Prometheus Unbound


Percy Bysshe Shelley

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Prometheus Unbound: Act 3, Scene 1 Summary & Analysis

Jupiter, “on his throne in Heaven,” addresses a congregation of fellow deities to celebrate the fact that he is now “omnipotent” over everything in the world. The only thing that still evades his influence is the “soul of man, like unextinguished fire”—yet he assures the gods this is “soon to fall.” He tells them that he has produced an offspring, the Demogorgon, who will be more powerful even than himself. He hears the wheels of the chariot approaching and cries “Victory!”
Jupiter acknowledges that he has still not managed to subdue humanity’s spirit. This suggests that, although they lack the knowledge to challenge Jupiter’s reign, humanity still attempts to resist his rule. The reference to “fire” suggests that Prometheus’s influence and the memory of knowledge still lingers in their souls, although Jupiter’s reign has oppressed them. Jupiter believes that the Demogorgon, who is his child with the goddess Thetis, will be more powerful than himself and, therefore, will help him achieve total authority over the world.
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When the chariot of the Hour arrives, the Demogorgon steps out and approaches Jupiter, who is horrified by its appearance. The Demogorgon demands that Jupiter follow “him down into the abyss,” and the two plunge from Heaven; the Demogorgon dragging Jupiter down into his lair.
Jupiter is shocked when he sees the shapeless form of the Demogorgon because he realizes that the Demogorgon comes from the underworld and does not intend to join him in his power but to end his reign and take him to the underworld. Jupiter’s literal fall from heaven mirrors Satan’s fall from heaven in Christianity.
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