Prometheus on his Crag

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Laura Jane Wey

Ted Hughes: Prometheus on his Crag th Monday September 24 , 2012 Ted Hughes (1930 -1998)  Married to Sylvia Plath 1956-1963  Poet Laureate of Britain 1984-1998 Prometheus on his Crag  Begins with Prometheus regaining consciousness oh his crag; ends with Prometheus “easing free” – his only action in the poem  Populated only by Prometheus, birds, vulture and a lizard  Intense sense of repetition, of circular motion o Repetition of “Prometheus on his crag…” o Various explicit references to a return to where one began (ex. 1; 4; 13; 15; 20) o Reference to Ecclesiastes (6) (circular motion) o Many recurring motifs  Sun; God; Birds Earth; Vulture; birth; Humanness  Strong focus on Prometheus’s internal state  Dual nature …. Part human and part god o Read 2; 5; 8; 10; 11; 13; 16 o 2 – Prometheus does not give himself any soft padding to fall back on  Does not feel sorry for himself … just accepts it  No other possible outcome for Prometheus  Prometheus reborn as a man not a god o 5 – Reference to Pandora’s jar  Swallows everything in himself  Not a clean resolution o 8 o 10 – Prometheus feels admiration towards tormentor – vulture  Why? Vulture has clear sense of purpose… knows what it’s doing  Unlike Prometheus … he does not know his purpose … does not know what he is doing  Vulture is single minded... and digests Prometheus’s guilt … has no conscience  Prometheus has conscience  Vulture is stable purpose … no guilt… has purpose in life… not bothered by anything o 11 – Prometheus sees himself as safe because he is anchored  Spike in chest seen as butterfly... which is beautiful and fragile …. Is protective of “butterfly” … does not want it to fly away  Not moving = preserving moment of euphoria  Prometheus has accepted his punishment … thinks of torture as something valuable … because it has meaning …. He gave humankind the gift of life o 13 – Cycle of human beings  Prometheus’s gift of life was not the best thing to humans after all  Feels guilt … wombs are telling him he had invented too much o 16 – Prometheus suffers out his sentence on his mountain  Reference to gods  Robbed heaven of fires  Willing participation in his own torture to save huma
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