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The myth of Prometheus – Iseult Gillespie

The myth of Prometheus – Iseult Gillespie


Before the creation of humanity, the Greek gods won a great battle against
a race of giants called the Titans. Most Titans were destroyed or
driven to the eternal hell of Tartarus. But the Titan Prometheus,
whose name means foresight, persuaded his brother Epimetheus
to fight with him on the side of the gods. As thanks, Zeus entrusted the brothers with the task of creating
all living things. Epimetheus was to distribute the gifts
of the gods among the creatures. To some, he gave flight; to others, the ability
to move through water or race through grass. He gave the beasts glittering scales, soft fur, and sharp claws. Meanwhile, Prometheus shaped
the first humans out of mud. He formed them in the image of the gods, but Zeus decreed
they were too remain mortal and worship the inhabitants
of Mount Olympus from below. Zeus deemed humans subservient
creatures vulnerable to the elements and dependent on the gods for protection. However, Prometheus envisioned his crude
creations with a greater purpose. So when Zeus asked him to decide
how sacrifices would be made, the wily Prometheus planned a trick
that would give humans some advantage. He killed a bull and divided it
into two parts to present to Zeus. On one side, he concealed
the succulent flesh and skin under the unappealing belly of the animal. On the other, he hid the bones
under a thick layer of fat. When Zeus chose the seemingly
best portion for himself, he was outraged
at Prometheus’s deception. Fuming, Zeus forbade the use
of fire on Earth, whether to cook meat
or for any other purpose. But Prometheus refused to see
his creations denied this resource. And so, he scaled Mount Olympus
to steal fire from the workshop
of Hephaestus and Athena. He hid the flames in a hollow fennel stalk
and brought it safely down to the people. This gave them the power to harness
nature for their own benefit and ultimately dominate the natural order. With fire, humans could care
for themselves with food and warmth. But they could also forge weapons
and wage war. Prometheus’s flames acted as a catalyst
for the rapid progression of civilization. When Zeus looked down at this scene,
he realized what had happened. Prometheus had once again
wounded his pride and subverted his authority. Furious, Zeus imposed a brutal punishment. Prometheus was to be chained
to a cliff for eternity. Each day, he would be visited by a vulture
who would tear out his liver and each night his liver would grow back
to be attacked again in the morning. Although Prometheus remained
in perpetual agony, he never expressed regret
at his act of rebellion. His resilience in the face of oppression
made him a beloved figure in mythology. He was also celebrated for his mischievous
and inquisitive spirit, and for the knowledge, progress,
and power he brought to human hands. He’s also a recurring figure
in art and literature. In Percy Bysshe Shelley’s
lyrical drama “Prometheus Unbound,” the author imagines Prometheus
as a romantic hero who escapes and continues to spread
empathy and knowledge. Of his protagonist, Shelley wrote, “Prometheus is the type
of the highest perfection of moral and intellectual nature, impelled by the purest
and the truest motives to the best and noblest ends.” His wife Mary envisaged Prometheus
as a more cautionary figure and subtitled her novel
“Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus.” This suggests the damage of corrupting
the natural order and remains relevant
to the ethical questions surrounding science and technology today. As hero, rebel, or trickster, Prometheus remains a symbol of our
capacity to capture the powers of nature, and ultimately, he reminds us of the potential
of individual acts to ignite the world.


Reader Comments

  1. Prometheus was punished by the gods for giving the gift of knowledge to man. He was cast into the bowels of the Earth and pecked by birds, It won't be enough. the answer is beneath us, her name is caroline.

  2. Just saying Prometheus was said to take coals from Hestia’s hearth, Hestia knew but nobody would blame her because she’s a pacifist

  3. The version I believe is that prometheus stole fire because he thought that humans needed it, because prometheus asked zeus asked if he could give them fire but zeus said no.
    Edit: also, he was freed by Hercules later on, and didn't have to suffer forever.

  4. I’m not sure if this is factually correct. The fire was stolen first, which was forgiven because the sacrifices continued but then Zeus was deceived. This audacity on Prometheus’ part made Zeus impose such a punishment on him. He was eventually freed by Hercules during the task where he had to fetch the golden apples. Zeus allowed did because he was impressed by his son Hercules’ strength. In fact, it was Prometheus who suggested Hercules to seek help from Atlas, a titan, to pick those apples, as no mortal was powerful enough to do it.

  5. You forgot the part where he gets released. To all the people that don’t know, he taunted Zeus by saying he knew that Zeus would die and he knows how to prevent it. So Zeus made Heracles release him and Prometheus told Zeus that if he married this one girl he liked, her son would kill Zeus and take his place of king of the gods.

  6. prometheus was punished by the gods for giving the gift of knowledge to man
    He was cast into the bowel of the earth and picked by bird

  7. Imagine being the one who wants to create life just so you can be worshipped, but then gets petty when they go off to live their own. Narcissist.

  8. I seen better stories of Prometheus, one of my favourite myths. It's missing here Hercules saving Prometheus. Well deserved after all

  9. Zeus explained Prometheus and told him that humans have to find their life their way their path themself they need to find everything themself ….and teel

  10. Actually,that is not the exact myth (at some points). I believe that the exact myth is at Plato's Protagoras (i am not sure,so I may be wrong)

  11. Dang Zeus ya gotta give Prometheus some slack

    At least Prometheus got an element: promethium

    If you had been nicer Zeus there could be Zeuthium

  12. There is something profoundly wrong in the final comment "Prometheus remains a symbol of our capacity to capture the powers of nature". This is a western, Judeo-Christinan misinterpretation of the whole Greek culture. Prometheus uttered: "Techne d’anangkes asthenestera makro" (v.514, Prometheus Bound), i.e.
    Technique is weaker by far than the necessity (of the Nature).
    Plato wrote (Laws, 905c): "O perverse man…. you failed to perceive that all partial generation is for the sake of the Whole, in order that for the life of the World-all blissful existence may be secured,—it NOT BEING GENERATED FOR THY SAKE BUT FOR ITS SAKE". In other words, in the Greek culture the Nature is that unchangeable background (not created by any man or god) to which human beings have to adjust in order to be right.
    Instead, in the opposite, modern (currently dominating) Judeo-Christian culture, the Nature was created by God and given as a gift to Adam. Genesis 1,26: "Then God said: Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."
    It is NOT Prometheus which remains a symbol of our capacity to capture the powers of nature, but Adam!! Prometheus says quite the opposite: technique (thus "us") cannot dominate the Nature. Unfortunately, the Greek culture was defeated and we still believe that we can capture the powers of the nature (for our own sake)!

  13. Wait this kind of doesn’t make sense i read a book and when Kronos killed his father his fathers blood made humans and other creatures idk this is kinda mixed my brain up

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