As the title suggests, Prometheus Bound is a tragic play about the myth of Prometheus. It tells how he was punished by Zeus, for going against him and giving fire to humanity. He is then trapped in Tartarus for this. Having studied Aeschylus in my class, I wanted to read some of his other works to gain more insight into his writing. I found this particular play very interesting due to the fact I was already interested in the myth of Prometheus. I enjoyed this play due to the themes that it seems to address.
Many tragic heroes fall due to overreaching and hubris, whilst in my opinion Prometheus seems to act out of selflessness. He gives fire to humans as a way to educate them and make it so they can survive, sacrificing himself to an eternity of suffering. Both Zeus and Prometheus are stubborn; Prometheus will not give up and Zeus will not forgive Prometheus for his disrespect. Almost presenting them as equals, despite Zeus being the God of Gods.
Karl Marx was said to have been very influenced by Aeschylus and his presentation of Prometheus. He can be seen as a proletariat revolting against Zeus for exploiting those classed as lower than him. Therefore he sides with humanity and the intelligence that they can find with his help. I found Prometheus quite a humble and courageous character, but Aeschylus does present him as self-pitying and he is a victim to fate and Zeus, who holds all the power. At moments I admit that I didn’t follow what was being said and there was also a lack of exciting moments, but I still found it quite interesting, especially because I had a previous interest in Greek Mythology. It seems to address the theme of fate and how everything seems to happen for a reason. And Prometheus himself seems to represent resilience and a need for education, intelligence and courage as a way to survive.
Written – Around 430 BC
Rating – 3/5 stars
Quote – “Time, as it grows old, teaches all things.”