Prometheus Unbound: A Romantic Rewriting of a Classical Myth

Ghadeer Al-Hasan, Shadi Neimneh

Abstract


This paper examines Shelley’s merit in recreating a wellknown myth, which is adapted to fi t his philosophical and Romantic outlook. Inspired by the French Revolution, the revolutionary fervor of Shelley’s age should determine the interpretation of Prometheus Unbound as an advocacy of rebellion against all forms of tyrannical authority enslaving humans’ souls and minds and limiting their imagination and potential. In dramatizing Prometheus’s suffering and moral regeneration, Shelley suggests that rebellion is fi rst and foremost an internal act, in which an individual must take the full responsibility of reforming the self by rejecting submission to all forms of evil. In other words, Shelley seems to stress the autonomy of the individual’s will and its power in changing society. The ending of the play expresses Shelley’s apocalyptic vision of the world yet his belief in the promise of a new order initiated by man.

Key words: Shelley; Prometheus Unbound; Romanticism; Myth; Drama; Criticism

Résumé Cet article examine le mérite de Shelley à recréer un mythe bien connu, qui est conçu pour s’adapter son point de vue philosophique et romantique. Inspiré par la Révolution française, la ferveur révolutionnaire de l’âge de Shelley doit déterminer l’interprétation de Prometheus Unbound comme un plaidoyer de rébellion contre toutes les formes de l’autorité tyrannique asservissement âmes des humains et les esprits et de limiter leur imagination et leur potentiel. En dramatisant les souffrances de Prométhée et de la régénération morale, Shelley suggère que la rébellion est d’abord et avant tout un acte interne, dans laquelle une personne doit prendre l’entière responsabilité de la réforme de l’auto en rejetant la soumission à toutes les formes du mal. En d’autres termes, Shelley semble souligner l’autonomie de la volonté de l’individu et son pouvoir de changer la société. La fi n de la pièce exprime la vision apocalyptique de Shelley du monde encore sa croyance en la promesse d’un nouvel ordre lancé par l’homme.

Mots clés: Shelley; Prometheus Unbound; Le romantisme; Mythe; Drame; Critique


Keywords


Shelley; Prometheus Unbound; Romanticism; Myth; Drama; Criticism



DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968%2Fj.ccc.1923670020120802.1388

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