© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Prometheus Bound

Prometheus Bound


by Aeschylus

Prometheus Bound Fate and Free Will Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Line)

Quote #1

HEPHAESTUS. Oh, how I hate my craft skills!

POWER. Why do you hate them? Quite simply, your skills aren't in any way responsible for the task you now have.

HEPHAESTUS. All the same, I wish someone else had been allotted them.

POWER. Everything is burdensome, except ruling over the gods: no one is free but Zeus. (45-50)

Well, but Zeus isn't exactly free himself: he's bound by the knowledge that someone is going to topple him off his throne someday. Everything he does is directed to finding that out and keeping it from happening—so how free is he, really?

Quote #2

PROMETHEUS. But what am I saying? I have precise foreknowledge of all that will happen: none of my sufferings will come as a surprise. I must bear my destined fate as easily as may be, knowing that the power of Necessity is unchallengeable. (101-105)

Here's the questions: does Prometheus always choose to do the thing that's fated, or does some part of his brain watch another part of himself—the part that can't escape from Necessity—making choices that it thinks are free, but which actually aren't? (Ouch. Our brain hurts.)

Quote #3

PROMETHEUS. […] at that time I gave the best advice to the Titans, the children of Uranus and Gaea, but could not persuade them. They despised ingenious stratagems, and in the pride of their strength they thought they could retain control with ease by brute force. But my mother Themis, also called Gaea—one person under multiple names—had more than once prophesied to me how the future would come to pass, saying that it was destined that the victors should be those who excelled not in might nor in power but in guile. I spoke to them explaining this, but they simply did not see fit even to look at the idea. (204-221)

Well, duh. Of course the Titans didn't take him up on the offer: how could they, if it's true that Prometheus's mother had repeatedly prophesied that the future would turn out otherwise? (But here's another question: does knowing the future mean that you don't have to act correctly anyway?)

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...