Prometheus Bound Analysis

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Prometheus’s Uncertainty Principle “Hindsight is twenty-twenty.” This expression exemplifies the perception that even if in the present we do not fully understand the results and benefits of our actions, looking back we will have perfect clarity. In Prometheus Bound, however, this assumption is challenged. Prometheus, whose name meant “forethought” to the Greeks (Theogony 510n), has the power of prophecy, and we might reasonably assume that this gives him twenty-twenty foresight, and certainly hindsight. In fact, however, even when Prometheus looks back retrospectively he is ambivalent about his actions, seemingly unsure whether he acted properly. On the one hand, Prometheus repeatedly boasts about his contributions to mankind and defiance…show more content…
He says this explicitly, stating, “Of my free will, my own free will, I erred” (11). He admits that he blundered. Moreover, he laments repeatedly about his situation, moaning “Ah me! Ah me!” twice and stating, “I lament the woe that exists and the woe to come,” continuing that he is “miserable” (6-7). Prometheus’s punishment upsets and pains him. He also calls the punishment “shameful” multiple times over the course of the text (5, 16, 36). Prometheus clearly seems to deeply regret the effects of his actions. Prometheus adds that despite his incredible foreknowledge, “Nevertheless, I did not expect such a punishment” (11). His knowledge of the future still did not enable him to understand the full extent of his punishment. Furthermore, though he claims himself the enemy of those who submit to Zeus, he also argues that sympathizing with Zeus’s enemy—in this case himself—is “a load of toil and foolishness” (14). He believes that it is, and presumably was, unintelligent to align oneself in opposition to the king of the gods. Finally, although he lauds the benefit he gave specifically to the originally “Senseless” humans (16), he later seems unhappy that he chose humans, saying they are useless to him. In the middle of delineating all the good, admirable things he did for them, he laments that humans have “no invention / To rid me of this shame”
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