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April 2017

Aeschylus: Prometheus Bound

Prometheus Bound (Greek: Προμηθεὺς Δεσμώτης, Promētheus Desmōtēs) is an ancient Greek tragedy attributed to Aeschylus. Some modern scholars have suggested it was completed by another hand after Aeschlyus' death in 456 BC due to stylistic differences with his other plays. No record of the play's original production survives. It is thought to have been part of a trilogy with Prometheus Fire-carrier (Prometheus pyrphoros) and Prometheus Unbound (Prometheus lymenos). The order of the three plays is uncertain and the other two survive only in fragments.

The drama is set on a mountain in the Caucasus where Prometheus is chained by Hephaestus for defying Zeus and giving humans the gift of fire. The play's theme of resistance to a tyrannical traditional order has provided a motif of wide appeal in modern times. The poet Shelley famously wrote his own Prometheus Unbound, which vindicated the play's prophesy of Zeus' overthrow.

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Free online texts

Bacchicstage: Prometheus Bound, translated by G. Theodoridis. Multiple formats. Also available at Poetry in Translation.

Bartleby: Prometheus Bound, translated by E.H. Plumptre. HTML format. Harvard Classics edition.

Gutenberg: Four Plays of Aeschylus; The Suppliant Maidens, The Persians, The Seven against Thebes, The Prometheus Bound, translated by E.D.A. Morshead. Multiple formats. 

Internet Archive: Prometheus Bound, translated by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1833). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Prometheus Bound, and Other Poems, translated by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1851). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Prometheus Bound, translated by Augusta Webster (1866). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Prometheus Bound, translated by C.B. Cayley (1867). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: The voyage of the Phocæans, and other poems, with the Prometheus bound of Æschylus done into English verse, translated by E. H. Pembry, (1895). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Prometheus Bound and the Seven Against Thebes, translated by T.A. Buckley (1897). Multiple formats. Also available at Gutenberg.

Internet Archive: Prometheus Bound, translated by P.E. More (1899). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Prometheus Bound, translated by E.R. Bevan (1902). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Prometheus Bound, translated by R. Whitelaw (1907). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: The Plays of Aeschylus, translated by Walter Headlam and C.E.S. Headlam. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Prometheus Bound, translated by M.C. Wier (1916). Multiple formats.

Internet Classics Archive: Prometheus Bound. English translation, HTML and TXT formats.

Liberty Fund: The Lyrical Dramas of Aeschylus, translated into English Verse by John Stuart Blackie (1906). Multiple formats.

 Loebulus. L145 - Aeschylus -- Suppliant Maidens. Persians. Prometheus. Seven Against Thebes. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English.

Perseus: Prometheus Bound, translated by Herbert Weir Smyth (1926). Greek text- English translation. HTML and XML formats.

Textkit: Prometheus Bound, Greek text, edited by F.D. Allen.

Theoi: Prometheus Bound, translated by Herbert Weir Smyth (1926). HTML format.

UC San Diego: Prometheus Bound, translated by Marianne McDonald. PDF format.

University of Adelaide (Internet Archive): Prometheus Bound, translated by G.M. Cookson.

Wikisource: Prometheus Bound, multiple translations including Henry David Thoreau (1843), as well as the Greek text.

Performances and reviews

Kings College London: Prometheus Bound (2017).

Jay Harvey Upstage: EclecticPond's 'Prometheus Bound' takes Aeschylus up to the Age of Snowden, 25 March 2016.

Theatermania: Prometheus Bound, Aquila Theatre Company, New York City, reviewed by David Finkle, 22 March 2007. | Wilborn Hampton, An Ancient Greek Lesson About the Abuse of Power, New York Times, 27 March 2007.

Theatricalia: Prometheus Bound.

The Getty: Getty and CalArts Center for New Performance Join to Present Prometheus Bound in Annual Outdoor Theater Production at the Getty Villa, 23 April 2013. | This Stage: Deborah Behrens, Preston’s Prometheus Bound Brings Poetic Revolution to Getty Villa, 5 September 2013. 

YouTube: Prometheus Bound, New York University (2013).

Other Resources

Ancient-Literature.com: Prometheus Bound.

Boston University: The Political Philosophy of Aeschylus's Prometheus Bound: Justice as Seen by Prometheus, Zeus, and Io, by Judith A. Swanson.

Bryn Mawr Classical Review: Ian Ruffell, Aeschylus: Prometheus Bound. Companions to Greek and Roman Tragedy. London:  Bristol Classical Press, 2011. Reviewed by Ian C. Storey, Trent University (2013).

Duke.edu: The Date of Prometheus Bound, by Dana Ferrin Sutton (1983).

Flavorwire: Torture and Surveillance of the Gods: A Brilliant New Translation of ‘Prometheus Bound, by Jonath Sturgeon.

Harvard Library: Thoreau's translation of Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus, 12 July 2013.

History of Ancient Greece: Early Tragedy and Aeschylus, podcast by Ryan Stitt.

Librivox: Prometheus Bound, public domain audiobooks of several translations.

Literature and History: Episode 26 - Ancient Greek Theater. Podcast by Doug Metzger.

New York Review of Books: Prometheus Bound derived from Aeschylus, a free adaptation by Robert Lowell (1967).

The Pathology Guy: Enjoying "Prometheus Bound", by Aeschylus, by Ed Friedlander.

Theatre Database: Prometheus Bound, a synopsis and analysis. Originally published in The Tragic Drama of the Greeks. A.E. Haigh. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1896. pp. 109-14.

TheatreHistory: Prometheus Bound, summary and analysis.

Wikipedia: Aeschylus - Prometheia -  Prometheus Bound.

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