Friday, May 16, 2008

Form V and Prometheus Bound

Form V have recently finished their study of Aeschylus' Prometheus Bound. Here are some of their observations:

James Crampton writes: The play is based on the myth of Prometheus, a Titan who was punished by Zeus for giving fire to mankind. One of the play's main themes is that of tyranny and dictatorship. Zeus is represented as the ultimate tyrant because he will not honour the rules of friendship or understand such things as love or sympathy. He punishes Prometheus even though Prometheus was the deciding factor in his victory over his father Kronos. The punishment is presented as particularly reprehensible not because it is harsh, but because it is imposed on someone who was a friend. Aeschylus intentionally highlights this fact by inserting references to friendship throughout the play.

Prometheus and Zeus square off as the representatives of intelligence and the invisible symbol of force. Zeus' henchmen mock Prometheus for not being clever enough to avoid punishment, and both the Chorus and Oceanus blame him for this, in a more sympathetic manner, by telling him to give in to the power of dictatorship. In the end Prometheus never gives in to Zeus and keeps his pride because he was treated wrongly by Zeus.

I really enjoyed studying this ancient play. It was very interesting and deals with many themes that are relevant to modern life. It was well written and I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in Classics.

Mikeila Cameron writes: This ancient Greek play has very modern ideas. It is about the individual against the state.Prometheus stole fire and gave it to humans. Zeus, who has just come to power, punishes Prometheus by chaining him to a rock at the world's end. The only way for him to be released is to tell Zeus his destiny and how to prevent his fall from power.

Prometheus is visitied by a number of people. Firstly Oceanus tries to persuade him to tell Zeus about his destiny and thus end his own suffering. Then Io arrives. She is cursed because Zeus lusts after her. Hera is jealous so she changes Io into a cow who is constantly stung by a gadfly and forced to wander the earth. Prometheus tells Io her fate and her future suffering.

Hermes, the messenger of Zeus, comes along to tell him that he will suffer even more if he doesn't tell Zeus the future. But Prometheus remains stubborn. Then the earth crumbles around him and he falls beneath it.

Zeus, although not a character in the play, appears in the conversations of the characters, representing a typical modern day dictator.

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