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Prometheus Bound

Prometheus Bound

by Aeschylus

Sacrifice Theme

One of the major reasons why Prometheus Bound has remained so popular throughout the centuries is its depiction of sacrifice: Prometheus seriously puts himself on the line for the sake of puny humans. Sound familiar? If you're at all familiar with Christianity, it should: Jesus sacrificed himself for… yep, the sake of puny humans. He was even nailed to a cross. But the stakes are a little different, here: sure, humanity is saved, but Prometheus is also standing up to Zeus. So is he really doing it for humans—or for himself? And if he's doing it for himself, is it really a sacrifice?

Questions About Sacrifice

  1. If Prometheus decides to help humans knowing how much he's going to suffer for it, does that mean he is sacrificing himself for humans?
  2. Do any other characters in the play perform a sacrifice?
  3. Would Prometheus still be such an admirable character if he had given humans everything he did but wasn't forced to pay such an extreme price for it?
  4. Why does Prometheus sacrifice his freedom and comfort for the sake of humans?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Prometheus ought to earn serious kudos for his sacrifice.

When the Chorus of daughters of Oceanus comes to see what's happening to Prometheus, they are putting themselves in harm's way for his sake, which in itself is a form of sacrifice.

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