Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Archetype of Human Existence
Be warned, I'm going to start pontificating now. I have started some background reading on Prometheus; thoughts and ideas are hitting me fast. I see no reason not confuse you too.
I am halfway through 'Prometheus - Archetype Image of Human Existence' by Carl Kerenyi. The Professor clearly knows his Greek and it has been very helpful. The initial points I have taken so far are.
1. "Prometheus, founder of the sacrifice, was a cheat and a thief; these traits are at the bottom of all the stories about him."
This statement came as a bit of a surprise. Prometheus now-a-days is considered a clever and brave hero. This attitude is certainly seen in the Romantics handling of him. Why the change? Does it resonate with having less respect for God?
2. The Titans, of which Prometheus was one, were a group of Gods that came before the Olympians. Zeus usurped them. This may explain why followers of him would suggest Prometheus was a thief. New religions tend to bash the old ones.
3. The Titans seem to represent darkness, "exuberant virility", boundless pride and violence. Prometheus in particular had associations with the moon. Where as the Olympians were light.
4. The liver, a large dark organ, represented darkness, Zeus's eagle represented the sun. The eating of the darkness by the sun and then the regeneration of the darkness throughout the day makes Prometheus's ordeal on the rock profound indeed.
5. Prometheus was not that clever. Zeus was well aware the suffering that would follow all his trickery and theft. Like the humans he created he believed his ingenuity and guile would enable him to fool the Gods. But his actions always had profound negative affects. He appears not have the 'forethought' attributed to him for he was unable to see the full results of his actions. Perhaps his name has a touch of irony about it.
Clearly he is a complicated character. I am thinking that in my incarnation of him he may have learnt some humility after his trials. Even remorse for what he has done to mankind. Unfortunately, in his desire to make amends, he resorts once more to his innate trickery. How human. Not content to serve.