In Prometheus Unbound, why does Prometheus like humans so much?

Prometheus likes humans so much because he has a strong love for humanity and sympathizes with them. In fact, he loves all living things, and he doesn't want to see them suffer—not even Jupiter, the father of the gods, who punishes him by having him bound to a rock.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In Shelley's version of the Prometheus legend, the title character is someone rather like the poet himself. A great lover of humanity, he wishes to bring freedom to humankind, a freedom that belongs to humans as a right but has been taken away from them by the powerful.

In that sense, one could say that Jupiter, the father of the gods in ancient Roman mythology, represents the political establishment of early–nineteenth-century Britain, against which Shelley raged with such passionate intensity throughout his short life.

Prometheus is portrayed as the "champion of Heaven's slaves," someone who unhesitatingly sides with the underdog. Having experienced the cruelty of Jupiter first hand, he's in a perfect position to know exactly what it feels like to have one's freedom taken away. Being chained to a rock as punishment for stealing fire has made Prometheus yet more empathetic with man's condition of unfreedom.

Prometheus understands, as Shelley most certainly did, that freedom is universal or nothing. His freedom is inextricably bound up with the freedom of everyone else. None of us can be truly free if there are other people in the world who do not enjoy liberty. And this can only happen if the ultimate source of unfreedom, Jupiter, is deposed from his mighty throne.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team