Prometheus Bound

by Aeschylus

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What is the role of fate for Zeus in "The Creation of Man by Prometheus" and Achilles in Homer's Iliad?

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In the creation myth titled "Creation of Man by Prometheus," the Titan god Prometheus is fated to be tortured by Zeus through an eagle until Chiron the Centaur decides to lay down his life for Prometheus and Heracles the demigod kills the eagle. However, Prometheus's fate is brought upon him through both his own choices and the choices of Zeus.

Both the Titan gods Prometheus and Epimetheus had been assigned the task of creating man and distributing qualities to all creatures on earth. However, Epimetheus unfortunately assigned all of the best qualities to the animals, such as the ability to be swift, to be sly and shrew, and to be strong, to have fur for protection, or to have wings for flight, and left no good qualities for man. Prometheus assisted by making man similar to the gods by giving man the ability to stand upright just like the gods. Prometheus also gave mankind fire, a tool that leads to the development of civilization because it leads to the ability to cook, make weapons, keep warm, etc. Prometheus also developed a devoted love for mankind because he saw the Olympian gods as guilty of exiling Prometheus's family to Tartarus, a specific section of the Underworld.

In reaction to Prometheus's love for mankind, Zeus became jealous and required sacrifices from all of man. Zeus's jealousy led Prometheus to trick Zeus in order to give mankind more provisions than the gods. Being tricked by Prometheus in turn led Zeus to make the choice to punish Prometheus.

Hence, as we can see, Prometheus made several choices: (1) to give mankind traits that equate man to the gods; (2) to love mankind; and (3) to trick Zeus for his jealousy. Zeus himself also made a couple of decisions: (1) to be jealous of mankind; and (2) to punish Prometheus. Therefore, we can say that it was ultimately choices that led to Prometheus's fate, and fate itself plays a very small role in the story.

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