Prometheus charmed - Aeschylus (525-456 BC e)

Literature of antiquity and the Middle Ages - Summary - 2019

Prometheus charmed
Aeschylus (525-456 BC e)

Tragedy (450 BC)

With Titan Prometheus, the benefactor of mankind, we already met in the poem of Hesiod "The Feogony". There he is a clever crafty who arranges the division of the sacrificial bull meat between people and the gods so that the best part gets to people's food. And then, when angry Zeus does not want people to cook and fry the meat they have received, and refuses to give them fire, Prometheus steals this fire secretly and brings people to the floor in the reed. For this, Zeus chokes Prometheus to the pillar in the east of the earth and sends an eagle to suck his liver. Only through many centuries the hero of Hercules will kill this eagle and release Prometheus.

Then this myth started telling differently. Prometheus became majestic and sublime: he is not a cunning and a thief, but a wise seer. (The name Prometheus means "The Industrialist.") At the beginning of the world, when the elder gods, the Titans, fought with the younger gods, the Olympians, he knew that he did not take the power of the Olympians, and offered to help the Titans with cunning; but those who, relentlessly relying on their strength, refused, and then Prometheus, seeing their doom, turned over to the side of the Olympians and helped them win. Therefore, the repression of Zeus, with his former friend and ally, seemed even more cruel.

Little is this, Prometheus is open and what will be at the end of the world. Olympians are afraid that as they overthrew their fathers Titans, their new descendants would eventually be overthrown. How to prevent this, they do not know. Knows Prometheus; then Zeus and tormented Prometheus to learn from him this secret. But Prometheus is proudly silent. Only when Zeus son of Hercules is not yet a god but a laborer-hero - in gratitude for all the good that Prometheus has made to people, killing a tormenting eagle and relieving Promethean torments, then Prometheus in gratitude reveals a secret how to save the power of Zeus and all the Olympians. There is a sea goddess, the beauty of Fetida, and Zeus is seeking her love. Let him not do this: it is destined that Fetida will have a son stronger than his father. If this is the son of Zeus, then he will become stronger than Zeus and overthrow him: the power of the Olympians will come to an end. And Zeus refuses to think about Fetis, and Prometheus relieves gratitude from the execution and takes on Olympus. The fete was married to a mortal man, and from this marriage she was born the hero Achilles, who was really stronger not only her father, but also all people in the world.

Here, according to this story, he made his tragedy about Prometheus, the poet Aeschylus.

The action takes place on the edge of the earth, in the distant Scythia, among the wild mountains - maybe it is the Caucasus. Two demons, Power and Violence, are introduced on the stage of Prometheus; God of fire Hephaestus must fasten it to a rocky rock. Hephaestus is a pity for the comrade, but he must obey the fate and will of Zeus: "You were humble to the people above the measure." The hands, shoulders, legs of Prometheus are shackled with shackles, the iron wedge is killed in the chest. Prometheus is silent. The case is done, the executioners are leaving, the Power throws contemptuous: "You are a fisherman, and you are fishing, how to save yourself!"

Only leaving only one, Prometheus begins to speak. He turns to heaven and to the sun, the earth, and the sea: "Look, I suffer, God, from the hands of God!" And all this for stole the fire of men, has opened them the path to a worthy person of life.

Is the chimp of the nymph - Okeanid. This is the daughter of Okean, another Titan, they heard in their sea distances rumble and clang of Promethean shackles. "Oh, it would be better for me to drown in Tartar, than to wrestle here with everyone in sight! - exclaims Prometheus. - But this is not forever: by force Zeus nothing will come from me and will come to ask me about my secret humility and kindness. " - "Why does he punish you?" - "For charity to people, for he himself is merciful". The oceanids include their father Okean: he once fought against the Olympians along with the rest of the Titans, but resigned, conquered, forgiven and peacefully splashed across all the ends of the world. Let him accept and Prometheus, not to miss him even worse punishment: Zeus is vengeful! Prometheus contemptuously rejects his advice: "Do not care about me, take care of yourself: as if Zeus did not punish you for sympathy with the perpetrator!" The ocean leaves, Prometheus tells the choir how good he has done for people. They were unreasonable, like children, he gave them mind and speech. They were filled with cares - he inspired them to hope. They lived in caves, scaring every night and every winter - he made them build houses from the cold, explained the movement of heavenly luminaries in the changing times of the year, taught the letter and the account to transfer knowledge to the descendants. This he pointed to them ores under the ground, instructed them bulls in Soha, made cart cars for earthly roads and ships for sea routes. They were dying of illness - he discovered healing herbs. They did not understand the prominent signs of the gods and nature - he taught them to be guessed by bird screams, both by the sacrificial fire and by the innards of the sacrificial animals. "Indeed, you were a savior of people," the choir says, "how did you save yourself?" "Fate is stronger than me," says Prometheus. "And stronger than Zeus?" - "And stronger than Zeus." - "What is destiny destined for Zeus?" - "Do not ask: this is my great mystery." The choir sings a sorrowful song.

In these memories of the past suddenly the future breaks. The beloved Zeus runs out on the stage - Princess Io, transformed into a cow. (At the theater, it was an actor in a horned mask.) Zeus turned her into a cow to conceal the jealousy of his wife, the goddess Hera. Hera guessed about this and demanded that the cow was presented as a present, and then she sent her a scary gadget, which drove the unfortunate woman around the world. So she came, tormented by pain to madness, and to the Prometheus mountains. The Titan, "the protector and the human patron," pity her; he tells her which further wanderings she is facing in Europe and Asia, through heat and cold, among savages and monsters, until she reaches Egypt. And in Egypt she will bring her son from Zeus, and the descendant of this son in the twelfth knee will be Hercules, an archer from the bow who will come here to save Prometheus - at least against the will of Zeus. "And if Zeus does not allow it?" - "Then Zeus will perish." - "Who will ruin him?" - "Himself, having conceived an unreasonable marriage." - "What?" - "I will not say a word anymore". This is the end of the conversation: Io again feels the sting of the vein; he again falls into madness and rushes away in despair. Chorus Okeanid sings: "Let us blow the desire of the gods: their love is horrible and dangerous."

It is said about the past, it is said about the future; Now the terrible present is on the line. Here comes the servant and messenger of Zeus - the god Hermes. Prometheus despises him as a supporter of the Olympians. "What did you say about the fate of Zeus, about the unreasonable marriage, about the peril of death? Acknowledge, you will not suffer bitterly! "-" It's better to suffer than to serve as you are; and I am immortal, I saw the fall of Uranus, the fall of Cronus, and see Zeus fall ". - "Take care: be in the underground Tartar, where Titans are tormented, and then stand here with a wound on your side, and the eagle will choke your liver." - "I knew all this in advance; Let the gods rage, I hate them! "Hermes disappears - and indeed Prometheus exclaims:" Here really the earth shook around, / And the lightning strike, and the thunders roar ... / Oh, the holy mother, the earth, / Look: I suffer innocent! "This is the end of the tragedy.