The Greek book of the week – Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus
The civilization of Ancient Greece continue to fascinate the modern mind. It’s remote in time, and yet still close to us. This is partly because we owe to the classical world so many of the values and ideas which shape our society, literature and art, partly because many of the important moral and political issues which continue to exercise twenty-first century man were first addressed in the ancient world.
Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus (450–425 BC).
This play is based on the myth of Prometheus, a Titan with the gift of prophecy who defies the gods and gives fire to humanity, an act for which he is condemned by Zeus to perpetual punishment.
The play begins as Prometheus is being reluctantly chained to a boulder by the god of fire, Hephaestus. There, vultures will peck out his innards every day, only to have them grow back at night. Given that the protagonist is chained throughout the play, the play contains little action and is made up mostly of speeches.
In exploring the ancients we learn something about ourselves as well because the emotions generated and the dilemmas of judgment forced upon the characters are timeless and integral parts of the human condition.