translated by Kenneth McLeish and Frederic Raphael
Prometheus the Titan, cousin of Zeus, has given mankind fire. Further, he has thwarted Zeus's plan to obliterate the human race, and, in saving them, has taught them many arts, from writing to agriculture, architecture to medicine. His generosity to mankind, to whom he was sometimes known as creator, knows no bounds. But it is precisely this generosity which sees him punished.
In Aeschylus's play we see the characters of 'Might' and 'Force' chaining Prometheus to the Caucasus Mountains, using chains forged by the Olympian god Hephaestus. Despite the sympathy of Hephaestus (whose fire it was Prometheus stole for the humans), and the pain of bondage, Prometheus proudly holds on to his anger at Zeus.
Prometheus Bound sees many suppliants plead with Prometheus to cast aside this pride and beg forgiveness of his powerful cousin. Instead, Prometheus rages on, the searing fire of his words and chains burning as bright as the flames he stole.