Prometheus Bound

Introduction

Prometheus Bound (Ancient Greek: Προμηθεὺς Δεσμώτης, Promētheus Desmōtēs) is an Ancient Greek tragedy. In antiquity, it was attributed to Aeschylus, but now is considered by some scholars to be the work of another hand, and perhaps one as late as c. 430 BC.[1] Despite these doubts of authorship, the play's designation as Aeschylean has remained conventional. The tragedy is based on the myth of Prometheus, a Titan who defies the gods and gives fire to mankind, acts for which he is subjected to perpetual punishment.

Prometheus Bound was the first work in a trilogy that also included the plays Prometheus Lyomenos (Prometheus Unbound) and Prometheus Pyrphoros (Prometheus the Fire-Bearer), neither of which has survived. Since the final two dramas of the trilogy have been lost, it is difficult to determine Aeschylus’s original intention for the work as a whole. This problem is intensified since the date of the trilogy is unknown. A reference (lines 363-372) to the eruption of Mount Aetna in 479 suggests that Prometheus Bound may date later than this event. Aside from that, however, scholars cannot agree whether the play was written early or late in Aeschylus’s career or even whether it is a genuine work of Aeschylus.


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