The titan Prometheus (myth)

Prometheus chained
   In Greek mythology, Prometheus was one of the Titans, the giver of fire to man, and, according to some ac­counts, the creator of man. His name signi­fies forethought. He turned against Cro­nus and the Titans in their great battle with Zeus, enabling the latter to conquer. Zeus now began to arrange the universe to suit himself. First he separated the land from the sea. Then he made the mountains, val­leys, and plains, the rivers, lakes, and for­ests. Here he placed living birds, beasts, and fish, but he was still unsatisfied. Then Prometheus came to his aid again, and, kneading some earth and water together, created man. Later, so the legend runs, he became dissatisfied with the plans of Zeus for the destruction of mortals and the creation of a new race. Prometheus alone in the council of the gods was kind to man. He taught him the primitive arts that render human life possible. He assisted the children of men by conveying fire to them concealed in a hollow reed. For this act of insubordination Zeus caused him to be chained to a rock in the Caucasus, and send a vulture daily to tear open his vitals. As fast as Prometheus healed by night the vulture tore him open by day. Finally, however, Hercules killed the vulture and set Prometheus at liberty. He returned to Olympus and became the wise counsellor of the gods. Aeschylus, the great Grecian dramatist, made Prometheus the subject of three noted plays, one of which, Prometheus Bound, has been preserved entire. The steadfastness with which the hero of the play endures the agony to which he is sub­jected, his indomitable will, and his abso­lute refusal to bow at the nod of Zeus, excite the reader's admiration.