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Prometheus Bound

Prometheus Bound

by Aeschylus

Justice and Judgment Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

POWER. We have reached the land at the furthest bounds of earth, the Scythian marches, a wilderness where no mortals live. Hephaestus, you must attend to the instructions the Father has laid upon you, to bind this criminal to the high rocky cliffs in the unbreakable fetters of adamantine bonds; for it was your glory, the gleam of fire that makes all skills attainable, that he stole and gave to mortals. For such an offence he must assuredly pay his penalty to the gods, to teach him that he must accept the autocracy of Zeus and abandon his human-loving ways. (1-11)

In these words, we hear about the supposedly horrible crimes that Prometheus committed, and how he has to pay the penalty for them. But is there anything suspicious about these words? How about the fact that they are spoken by a personification of "Power"? Maybe we shouldn't be taking lessons in what's right from the personification of might.

Quote #2

PROMETHEUS. He is harsh, I know, and makes justice as he pleases; all the same, I fancy, his mind will one day be softened, when he is shattered in the way I spoke of: one day he will calm his stubborn wrath and come into unity and friendship with me, as eager for it as I will be. (186-192)

Early in the play, Prometheus seems to think that he and Zeus will one day become friends again. But check out how Zeus "makes justice/ as he pleases." Does that really sound like the proper way to do justice? Isn't justice about not doing whatever you feel like, but instead doing what's right? Don't Prometheus's words here simply mean that Zeus is unjust? If so, then it makes sense that he will need to be "shattered" before he and Prometheus can become friends again.

Quote #3

OCEANUS. What I am going to say may seem rather hackneyed, but these, Prometheus, are the wages of an over-arrogant tongue. Are you still not humbled, not yielding to your troubles? Do you want to get more of them, on top of what you have? Well, if you accept me as your adviser, you won't kick out against the goad, being aware that we have a harsh monarch holding irresponsible power. Now I will go and try to see if I can get you released from these sufferings. You keep quiet and don't speak too impetuously; or do you not know very well, exceptionally intelligent as you are, that foolish words lead to punishment being inflicted? (317-329)

Oceanus's overall point here is that Prometheus should simply submit to the authority of Zeus, because Zeus is one crazy dude who just behaves harshly for the Hades of it. (LOL.) In other words, don't worry about the justice or injustice of it: just do what this jerk says. Understandably, Prometheus is not about to take Oceanus's advice.

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