Zeus in Prometheus Bound

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Aeschylus’s Prometheus Bound, takes place soon after Zeus, the seemingly ruthless king of the gods, ascended into power by defeating the Titans with the necessary assistance of Prometheus. While much of the play is about whether Zeus’s rule is just, the vicious god does not actually appear in the play. Instead, the characterization of Zeus is achieved through his relationship with the other characters. The immortal characters that appear in the play are either mindless servants of Zeus, lacking any empathy, or fearful subjects, expressing their sympathy for Prometheus’s situation. Zeus’s callous behavior is also presented through his hostility toward the human race and exemplified through the suffering of Io. At the beginning, Aeschylus represents Zeus’s governing authority with two unquestioning servants, Force and Violence. As their names suggest, the use of these pitiless and intimidating characters demonstrates Zeus’s choice method of brute force to rule. Even at the end of the play, Zeus sends Hermes not to reason with, but to threaten Prometheus to reveal the dangerous union that will lead to his downfall. Not only does this demonstrate his inclination to rule through force but it shows he believes himself above fate. However in reality, his threats further alienating the one immortal who can help him avoid his doom. These obedient immortals represent Zeus’s brutality, stubbornness toward fate, and exemplify his tyrannical method of rule. The immortals compassionate to Prometheus’s plight express their sympathies but also express their fear of Zeus’s wrath. Hephaestus, who is extremely troubled by having a hand in punishing his friend, still executes Zeus’s orders stating, “…it is a dangerous thing to treat the Father’s words lightly.” (lines 16-17). Likewise, the Oceanids and Oceanus offer their pity and help, but they also take turns trying to reason with
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