Prometheus Bound

The Responsibility of Choice

Aeschylus' play Prometheus Bound centers on the struggle between Prometheus and Zeus. Prometheus is an intelligent god who is concerned with the welfare of others. Zeus is a tyrant who acts rashly according to his emotion. The two figures clash when Prometheus, a loyal friend of mankind, bestows gifts upon humans to make them more independent. Zeus feels that this threatens his power and determines to put a stop to it. When Zeus punishes Prometheus, a battle between force and intelligence ensues in which the rational mind will ultimately prevail.

Zeus' actions are based purely on a desire for power. At one time, Prometheus had been a good friend of his, helping him to overthrow Kronos and take his seat atop Mount Olympus. Yet, when Zeus feels that Prometheus is threatening his personal power, he erases any memory of their friendship. By human standards Zeus may be considered amoral because he is disloyal and self-serving. His evilness can be better supported, however, by the fact that he does not logically think through his behavior; his deeds are based purely on emotion. He never thinks ahead to see the ultimate effect his actions will have; he merely does what he believes will benefit the most at the moment. Because...

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