Prometheus the fire thief, the Gods’ enemy, Prometheus the friend of mortals, the light bearer, Prometheus victim and culprit, creature of both the past and the future, Prometheus the arrogant.
In a wasteland, in a mythical era, where Titans reign supreme and Gods control the destiny of both time and space, Prometheus dares to go against Zeus, the new absolute God. The clash between Prometheus and Zeus is frightening, unimaginable. It’s a real sacrificial crisis. Just like Jesus Christ, Prometheus suffers because of men, just like Him he’s subjected to an exemplary and unjust punishment.
The myth of Prometheus is the central theme of the entire western philosophy and culture and marks a crucial moment in human prehistory, where mankind lets go of darkness, fear and uncertainty to embrace the light, the future and a new era.
Fire, together with air and water, is one of the sacred elements, exclusive prerogative of the Gods. Only with fire can mortals really become men. Until then, they lived in darkness, ignorance and fear. Fire didn’t defeat death, but removed the fear of death. Knowledge, though, comes at a price and suffering is a precondition to attain it: that’s the only way to achieve progress. Zeus wants to annihilate mankind, the race of the ephemeral beings, insignificant parasites, whereas Prometheus, thanks to the gift of fire, wants to give them an opportunity.
Fire is the divine spark that makes everything possible, while lighting the way. The myth of Prometheus talks about us, the human condition and its frailty, its duplicity, its ambivalence and reminds us that precisely our ephemeral being is the ultimate sense of our condition. The misconception of identity, the illusion of the Ego, our desire for uniqueness, the will of shaping destiny and controlling the elements, they all fall apart confronted with the Gods’ world. Human greatness is risible and certainly not achieved through arrogance, but through a realistic understanding of the boundaries of human knowledge and power.
With great artistry, Aeschylus goes into depth and enlightens us; past and future, like arches of a sturdy bridge, support what unfolds on stage. Mankind, as depicted in Prometheus, is degraded, compromised and the Gods represent a world in decline, inevitably destined to come to an end. The tyrant will fall, eventually. Today’s man asks himself fundamental questions: will there be a future for humans or are we just faced with a catastrophic prospect? Which role do science and technology, today exclusively regarded as a beacon for the future, play in this catastrophe? What’s the price of progress? The loss of memory and identity? The degradation of our values and our inevitable transformation into consumers/consumables? What’s the relationship between man and God today, in such a difficult time of intolerance, racism and fundamentalism?
Prometheus is a borderline hero, the mediator between these two worlds, so different from each other. Man is a terrible creature. But even more terrible is the world of the Gods. A great master used to say that ancient writings are like the light emitted by bright stars that no longer exist. To update these literary works and try to find a direct correspondence at all costs would be like turning away from our modernity.
In this era of lost values and ideals, characterized by degradation and absolute superficiality, devoid of Gods and Titans and saturated with human arrogance, it is absolutely necessary to deal with ancient texts and try to interpret the light emitted by those stars that no longer exist, stop on the brink of the abyss and wait, gaze at the light and think about our future. For a moment. Just for a moment.