4. Analyze the character of Prometheus, demonstrating what his primary quality are, and take a stand on whether he represents more the idea of rebellion against authority or the source of intelligence and technology. GENERATION X IN B.C. In Aeschylus’s Prometheus Bound, the protagonist is a stubborn, intelligent, egotistical god who rebels against authority. Prometheus disobeys Zeus by giving mortals the godly power of fire, he refuses to acknowledge his error, and he believes that Zeus will come to beg Prometheus for his help. The rebellion begins when Prometheus takes arms against his brothers, the Titans, to fight with Zeus. Since Kronus had the power in the beginning, Prometheus tried to devise ways to overthrow his power. After an unsuccessful attempt, he then sought his mother s prophecy to find out which god would win in the fight between the Titans and the Olympians. Thus, Prometheus being a wise person fought on the side that was going to win. Prometheus did not have any loyalty to Kronus. He rebelled against Kronus s authority, so when there came a chance to overthrow that power, Prometheus turned against his brothers to fight with Zeus. Prometheus even stood silent as Zeus banished the Titans to the underworld. Prometheus did this because he thought that Zeus would reward him. After all, Prometheus s ego guided him into thinking that Zeus would not have won if it were not Prometheus. Of course, Zeus did not believe this and he did not give any special attention to Prometheus that Prometheus thought he deserved. Thus, Prometheus s intelligence allowed him to fight with the winning side and his ego led him into another rebellion against the new power, Zeus. When Zeus was giving powers to the Olympians, he did not give any to man. So, Prometheus again proves to be rebellious against authority as his stubborn and egotistical nature believes that he knows better than Zeus. Zeus intended to wipe man from the earth, but Prometheus will not allow Zeus to do this, so Prometheus grants the power of fire to man. Prometheus outright admits that he was against all the other gods: Against these plans none stood save I: I dared (74). Prometheus s character qualities of being egotistical and stubborn caused him to rebel against Zeus. After Prometheus is found guilty of rebelling against Zeus, he is bound by chains to a rock. When the daughters of Oceanos come to speak with Prometheus, Prometheus tells them of his intelligence which quickly turns into the bragging of an egotistical rebel. Prometheus states that he rescued men from shattering destruction (74). Prometheus brags about how he taught man to build houses, ships, and tend to crops. He further brags that he cured man of disease and sickness and that he blessed man with precious metals. Prometheus takes credit for everything that man accomplished: In one short sentence understand it all: every art of mankind comes from Prometheus (83). Grant it that Prometheus is intelligent, but his ego is overwhelming. Prometheus believes that he is being punished unjustly for helping man. Helping man would be a noble cause, but even the chorus member Antistrophe recognizes that Prometheus is bound by chains because he did not tremble at the name of Zeus (85).
Prometheus further demonstrates his intelligence and ego when Io comes. Prometheus demonstrates his vast knowledge by telling Io where she had been. Then, he tells her what her future holds for her. Prometheus almost takes the claim that he is omniscient as he prophesizes his future as well as Io s future. Prometheus prophesizes that from Io s decedents will bring the downfall of Zeus. He claims that one of her descendents will set Prometheus free. Then, Zeus will begin to lose his power. Prometheus claims that only will be able to help Zeus, so Prometheus s stubbornness will not allow his to beg Zeus for forgiveness. Prometheus would rather wait for over ten generations to be born and have Zeus ask him for help than for Prometheus to apologize to Zeus.Thus, while Prometheus is wise, he is also egotistical. Prometheus truly believes that Zeus will come to him begging for his help. Prometheus prophesizes that Zeus will get married and that will cause his downfall. When Zeus hears about this prophesy, he sends Hermes to get the details from Prometheus. Yet, again, Prometheus shows his egotistical and stubborn side as he divulges into his believe that Zeus will not be king for long: Worship him, pray; flatter whatever king is king today; but I care less than nothing for Zeus (100). In the conversation with Hermes, the daughters of Oceanus tell Prometheus that he is not being punished so much for helping man, but he is being punished for rebelling against Zeus. The chorus implores, Harken to him. Shame it were for one so wise to fall in error (104). Yet, again, Prometheus s stubborn pride ignores their begging.Finally, Hermes practically states that if Prometheus were to apologize to Zeus and recognize Zeus s power, then he would not be bound by chains. But, Prometheus refuses to heed to their prudent counsel (104) believing again that he has no faults. Thus, Prometheus has the character qualities of being stubborn, intelligent, and egotistical. These characteristics cause him to be rebellious against authority. While he may have a noble cause, saving man from destruction, he mostly helps man because Zeus wants to destroy them. Prometheus s rebellion begins when Prometheus takes arms against his brothers to fight with Zeus. Then, Prometheus goes against Zeus s word and gives fire to man. The story ends as he refuses the counsel of the chorus and Hermes. Throughout the play, Prometheus brags about his intelligence, but with his stubborn and egotistical mind, not even his intelligence is able to devise a way to rid himself of authority or the punishment that comes from rebelling against authority.