Ancient Greek Tales of Prometheus

Topics: Prometheus, Greek mythology, Aeschylus Pages: 3 (850 words) Published: May 8, 2012
In modern society, much like any before it, there always exist a duality when it comes to the constructs and events of human civilization as a whole. This is especially true of knowledge and technology. Its very understanding and creation can be perceived as a challenge to the current 'status quo'. It presents the opportunity for evolution and possibly, even revolution. So just as there would be as many to embrace it, there would an an equal force to deter it. This can even be seen in generational works, going as far back as the Ancient Greek tales of Prometheus. Prometheus, represented by the works of Aeschylus (Prometheus Bound) and Hesiod (Theogony/Works and Days), is demonstrated in light and dark differences between the two author's tales. Both bring the world views of their authors, and their interpretation of the gods' will.

Aeschylus' Prometheus is an altruistic individual. He uses trickery and keen intellect to take advantage of the gods, that is true, but his aims are for the common people, not to himself. After being found out by Zeus for his treachery and punished for his crimes, “Prometheus later reveals that he stole fire not merely to defy Zeus but to rescue humanity from extinction.” (Harris, Platzner 123) Zeus had planned to allow humanity to parish into ignorance and darkness, but Prometheus, feeling pity for [we] the helpless mortals, gave them fire and taught them the arts and skills of civilization. The unbenevolent nature of Zeus was not meant to present the “father” of the patriarchal pantheon as an evil force, but rather young; immature. He did not have the experience to truly comprehend the encompassing after effect of Prometheus' actions, or more importantly, their bases. Aeschylus' Zeus is not portrayed as omnipotent and omniscient being, but rather, the dramatist “imagines Zeus as he may have been at the beginning of his reign- a force of raw power untempered by wisdom or compassion (Harris, Platzner 119). Later on after having...

Cited: Rosenberg, Donna. World Mythology: An Anthology of the Great Myths and Epics. 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1994. Print.
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