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Prometheus Bound (Thoreau Translation)

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By: (c. 525/524-456/455 BC)

In Prometheus Bound, Aeschylus presents a timeless tale of defiance, suffering, and ultimately, resilience. The play follows the Titan Prometheus, who defies the gods by giving fire to humanity, leading to his punishment of being bound to a rock. Despite his physical torment, Prometheus remains steadfast in his refusal to repent, displaying a powerful spirit of resistance.

Thoreau's translation of Prometheus Bound beautifully captures the poetic language and dramatic intensity of Aeschylus' original work. The dialogue is eloquent and evocative, drawing readers into Prometheus' plight and the larger themes of power, rebellion, and divine justice. Thoreau's interpretation maintains the play's timeless relevance, offering a poignant meditation on the ethics of authority and individual conscience.

Overall, Prometheus Bound is a compelling and thought-provoking play that challenges readers to consider the limits of obedience and the price of defying unjust authority. Aeschylus' enduring masterpiece, brought to life by Thoreau's skillful translation, is a must-read for anyone interested in classical literature, ethics, and the nature of human resolve.

Book Description:
Whether or not it was actually written by Aeschylus, as is much disputed, "Prometheus Bound" is a powerful statement on behalf of free humanity in the face of what often seem like the impersonal, implacable Forces that rule the Universe. As one of the most compelling rebel manifestos ever composed, it has appealed not only to the expected host of scholars of Greek drama, but also to a fascinatingly free-spirited array of translators, especially since the early 19th century; Percy Bysshe Shelley, Elizabeth Barrett Browning (two very different versions), and activist-poet Augusta Webster are among those who have tried their poetic and linguistic powers at rendering it into English. The version recorded here was by Henry David Thoreau, who recommended in "Walden" reading Aeschylus in the bright early morning hours. Thoreau published this translation in Volume Three of the transcendentalist journal "The Dial" in 1843, when he was 26 years old.

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