Prometheus Unbound

by

Percy Bysshe Shelley

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The Spirit of the Earth Character Analysis

The Spirit of the Earth is a childlike spirit who was very fond of Asia, Prometheus’s wife, before the corruption of Jupiter’s reign. She used to play with and confide in Asia, whom she called “mother.” During Jupiter’s reign, in which man’s relationship with nature was damaged, Asia notes that she has not seen the Spirit of the Earth. Once Prometheus is freed, Jupiter is toppled, and man’s harmonious relationship with nature is restored, the Spirit of the Earth is set free once more and runs careless and wild through the world. It is implied that the Spirit of the Earth is the child of Asia and Prometheus. This suggests that the union of knowledge, symbolized by Prometheus, and love, symbolized by Asia, creates greater communion with nature among mankind. The Spirit of the Earth is associated with appreciation of and freedom in nature, reflecting Shelley’s belief that time spent in nature was extremely important for man’s wellbeing.
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The Spirit of the Earth Character Timeline in Prometheus Unbound

The timeline below shows where the character The Spirit of the Earth appears in Prometheus Unbound. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 3, Scene 3
Knowledge and Freedom Theme Icon
Nature, Imagination, and the Sublime Theme Icon
The Earth calls up a childlike messenger, the Spirit of the Earth , to lead Prometheus, Asia, Panthea, and Ione to this cave, where there once was... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 4
Knowledge and Freedom Theme Icon
Christianity and Forgiveness  Theme Icon
Prometheus, Asia, Panthea, and Ione are gathered at their cave in the forest with the Spirit of the Earth . Panthea tells Ione how the Spirit of the Earth used to visit Asia often... (full context)
Knowledge and Freedom Theme Icon
Authority and Resistance Theme Icon
Christianity and Forgiveness  Theme Icon
Nature, Imagination, and the Sublime Theme Icon
  The Spirit of the Earth runs to Asia and expresses her love for her. The Spirit of the Earth then... (full context)
Christianity and Forgiveness  Theme Icon
Nature, Imagination, and the Sublime Theme Icon
Asia returns the Spirit of the Earth ’s affection and tells her that they will not separate until the “frozen and inconstant... (full context)
Act 4
Authority and Resistance Theme Icon
Nature, Imagination, and the Sublime Theme Icon
...“Aeolian modulations.” Panthea and Ione see a small, floating islet, around which a sleeping infant, the Spirit of the Earth , is being borne in a basket. They see a vision of all the emblems... (full context)