Introducing Myth Manifest Monday! What can I say? I had to keep the cubed theme going. This will be a new, regular feature wherein I explain a myth (from actual mythology, not a Mythbusters type thing). Hopefully, this will be a little insightful resource for readers and writers out there.
Since most myths are actually very complex, I plan to tackle the myths a little at a time, breaking up one myth over the course of a few (or even several) posts. And we begin with: Prometheus
His name in Greek literally means “Forethought.” The first thing to understand is that he is not a god, but a Titan, the race that came before the Olympian gods. They’re often seen as kind of brutish, power-hungry, and not patient at all; however, Prometheus is the exception.
Prometheus actually created mankind from clay, but they were limited, no more than simple animals, so Prometheus decided to do something about that, and stole fire from Olympus, giving it to mankind, knowing they would need it in order to become civilized.
So did he foresee what would come next and accept the price of what he did, or was he not as thoughtful as he believed himself to be? Zeus caught the Titan and sentenced him to be chained to a rock whereupon an eagle (symbol of Zeus) eats his liver every day. The liver grows back every night to begin the process all over again.
Every story about Prometheus talks about his cleverness and ability to plan things out. He sided with Zeus against Cronos. He fooled Zeus with the sacrifice of fat and meat. He fashioned mankind from clay. He made predictions about the life of Hercules. It’s hard to imagine he didn’t foresee his own imprisonment on the rock for giving fire to people.
This, of course, raises two questions: Why did he think the punishment worth the crime of stealing fire, and why did Zeus put such a punishment on stealing fire in the first place?
To find out, tune in next time for Fire.