Prometheus 2

PrometheusWho was responsible for bring fire to mankind, who was chained to the top of a mountain and had his liver devoured by an eagle every night? The answer: Prometheus.

This god was part of a mighty group of gods called Titans. The poet Hesoid described Prometheus as a trickster, and a troublemaker. Aeschylus described Prometheus as a ‘tragic hero’;. Many plays have been written about Prometheus, including ‘Prometheus’;.Prometheus was a cunning, intelligent being. During the war of the Titans, he advised them to use strategy, instead of just going out and having a massive bloodbath.(Encyclopedia Americana, 577) Beethoven, Wolfgang Von Goethe, Percy Bysshe, and Bach all created works inspired by the myths of Prometheus. Prometheus had no Roman name, only a Greek name, Prometheus.

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(Graves, 185) He was one of the few gods that only had a Greek name. No one knows why he only had a Greek name, we can only guess.His father, Iapetus was also a mighty Titan, one of the first Titans. His mother, Clymene, was a beautiful nymph from the deep trenches of the oceans of the world. (Hodge, 352) The story of his birth is rather sketchy, most books just outline the story of Iapetus and Clymene being madly in love with each other, and having a son, and naming him Prometheus.

He had a brother who was named Atlas. (Encyclopedia Americana, 576) (Picture taken from Microsoft Encarta, 1998)Prometheus isn’t really in charge of anything, except bringing fire to mankind and creation on man. When responsibilities were handed out, Prometheus was left out, possibly because he was a Titan, no one really knows.) Prometheus is recognized by his nudity, the stalk of fennel that he carried fire to mankind in, and the crown of sticks and leaves that sits atop his head. (Tripp, 439)A giant, roaring fire symbolizes Prometheus, most people understand why, and that is because he gave the gift of fire to mankind.

Prometheus has few unique characteristics. He isn’t a massive beast, he doesn’t have magical powers, and he doesn’t have huge, rippling muscles. He does, on the other hand, have an immortal liver. In a certain Greek Myth, Prometheus stole fire from the hearth of the gods, the gods became angry, especially Zeus. (World Book Encyclopedia, 567) Zeus ordered Prometheus chained to the top of a huge mountain as punishment for stealing fire from the hearth of the gods. During his imprisonment atop the mountain, he was tortured daily by either a vulture, or eagle. (Academic American Encyclopedia, 743) the vulture or eagle would tear out his liver, and devour it, again, and again, and again. Each night, after enduring the great pain, Prometheus’ liver would grow back, in the exact same place in his body ready for the next day’s punishment.

It is odd, that being a god, that is his only unique characteristic. (Picture taken from Microsoft Encarta, 1998)There are a lot of Greek myths about the great Titan Prometheus. One of which is about how he stole fire from the hearth of the gods, and gave it as a gift to mankind.

Zeus was angry with the humans, and as a punishment, denied them fire. He then took the fire, that was meant for the humans, and placed it in the hearth of the gods, so he and all the other gods could keep warm. Prometheus sympathized with the humans. During the night, while all the gods were asleep, Prometheus made his way around the slumbering Zeus.

He then made his way to the hearth of the gods, and grabbed the fire. Being a god, he was not harmed by the fire. He pulled out the stock of a fennel, that he had prepared earlier and put the fire in it.

He made his way past Zeus, and all the other sleeping gods. Prometheus ran out into the night. He walked all night, and at the break of dawn, finally reached earth. He came upon a group of humans preparing the mornings meal. He handed the stalk of fennel to the eldest of the group and told him what it was, and how to use it.

Prometheus began the long journey home. By this time, Zeus had awakened, and discovered that the fire was gone. He was furious. He stormed about the heavens making a huge scene. When Prometheus returned, Zeus almost tore him to bits.

Before he could lay a finger on Prometheus, one of Zeus’ aids suggested a more painful punishment. Zeus agreed with his aide, and ordered Prometheus chained to the top of Mt. Caucasus. He instructed a vulture to tear out, and eat Prometheus’ liver each and every day at noon. Prometheus was bound with heavy chains, so heavy that even a god could not break. He began his long, and never ending sentence. Thirteen Generations later, Hercules, the son of Zeus, killed the vulture, and set Prometheus free. (Encyclopedia Britannica, 639) (Picture taken from Microsoft Encarta, 1998)Another myth, which is rather short, involves the creation of man.

In this myth, Prometheus was the creator of mankind. He molded human and animal figures out of soft clay. He made every living thing on earth out of this soft and malleable clay. After he molded the human and animal figures, he placed each figure on a massive, stone slab. He pushed the stone slab into a giant kiln. He let the figures bake in the kiln for two days. When the clay figures were done baking, they were no longer clay figures, but living animals and humans. He placed each animal and human on the earth, where they prospered.

(World Book Encyclopedia 568)One of the more popular myths explains how Pandora’s box was opened. Zeus was angry with Prometheus. He ordered the creation of a woman, her name was Pandora. She had this little evil box, in it, was all the evils that would come to plague mankind.

She tried to seduce Prometheus, but he refused her. Pandora then went to Prometheus’ brother, Epimetheus. She seduced him, and persuaded him to open her box. When he did, a great chill came over him, he had released all of the evil things in Pandora’s box, only one thing remained in the box, and that was hope. (Graves, 259) Prometheus isn’t responsible for naming, or creating anything, it all depends on how you look at it. If you look at it one way, he is just some guy who stole fire from the gods; he didn’t create it, or name it.

If you look at it form the perspective of mankind, then he did create fire. Think about it, mankind had nothing back then. When Prometheus brought them fire from the gods down to earth, they must have believed that he did indeed create the fire. Prometheus was a great god, and he was one of the few gods that helped humanity. The Greeks were wonderful at creating these myths and gods, and Prometheus has to be one of the better ones.