Prometheus is a God who was a beneficiary to mankind. Son of the Titan Iapetus, he worked to benefit the lives of man, not the lives of the Gods. Prometheus was assigned by Zeus to create mankind from water and earth, but in the process gave man more power than Zeus had anticipated. Zeus wanted man to have a lack of power, especially over fire, but Prometheus defies what Zeus wants and gave the power of fire to mankind. Concerned more with the well being of the man, Prometheus steals lightning and fire from Zeus and gives the power of fire to mankind.
Zeus is extremely angered by this act of disobedience and states to Prometheus, “I bet you are glad you stole fire and outfoxed me. But things will go hard for you and humans after this, I’m going to give them evil in exchange for fire, their very own Evil to love and embrace” (ACM 163). In response to this, Zeus presents man with the “gift” of Pandora, the first woman. Pandora was made to deliver misfortune to men, and as a way to take away the good spirits of man.
Another thing that Prometheus does to defy Zeus is trick him in the form of sacrifice and food. Prometheus divides slaughtered animal parts into two parts, one for man and one for the Gods. In one, he wrapped the ox-meat in the stomach lining, while the other he wrapped the ox-bones in its own fat, though looking rich and plentiful. Prometheus presented Zeus with the two parts, making him choose, and Zeus of course took the ox-bones because he eyes deceived him thinking it was more plentiful and thus more succulent.
Zeus punishes Prometheus in a horrible way for his disrespect and defiance. Zeus initially thought to punish all of Prometheus’ family, but decided to only punish Prometheus himself. The punishment was that Prometheus was chained to Mount Caucasus where an eagle feasted on his liver daily. Each night the liver would regenerate itself. Eventually, Heracles comes to Mount Caucasus, shoots the eagle and frees Prometheus from his chains. Prometheus knows the secret of Zeus’ downfall. He knows how Zeus can loose his power.
Prometheus is given this knowledge by his mother, who tells him that a potential marriage would produce a son that would overthrow Zeus. The marriage would have been to Thetis, who was a sea nymph. Resisting his advances Thetis does not marry Zeus, but the mortal Peleus, and their son is Achilles. It is this revelation from Prometheus to Zeus that the two of them reconcile, and this action is done in Aescylus’ story, Prometheus, The Fire Bringer. Zeus must accept what Prometheus is trying to tell him and that he should forgive him and come to forgive Prometheus’ actions.
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Topic: Greek Mythology and Prometheus
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