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Prometheus Bound

Aeschylus

Key Facts

Important Quotations Explained

Study Questions and Suggested Essay Topics

full title ·  Prometheus Bound

author · Aeschylus, according to tradition. Many scholars now believe that either an unknown follower of Aeschylus wrote it, or that Aeschylus wrote part of the play and a follower finished it.

type of work · Drama

genre · Tragedy; mythology

language · Ancient Greek

time and place written · Believed to be around 456 B.C., give or take a few years. The play was probably written either in Athens or in Sicily.

climax · Hermes threatens Prometheus with Zeus's wrath if he does not reveal his secret, but Prometheus defiantly mocks his inquisitor, vowing to reveal nothing

protagonist · Prometheus

antagonist · Zeus, represented by his servants Kratus, Bia, and Hermes

setting (time) · Pre-history—sometime after human invention of agriculture and development of mining.

setting (place) · A rocky mountain in the Caucasus

falling action · Chorus vows to stay with Prometheus; Zeus conjures up a storm and an earthquake to encase Prometheus in the rock and bury him under the earth

foreshadowing · Throughout the play, hints are dropped that eventually reconciliation between Zeus and Prometheus will take place. This is foreshadowed by Prometheus's prophecy, repeated mentions of eventual deliverance, the repeating theme of friendship, and the rising excess of Prometheus's defiance, suggesting that a reversal will occur as in other tragedies by Aeschylus

tone · Varying between fearful, sympathetic, and defiant

symbols · Fire is the dominant symbol; the tragedy does not rely much on symbols

themes · Tyranny, defiance, friendship, force and thought, human progress, excess and moderation

motifs · Yoke and harness, deliverance from suffering, time and related notions such as generations, new rule, Fate, and waiting for the right moment

unusual features · Characters are almost all divine beings; involves cool special effects

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