In this paper I shall outline a possible new interpretation of Aeschylus' Prometheus Bound. I find that despite universal agreement that this drama has immediate and deep relevance to our lives, there is no available reading which comes closely to grips with the rich, specific details of the play as well as its broad outline. Prometheus Bound is neither a symbolist drama nor an allegory, since the Olympian gods and their predecessors were immediate, shared reality for the Greeks of the early fifth century. So we should begin by asking what Aeschylus meant by his choice of scene and subject, and in particular what issues would have been evoked for the Athenian audience by the confrontation between Prometheus and Zeus.
The manuscripts place before this drama an excerpt from the History of Poetry attributed to Dionysius the younger. Singling out Aeschylus' Prometheus plays for special praise, the author comments that ‘the dramas are filled with the most senior of the gods, and all the masks, both on the stage and in the orchêstra, are divine’.
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