. He believes that all that he wants will be granted without hesitation. Nonetheless, when he realizes that things have changed, and her wife can challenge him, he resolves to pursue calm persuasion techniques to win Myrrhine’s sexual favors. All in all, his stereotypic antics fail to amass any substantial results, and he is left burning with desire, and all this proves that war is indeed full of absurdity. 


So many remarks aimed at humiliating Cinesias are made in this scene. Myrrhine is angered by her husband’s carelessness when he reveals to her that the child has not been washed for the last three days. Despite the put-down, Cinesias relentlessly pleads with her wife to concede to his request, but she rejects his advances. As a result, a situational put-down arises because Cinesias feels humiliated by Myrrhine’s abnegation of his conjugal entitlements. Another situation of the use of put-downs occurs when Myrrhine pretends to have given in to her husband's pleas. She creates a perfect environment for sex and makes Cinesias believe that she is going to sleep with her, only to leave him without fulfilling his desires. The absurdity of Cinesias' situation after his wife leaves shows how the war in Greece has brought desperation to men. The put-downs are expected to heighten the adversity of men's "sexual-drought" so that they may yield to their wives' demands of bringing the war to an end.

Role Reversals

The scene has some profound situations where Aristophanes uses role reversal. For example, though it is Lysistrata who sets the stage for the conversation involving Cinesias, she swaps with Myrrhine so that the couple can continue from where she left. The women’s role is primarily tormenting Cinesias by making him believe that he will have sex with Myrrhine. Another role reversal is when the woman takes the responsibility of preparing the scene for sex, a role that would have been considered masculine. Cinesias is instructed to sit down and wait for her. Apparently, the role reversal that emerges in this scene is a subset of the play's role reversal, which positions women at the forefront of bringing the war to an end. 

Physical Antics

Physical antics are dramaticenhancements whose weight is felt throughout the scene in which they appear. In the present stage, they can be found on several occasions albeit shallowly. For example, the repetitive pointing of Cinesias' erection is used to elucidate the fact that men are indeed suffering as the sex-strike goes on. Interestingly, Aristophanes uses the situation to show that they are suffering because of their faulty decisions to go on with the war. It is evident from the antics employed by Cinesias that all men in Greece would be willing to embrace peace and bring the war to an eternal halt since their sexual deprivation has become unbearable. Thus, the techniques used by Aristophanes can be said to have been successful in the examination of the absurd nature of war and its ramifications though in a comical way.


Lysistrata was meant to delve deeper into the absurdities of war and reveal them to the audience. Through the use of various techniques of drama, Aristophanes achieves this feat and proves that it could be made possible, even in a comical way. The scene between Myrrhine and Cinesias brings to the surface the pain and suffering that men in Greece are through as a result of the sex-strike oath that was administered by Lysistrata to all women. It achieves this through the extensive utilization of techniques like stereotyping, put-downs, and ambiguity among others.

We want to make your life easier

Scene Analysis: Myrrhine and Cinesias essay

Related essays

  1. Philosophy
  2. History of Martin Luther King Jnr
  3. Sensitivity and College Comedy
  4. What Makes the Best Workplace and Why