Saturday, October 1, 2011


When I first heard about Promethea, even before we started reading it, I immediately thought of Prometheus of ancient Greek mythology. So the story goes, Prometheus was a Titan god who was ordered by Zeus to create man out of clay, but when he stole fire from the gods as a gift to man, he was punished by being chained to a rock, to have his liver eaten by an eagle every day. ( This doesn't seem to have a direct correlation to Promethea, but there still are similar themes between the two. Prometheus was a sort of savior to the human race, and was known for his creativity - "Prometheus…saved the human race from destruction (Prom. 228, 233). He deprived them of their knowledge of the future, and gave them hope instead (248, &c.). He further taught them the use of fire, made them acquainted with architecture, astronomy, mathematics, the art of writing, the treatment of domestic animals, navigation, medicine, the art of prophecy, working in metal, and all the other arts." Again, Promethea did very different things for the human race, but she was still a savior in a sense, bringing wisdom and creativity to the people and even sometimes saving them, like Grace in World War I. A prominent contrast, on the other hand, is that Promethea is prophesied to end the world, while Prometheus in essence brought about the beginning of the world. I don't know whether or not Prometheus influenced the idea of Promethea all that much, although she does have some influence in Greek mythology, but it is interesting to compare them.


  1. Update: Upon reading further, Prometheus actually IS a precursor to Promethea! There is a scene in issue #7 in which Bill discusses this with Sophie, saying "You're not the first to try touching the mortal clay with the flame of the immortal soul. You're not the first fire-bringer," which is a very clear allusion. There is even a panel showing Prometheus himself chained to the rock with the eagle about to eat his liver.

  2. I think it's interesting that Promethea was named after Prometheus, considering how his story ends in such pain for him. Maybe this was Alan Moore's way of making his story have a better ending.

  3. It is a very interesting allusion since she was definitely a martyr whose main mission was to enlighten the world just as Prometheus had done in Greek mythology.


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