PROMETHEUS BOUND (c.455 B.C.E.)
Son of Themis/Earth (211; 873; 1090); Brother of Atlas and Typho (350ff)
 
1-127 (Prologue): While Violence (Bia) stands silently by, Might (Kratos) directs Hephaestus to chain  Prometheus to a Scythian mountain because Prometheus stole fire for man and must learn to “endure and like the  sovereignty of Zeus and quit his man-loving disposition” (8-11). “Elemental setting, cosmic loneliness for gods’ struggle” (Conacher 33); Hephaestus expresses sympathy but will do Father’s will (12-16) “reward” for “not fearing gods’ anger” and giving
“honors to mortals beyond what is just” (28-30), suggests end to  suffering (25-27); Prometheus, left alone after final taunting (88), invokes all-seeing sun to witness outrageous suffering, foreknowledge, “sin” confirmed--”Wretched god in chains, enemy of Zeus, hated of all gods (in) Zeus’  palace because of excessive love for Man” (120-24); perceives (smell, sound) company.

128-198 (Parados): Chorus of Oceanids (daughters of Tethys and Ocean 138-40) enter and talk to Prometheus: sympathy, warning (“new steersman” 148--”disposition none can win” 188), criticism “you are stout of heart” “too free of tongue” (180-81), questions “Reveal all...if telling will not harm you” 196-98); P. “plaything of the winds, enemies can laugh at
what I suffer” (158-9); but knows “President of the Blessed” will “need,” “free,” and “pay recompence” (168-79).

199-398 (First Episode): P. tells of Zeus’ victory over his father Kronos, P’s aid to Zeus, Zeus’ decision to wipe out human race, P’s rescue (199-244); Chorus’ “heart full of pain” (247); P’s gifts: “blind hopes” (252); “fire” (254); “crafts” (256) specified later in 436ff.; knew “when I transgressed..in helping man brought troubles on self but did not think that with such tortures I should be wasted on these airy cliffs...with no one near” (268-72); “begs”chorus to draw near (from out of chariot), “know the whole complete” and “join your sorrow with mine” (274-76); Chorus agrees to “hear story to the end” (284); Father Oceanos arrives, offers sympathy (289) and mediation (295; 328; 338-9); when Prometheus mocks him (300ff), Oceanos warns “Know yourself and reform your ways to new ways” (311); “you pay for that tongue of yours” (320-21); P thanks (342) but refuses, recalls “brothers’ fortunes”  (Atlas and Typho 350-376--both punished by Zeus), sends away so that lamenting doesn’t “lead to enmity” (390); Oceanos leaves.

399-560 (Choral Odes and interchange): Chorus express personal (399) and universal (408ff) sympathy in response to which P specifies his gifts to “mindless” mortals “made masters of their wits”: shelter, agriculture, calculation, writing, animal husbandry, sailing and commerce, medicine and augury, mining.   Chorus advises “not helping mortals while careless of your own misfortune for..once released from these chains you will be no less strong than Zeus” (508-11); Prometheus: “Fate...not yet determined” (512-13)....Zeus still weaker than Fates and Furies (516-18)...”solemn secret” “must be wholly hidden...so...escape shameful bonds and agonies” (524-5);  Chorus prays Zeus “never oppose his power against my mind” (526-8), never wants to be slow to worship, ”shivers” because P “regarded mortal men too high” (545), asks “what succor in creatures of a day” (546), sings dirge contrasting with earlier wedding celebration (555-60).

561-886 (Io episode): “Humankind has been the  cause of the original breach between Prometheus and Zeus; now through Io, the only human character in the play, the quarrel is to reach its climax, and, perhaps, its eventual resolution” (Conacher 56); Io, crazed with pain appeals to “tortured” P, asks place, tells sufferings, asks why P is punished, tells pain
of Zeus’ love, asks future (561-688); Chorus “chilled to soul” at “intolerable sufferings” (690-92), asks P to tell her future pain; P complies (700-735; 795-816) and explains meaning of prior oracle and journeys (823ff), claims “tyrant of gods hard in all things without difference” (636-7), refers to when Zeus will “fall from his seat of power” (756) because of
“light-witted counsels” (762) and a “marriage he will rue” (764).  Connections: P and Io (640--88) both victims of Zeus’ tyranny; identity of P’s liberator is descendant of Zeus and Io’s offspring (772-74; 852-875); manner of Zeus’ ultimate liberation of Io may suggest parallels of Zeus’ reconciliation with P; wild grief, cosmic setting, courage because of
knowledge of future (and fellow suffering: 561; 614?); Io leaves goaded by gad-fly.

887-1092 (Choral odes, Prometheus, Hermes): Chorus fears marriage above one’s rank, Hera’s wrath, attention from gods (887-907); P boasts “Zeus, for all his pride of heart will be humble yet, such is the match he plans...consummation...of Father Kronos’ curse” (908ff), tells how Zeus “shall suffer worse than I do now” (931) and does not fear such words
“since death is not my fate” (934) and  Zeus “shall not be king for long” (940); he mocks Hermes (940-41);  When Hermes commands P identify harmful marriage and threatens further punishment--crag cleft asunder, eagle tearing liver (1016-24), and Chorus advises compliance (1036-39), P accepts punishment (1040); after Hermes tells Chorus to leave,
they refuse to listen: “How dare you bid us practice baseness?  We will bear along with him what we must bear. I have learned to hate all traitors” (1067-69).

Cosmic conflagration