THE CHORUS IN PROMETHEUS BOUND The chorus arrives in a winged chariot they are sea-nymphs, the daughters

of Oceanus and related to Prometheus by marriage. From the start they are horrified at Prometheus's plight and sympathise with him. "Fear nothing, we are your friends". In this play the different kind of language and rhythms used by the chorus are evident. Their odes are very poetic and lyrical, far from the rhythms of common speech. This makes for vivid creation of mood and atmosphere and a lot of imagery. The chorus's first reaction is to be critical of the new laws by which "Zeus tyranically rules". They cannot believe that one immortal has done this to another. But once Prometheus's defiance is obvious the chorus reprimands him for speaking too freely. They ask Promethwus to tell the story of what has happened. He tells of all he has done for mankind and the chorus is shocked to discover that not only has he given man the gift of "blind hopefulness" about his future but worse again he has given them "men, whose life is but a day" the gift of fire. They openly tell him that he was wrong to do this. Next the chorus moves closer to hear the story of what will happen to Prometheus in the future. Their father, Oceanus, arrives. In their first choral ode the chorus weeps for the plight of Prometheus and lists the tribes of men all over the world who weep for him too, but soon they are critical again and tell Prometheus that he is like "a bad doctor fallen ill" who cannot cure himself. The next choral ode sings of their desire always to please the gods, they go on to sing of how worthless are humans for whom Prometheus has risked all. They are "blind tribes of men...feeble as a dream". After Io's arrival the chorus asks to hear the story of her affliction. As with Prometheus, they are deeply sympathetic to her plight. They urge Prometheus to tell of what the future holds for Io and of who his own future deliverer will be. The next ode is about marriage within one's own rank. It is far better to be married to someone equal and above all they beg never to be singled out by a god for love (like Io). As Prometheus's rage against Zeus becomes more and more defiant, the chorus tries to restrain him from his wild claims

and urges him to be more humble. Then Hermes arrives with word of even greater punishment for Prometheus if he does not tell Zeus of the future. He advises him to relent and to accept reality, to deal with Zeus and the chorus agrees that his words are sensible. They are warned by Hermes to get away from Prometheus lest they be hurt but they round on him and say that they are not cowardly and would never desert a friend. Finally they are scattered in a mighty explosion pulling Prometheus into the underworld.

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