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Prometheus Bound (Greek Tragedy in New Translations) Reprint Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195061659
ISBN-10: 0195061659
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"I love the introduction, translation, and notes. Very well informed and stimulating."--John Lenz, Drew University

"The notes and introduction are excellent and the translation itself is clear and effective."--E. Christian Kopff, University of Colorado

"A fine translation."--Betty Nye Quinn, Mount Holyoke College

"Glossary and appendix very helpful. I like the remarks on staging in the introduction."--Patricia P. Matsen, University of South Carolina

"It would be hard to fault this extremely forceful translation, cogent introduction and helpful notes - I look forward to tackling other works in this series."--Jan Gorais, University of Denver

Language Notes

Text: English, Greek (translation)
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Product Details

  • Series: Greek Tragedy in New Translations
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; Reprint edition (February 1, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195061659
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195061659
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.3 x 5.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #122,595 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is a stunningly modern translation of The Prometheus Bound. James Scully, the poet-translator, has done the impossible, he's turned one of the world's oldest dramas into a can't-put-it-down pageturner. If you've never read the Prometheus or read it and found it dull and archaic, read this translation. Additionally, there's a fascinating discussion at the end of what territory the next two plays in the Prometheus trilogy probably covered and this includes all the fragments of the other two plays that have been found. It was a great loss to Western Civilization when the rest of the trilogy failed to survive the Dark Ages for all the fragments hint that, where the play we have is pure defiance, Prometheus as the lone rebel against tyranny, the trilogy as a whole was about reconciliation, the ability for irreconciliable opposites to come to terms with each other without surrender or compromise. Still, even without that, the play we have gives an overwhelming image of the unbreakable human spirit and that alone makes it well worth reading. Prometheus Bound in a good translation is a must read.
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Format: Paperback
This is a review of Mark Griffith's commentary on Prometheus Bound for the Cambridge green and yellow series. I found this book to be an exceptionally useful commentary in that it provides a very sophisticated and comprehensive analysis of the play at the same time that it prioritizes making the Greek comprehensible for the reader. In practical terms, this means that lengthy notes about textual variants, intertextual connections, and mythological parallels are often paired with straightforward explanations of grammatical concepts and helpful renderings of particularly difficult sentences into idiomatic English or sometimes into more literal "translation-ese". The commentary also eschews the irritating practice of discussing rare or obscure words while expecting the reader to look up their meaning in a dictionary. The vast majority of such words are in fact defined by Griffith in the commentary proper.

Prometheus' place in mythology and the play's relationship with the mythological tradition are treated in great detail throughout the commentary, as are metrical issues and questions about the original staging of the play. There is also a 25 page appendix that collects the fragments of the putative trilogy of which Prometheus Bound was a part and analyzes them. There is ample discussion of bibliography and scholarship on the play, but this only goes up to 1982 when the commentary was published.

The Prometheus Bound is something of an anomaly in the corpus of extant Greek Tragedies given its somewhat unique style and its sometimes disputed authorship, and perhaps for this reason Griffith seems to avoid interpreting it through the lens of an entirely Aeschylean worldview and poetic program.
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Format: Paperback
Herington's introduction, notes, and appendix (on fragments of other "Prometheus" plays) skillfully make accessible a great deal of useful information. The translation is for the most part an accurate, yet poetically alive, rendering of the Greek, but it is marred by a number of false notes: inept colloquialism in the speeches of Cratos ("The Boss checks everything out"), allusions (already dated) to recent American history (Hermes is "'special assistant" to the "Chief-of-State," Zeus; Oceanus tells Prometheus "you don't keep your profile low enough"); the distracting use of capitals for emphasis ("It's FATE! your FATE!"); the affectation of ending the play with Prometheus's last outcry "going back into the Greek it has come out of." It is more serious that the poetic form used almost completely obscures the division of the play into spoken and sung elements: a translator of Greek tragedy has lost a major battle when only the stage-directions mark the difference between rhesis and melos. Despite these lapses, this version of the "Prometheus Bound" deserves to be welcomed as an honest and often successful attempt at poetic translation.
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Format: Paperback
Title: Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus, translated by James Scully and C. John Herington

Pages: 117 total. The play itself consists of about 54 pages.

Time spent on the "to read" shelf: A year or two.

Days spent reading it: 1 day.

Why I read it: I actually liked the Greek tragedies we read in High School. I also think that Prometheus is an interesting character, so I thought this play might be interesting.

Brief review:
I really liked this play. In the beginning of the story Prometheus is bound by Hephaistos to a rock to serve as his punishment for giving mankind fire. Prometheus has a number of conversations with people as they wander by in their travels. These make up the major movements of the play.

The themes of his conversations include: Suffering, usurping power, tyranny, human culture, hope, civil disobedience, restoration, fate, brute force vs. cunning thought, and a host of other themes.

Some interesting elements about Prometheus in Greek mythology:

Prometheus is the god who stole fire from Zeus and gave it to humanity. Fire seems to also include self awareness and human culture, because that's what else Prometheus claims to have given to mankind. Prometheus also claims mankind once foresaw their own deaths, but that he overcame their visions by giving them the gift of hope.

Prometheus Bound is apparently a part of a trilogy. We only have scraps from what was perhaps the sequel, Prometheus Unbound. It is a shame that we will never see the full story arch that Aeschylus prepared for Prometheus.

I enjoyed this short play. If you enjoy Greek drama, this is a must read. If you do not appreciate Greek drama, this one will probably not warm your hearts to it.
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