The themes of Aristophanes' play "Lysistrata" include strength in unity, strength in righteousness and the divisive nature of war, not only on nations but on families as well. The play also highlights the intuitive, common sense wisdom of women, which prevails despite their lack of official power. One of the play's principal themes is the value of women and the love they represent, largely as an alternative to warfare.
These themes have a lasting and universal relevance for society. Despite the play being thousands of years old, "Lysistrata" was performed hundreds of times around the world in the lead-up to the United States' invasion of Iraq. It served as a protest against the engagement and a means of highlighting the folly of war.
The play begins with a meeting between the women of Greece, led by Lysistrata. She calls for them all to withhold sex from their husbands until the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta has reached a peaceful end.
Despite male notions to the contrary, the women argue that their sacrifice of husbands and sons to the conflict makes it their concern as much as anybody else's. In the end, their sex boycott is successful and Sparta and Athens are reconciled.