Existentialism In Robert Lowell's 'Prometheus Bound'
4437 Words18 Pages
Prometheus Bound stands apart from Robert Lowell’s other plays and is of special interest because here we find a fine embodiment of an existentialist rebel in the character of Prometheus, despite the mythical content of the play. In his adaptation of Aeschylus’s play, he reworks the classical myth of Prometheus. We can trace subtle elements of archetypal rebels like Milton’s Satan, Camus’s Sisyphus and Joyce’s Daedalus in his Prometheus. However, nuances of the contemporary situation are also incorporated in order to make it relevant to the present. However, as he himself admits there is no attempt at modernization: There are no tanks or cigarette lighters. No contemporary statesman is parodied. Yet I think my own concerns and worries and those of the times seep in (In the Author’s note V) Lowell has termed Prometheus Bound a “translation”. According to him, in translation, the poetry seems “lofty and dead” and the characters seem to be “statues”. Yet “something living somehow burns” through the worst translation. Nevertheless, it is more than that. It is a stimulating intellectual drama, and a challenging one because of its unconventional theme wherein Lowell examines the psychology of the rebel in the character of Prometheus. Compared to the usual dramas there is an obvious lack of action. There is no progress of events in the play, no real action or plot. It is the thoughts occurring in Prometheus’s mind, which