Homework Help

In Anthem, why did Ayn Rand name her main characters Prometheus and Gaea?

user profile pic

cutebubbles | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 23, 2012 at 6:06 PM via web

dislike 2 like

In Anthem, why did Ayn Rand name her main characters Prometheus and Gaea?

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

K.P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted February 27, 2012 at 8:59 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

Prometheus, of Greek mythology, was a Titan, the forerunners of the Greek gods, who stole fire from Zeus (who was not a Titan) and gave the fire to mortals. Prometheus was horribly punished for this crime against Zeus and against order. He was also the god of forethought and the molder of humankind from clay. It was his desire to better the existence of humans that led to his conflicts with Zeus.

Gaea (also (Gaia) was a Protogenos goddess, one of the original deities connected with the original primeval elements of the universe. Some of these were Earth, Air, Sea, Sky, Fresh Water, Underworld, Darkness, Night, Light, Day, Procreation, and Time. Gaea is the mother of Earth, the begetter of the universe. Her anthropomorphic depiction shows her as being at one with and inseparable from the Earth: her legs remain only partially risen from the ground.

In Anthem, Equality 7-2521, was a scientist unrecognized.

We loved the Science of Things. ... we awoke in the night ... and we thought that we wished to be sent to the Home of the Scholars when our time would come.
All the great modern inventions come from the Home of the Scholars, ...

He is consigned to street sweeping for his life's work; rediscovers electricity, a form of fire; and takes it to the the World Council of Scholars in order to improve the lives of his fellowkind. He is horribly punished for his actions. In this, you can see the parallel to Prometheus as each brings the potent power of the world as a gift to improve life and is then horribly punished. Equality 7-2521 parallels a Titan since he is the first of a new line of free people.

When Equality 7-2521 is working in an isolated area one day he meets Liberty 5-3000, having the mischance of falling in love her--falling in love is directly forbidden in their land.

It is our second Transgression of Preference, for we do not think of all our brothers, as we must, but only of one, and their name is Liberty 5-3000.

She follows him as he flees his punishment and the reunite their forbidden love in the forbidden forest. Equality 7-2521 tells her that she shall the mother of all that is to come. From the books they find in the forest's abandoned house dating from before the Great Rebirth, they choose names or themselves: Prometheus because, like Equality, he was a light bearer and Gaea because she was known as the mother of all that was new, as Liberty would come to be known.

He took the light of the gods and he brought it to men, and he taught men to be gods. And he suffered for his deed as all bearers of light must suffer. His name was Prometheus. And I have read of a goddess who was the mother of the earth and of all the gods. Her name was Gaea. Let this be your name, my Golden One, for you are to be the mother of a new kind of gods

Sources:

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes