Prometheus Bound Places Discussed


Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

Scythian mountaintop

Scythian mountaintop. All the action of this play takes place atop an unnamed mountain on the edge of the Greek world—probably in the Caucasus mountains in what is now Armenia. The remote location emphasizes the isolation of the Titan Prometheus, who is bound to this mountain as punishment for his crimes against the chief god, Zeus, as the ruler of the universe.


Ocean. Mythical great sea that the ancient Greeks believed surrounded a saucer-shaped world. In this play, Ocean is personified in the god Ocean(os), who visits Prometheus on his mountaintop but refuses to ally himself with his fellow Titan. As the daughters of Ocean, the chorus of Oceanids are also identified with this body of water. Unlike their father, the Oceanids decide to cast their fate with that of Prometheus.


*Argos. Ancient Greek city located in the northeastern part of the Peloponnesian Peninsula, in which the play’s only mortal character, Io, was born. Aeschylus’s references to this unfortunate woman’s homeland provided his Greek audience with a geographical and human framework for this otherwise exotic play. Through Io and her Greek heritage, the audience may not only sympathize more strongly with Prometheus, who, like Io, is a victim of Zeus, but they can also take pride in the play’s prediction that Io’s descendants will eventually return to Greece and that one of them, Heracles, will eventually free Prometheus from his bondage.


Tartarus. Greek underworld, to which Prometheus and the chorus descend at the end of the play. The location is intended by Zeus as further punishment of the recalcitrant Titan and the completion of his isolation from the world.