Essay on Divinty In Prometheus Bound

Submitted By herpderpmerp
Words: 1425
Pages: 6

The Concept of Divinity in Prometheus Bound: Views and Implications Divinity doesn’t feel so divine to humankind in Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound. Aeschylus recounts an age old myth that brings to light questions of the power possessed by the new-ruling Olympians and its nature therein. The story tells us of the punishment and imprisonment, by Zeus, of the architect of man, Prometheus. Possessing the title of “god” does not necessarily mean what a contemporary, monotheistic religion entails. The ultimate thought of divinity lies with Zeus, following his defeat of the Titans; he demonstrates his new power in a blind, tyrannical fashion. This sets the stage for the relationship between Zeus and all of mankind. Through all of this display of power over all of the gods, it is forgotten that Prometheus is divine himself. His role, as described in this myth, begets pity and sympathy from humankind, and from Prometheus’ suffering, analogies can be drawn to the Christian god. The study of Zeus in Prometheus Bound is a true look into the divine. Although Greek mythology and religion is polytheistic in nature, Aeschylus’ depicts only one absolute god. Prometheus, on Zeus’ command, is bound by Bia, Kratos, and Hepthaestus. Hephaestus is unequivocally reluctant in binding a fellow god. The fact that Kratos and Bia are so hasty to deliver on Zeus’ word is indicative to his tyrannical style of rule. Kratos and Bia are literally the archetypes and physical representations of power and force, respectively. In ordering these two servants to carry out his will, a message has been sent. Zeus’ authoritative ripples have already caused a god such as Kratos to come to terms with his own divine existence: “Enough! Why falter? Why waste idle pity / […] / but to slight the Father’s word- / What do you think of that? / Is that not more dreadful? / […] / All things are a done under compulsion save ruling / Over the gods; none is free but Zeus.” (Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound, pp. 3).1 Even within the kingdoms of heaven, deities that the classical Greeks referred to as ‘gods’ were not free. All were at the mercy of Zeus’ forceful and powerful hand. Despite the fact Zeus’ hand was forceful and powerful, as personified by his servants, it was blind and absent. It is readily apparent that Zeus makes no entrance in the plot thus far. This, in itself, has implications in the relationship between the ruler of divinity and humankind. Although Zeus is never present, Kratos and Bia bind Prometheus so willingly. If gods are to carry out Zeus’ will blindly, humankind has no choice but to act innumerably subservient. As noted earlier, Kratos describes the wrath of Zeus as ‘dreadful’. It needs to be recognized that Kratos is immortal himself, and if he is describing punishment from Zeus as dreadful, punishment for disobeying Zeus is unthinkable for the already pitiful human race. As much as Zeus seems to be a simple avatar of strength with no intellect or reason to back him, it is the contrary for Prometheus. When conversing with Io, Prometheus utters, “I will make clear to you what you want to know, / Not weaving mysteries, but unfolding in simple speech, / Just as one should do when speaking to friends. / I am Prometheus, giver of fire to mortals.” (Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound, pp. 21). Fire in itself, is a motif of intelligence and knowledge. In this imprisonment, it can be argued that any defiance to Zeus, even in thought, can result in the direct oppression and bondage of free-thinking. This has direct correlation to the obedience of humankind demanded by Zeus. The shackles placed upon Prometheus by an all-powerful, absent god, have critical implications of what is expected of classical Greek society in its respect and devotion to the divine. Aeschylus uses this piece to analyze and question the line between humankind and the divine. Prometheus quickly becomes a figure that is pitied by most, including Hephaestus, Oceanus, Io, and the Chorus as well. Though…