ENGB30 Study Guide - Aeschylus, Group For The Study Of Reactive Motion, Omnipotence

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Published on 14 Dec 2012
Shelley: Prometheus Unbound
Wednesday September 19th, 2012
Romanticism places “an emphasis on feeling, individuality, and passion rather than classical
form and order, and typically prefer[s] grandeur, picturesqueness, or naturalness to finish and
proportion. Generally opposed to classical.” (OED, “romantic,” adj.7)
Reaction against Enlightenment(18th century) belief in scientific rationalism
Heavily influenced by the French Revolution
Prometheus Unbound
Published in 1820
Shelley expected it to sell no more than 20 copies
Subtitled “A Lyrical Drama”: fusion of two genres; lyric poetry (deals with emotions and much
more personal; personal feelings/expressions) and drama(performing arts)
Summary: Act I
Prometheus chained to Caucusus for “three thousand years of sleep unsheltered hours” (1.12)
o (disowns Zeus as his owner)
o (Prometheus says he chose his own path; will not stoop to Zeus low level)
Prometheus wishes to hear the curse he placed upon Jupiter long ago (1.53ff)
o (Prometheus then changes his mind, Prometheus feels sorry for Zeus not because of
hate; hate no more; wishes to call off curse; however he does not remember exactly
what the curse was)
No entity in this world dares speak the curse (1.130;1.140;1.180)
o (Can’t find the curse but no one wants to repeat it; lots of ppl heard it … but does not
dare recall in fear of upsetting Zeus)
Prometheus conjures the Phantasm of Jupiter; phantasm repeats the curse (1.272ff)
o (phantasm of Jupiter is the “soul” of Jupiter)
o (Curse: Jupiter cannot govern himself… good thing become bad …. Turn omnipotent
into a crown of pain)
Prometheus regrets curse (1.302ff)
o (Prometheus shocks himself with such harsh words; feels regret … wishes no living
thing to suffer pain)
Mercury arrives with the Furies and asks Prometheus to reveal the secret of who shall supplant
o (mercury pities and feels sorry for Prometheus)
Prometheus refuses, and the Furies begin to torture him by taunting him with the “evil” that
results from “clear knowledge that thou waken’dst for man” (1.539-577; 1.625-631)
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