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Prometheus and Io Presentation by Nicol and Reba
Prometheus' Back Story Prometheus was a Titan, the son of Iapetus and Themis. He was given the task to create mankind. After forming men from clay, Prometheus fell in love with his accomplishment and tried to provide them with all he could. In a feast for men and the gods, Prometheus presented Zeus with bull bones wrapped in fat and a selection of beef hidden in an ox's stomach. Zeus was tricked into chosing the bones because they appeared more pleasing, and Prometheus gave the beef to mankind. In response, Zeus hid fire from mankind, which Prometheus promptly stole and gave back to men. This angered Zeus, who instructed Hephaestus to form Pandora, the first woman, out of clay. Pandora was sent to live with men as a curse. Zeus also had Prometheus chained to a rock in Caucasus where an eagle ate his liver out every day. Image by Elsie Russell. Oil on linen (1994).Elsie Russell
Io’s Back Story Io was a Naiad nymph and an unfortunate object of Zeus' affection. He appeared to her in dreams, asking for her virginity. When her father sought advice from prophets on what to do about these dreams, he was told to banish Io from his house or face the wrath of Zeus. Zeus wrapped the earth in heavy clouds in an attempt to protect himself and Io from his jealous wife Hera. When his first plan didn't work, Zeus turned Io into a cow, but Hera still demanded that Zeus and Io be separated. Hera placed Io under the control of Argus, the shepherd with hundreds of eyes. Argus was able to watch Io even when he slept. Zeus, who still felt strongly for Io, sent Hermes to kill Argus. Hermes was successful, and Io was able to place Argus' eyes on the peacock, her favorite bird. After Io was set free, Hera sent a gadfly to torment Io, along with the ghost of Argus, while Io wandered.
Prometheus and Io’s Encounter In her wanderings, Io met Prometheus. He addressed her by name and Io demanded to know who Prometheus was and why he was being punished in such a cruel way. After he explained his story, Prometheus foretold Io’s future, saying she will wander as far east as Asia, and eventually south through Africa. Io then complained to Prometheus about being a cow, but Prometheus consoled her, explaining her punishment is far less than his, and that at the end of her wanderings in Africa, Zeus will change her back into a human and impregnate her. Prometheus, on the other hand, explains he must suffer until Heracles, a descendent of Io known for his archery, frees Prometheus. Finally, Prometheus tells Io that one of Zeus’ sons will overthrow Zeus, unless he is warned first. Only Prometheus has the knowledge to warn Zeus, but he shows little intrest in protecting the god.
The Story of Intertwining Destiny The story of Prometheus and Io is told by Aeschylus in his play “Prometheus Bound.” It is a story about intertwining destiny and fate. Stories based in fate were especially popular in superstitious and religious communities such as the Greeks and Romans, but are still present today. Prometheus and Io are connected in multiple ways. They are both victims of Zeus’ passion: Prometheus of his rage and Io of his love. Both are punished unfairly by Zeus, who is portrayed as a tyrant. In order to be freed, Prometheus relies on Io’s descendant Heracles. Once freed, Prometheus alone is able to prevent Zeus’ downfall by warning Zeus which lover will carry the son who will overthrow Zeus himself. This links Prometheus and Io in the ability to either cause or prevent Zeus’ downfall. If Io’s descendant, Heracles, frees Prometheus, Prometheus can either warn Zeus to stay away from that woman, or withhold the information. Zeus also functions as a savior for both Prometheus and Io. At the end of her wanderings, Io will be returned to her human form by Zeus, who then impregnates her. Heracles is a descendant of Io and Zeus, meaning Zeus had a hand in creating the man who rescues Prometheus. In broader terms, Prometheus and Io did not meet just to idly converse. The two characters are linked by both past and future events in which they play a significant role.
Intertwining Fates in other Texts Odysseus’ quest in “The Odyssey” is filled with fate and prophecy. In book nine of the epic poem, Odysseus blinds the Cyclops Polyphemus, who then prays to his father Poseidon asking, “ ‘If I really am your son and you claim to be my father--come, grant that Odysseus…never reaches home. Or if he’s fated to see his people once again and reach his well-built house and his own native country, let him come home late and come a broken man--all shipmates lost, alone in a stranger’s ship--and let him find a world of pain at home!’ ” Poseidon hears the prayer, and throughout the book the Cyclops’ wish is slowly but surely granted. Odysseus’ return home is delayed ten years by conflict after conflict. The series of trials breaks Odysseus down slowly; eventually he reaches the point where he prays for his own death. Along his way, the Cyclops’ prayer is also uttered as a prophecy. Both the prophet blind Teiresias and the nymph Circe warn Odysseus that he will lose his entire crew (meaning he will return home alone as the Cyclops wished) if any of Helios’ cattle are harmed. When they are, Odysseus loses his entire in a storm. The same storm washes him to the nymph Calypso’s island, from where the gods are able to send him to the Phaeacians. Odysseus returns home to Ithaca alone in the Phaeacian’s ship. In Ithaca, the world of pain he finds is a houseful of suitors desperately trying to woo his wife while literally devouring his estate. Odysseus’ fate is ultimately tied to the Cyclops Polyphemus. By blinding the Cyclops, Odysseus angered Poseidon. While Polyphemus’ fate is immediate and Odysseus’ story had ten more years to unfold, both had a profound impact on each other’s future.