Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Percy Bysshe Shelley's Prometheus Unbound. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
Prometheus Unbound: Introduction
Prometheus Unbound: Plot Summary
Prometheus Unbound: Detailed Summary & Analysis
Prometheus Unbound: Themes
Prometheus Unbound: Quotes
Prometheus Unbound: Characters
Prometheus Unbound: Symbols
Prometheus Unbound: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of Percy Bysshe Shelley
Historical Context of Prometheus Unbound
Other Books Related to Prometheus Unbound
- Full Title: Prometheus Unbound
- When Written: 1818
- Where Written: Italy
- When Published: 1820
- Literary Period: Romanticism
- Genre: Epic poetry
- Setting: A mountain and a valley in the Indian Caucuses, the underground realm of the Demogorgon, and Heaven.
- Climax: Prometheus, a Titan who has been bound to a mountain for all eternity by the tyrant Jupiter as punishment for giving humanity fire, is freed by Hercules, fulfilling a prophecy which predicts the end of Jupiter’s authoritarian reign over Earth and which frees humanity from the bonds of ignorance, suffering, and mortality.
- Antagonist: Jupiter
Extra Credit for Prometheus Unbound
Julian and Maddalo. In 1818, the same year that he wrote Prometheus Unbound, Shelley spent a great deal of time in Italy with his close friend and fellow author Lord Byron. The pair discussed the social, political, and aesthetic subjects which feature in Prometheus Unbound, as well as in Byron’s own epic poems. Shelley chronicled these discussions with Byron in his poem Julian and Maddalo, about two friends who explore Venice while discussing social causes.
Ireland. Shelley visited Ireland in 1812, when Ireland was under British rule, and was horrified by the poor living conditions he saw. He wrote a pamphlet entitled “An Address to the Irish People,” which he sold at a low price and distributed by throwing copies of it from his balcony. This was seen as an act of extreme rebellion by the British government, who were interested in uniting Ireland under British rule, and gained Shelley a reputation as an anti-establishment figure.