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Themes

Little Words, Big Ideas

Power

Prometheus Bound centers on a battle for power between Prometheus, the hero, and Zeus, the king of the gods. Doesn't seem quite fair, does it?: Prometheus spends most of his time chained to a rock,...

Suffering

Prometheus Bound is about a guy who gets chained to a rock in the Scythian wilderness, who then gets plunged into a deep hole underneath the earth, and who will one day (so we are told) be lifted o...

Man and the Natural World

Io is the only human to show up in Prometheus Bound, but conflict between man and the natural world is central to the play: basically, Prometheus gets on Zeus's bad side by helping humans to become...

Fate and Free Will

Like practically every Greek tragedy you've ever heard of (and most of those you haven't), Prometheus Bound is obsessed with the difference between fate and free will. (These questions have been kn...

Freedom and Confinement

In case you forgot, this play is called Prometheus Bound—not Prometheus Skipping Merrily Along and Doing Jumping Jacks. For pretty much the whole stinkin' play, the big guy is chained to a rock i...

Compassion and Forgiveness

If Prometheus Bound is full of torture and suffering (um, yes), it's also a play full of compassion. Oceanus and Hephaestus express compassion for Prometheus—but they think he's kind of brought i...

Sacrifice

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 huma...

Pride

Prometheus Bound is full of characters telling Prometheus that he's way too proud. In the eyes of (for example) Oceanus, the Chorus of daughters of Oceanus, and Hermes, Prometheus is just making tr...

Justice and Judgment

Despite all evidence to the contrary, Prometheus Bound seems pretty convinced that Zeus is the guardian of justice. Even Io, who seems to have been treated more unfairly by the gods than anyone els...
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