Prometheus Unbound Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1820

Type of work: Play

Type of plot: Allegory

Time of work: Remote antiquity

Locale: Asia

Characters DiscussedPrometheus

Prometheus Prometheus Unbound (proh-MEE-thee-uhs), a Titan punished by Jupiter for having befriended humankind. He is chained to a rocky cliff for three thousand years while eagles tear at his heart, but he will not repudiate the curse he has pronounced on Jupiter. Aided by spirits and gods, Prometheus finally is unbound. His freedom heralds an age of sweetness and light for humankind.


Jupiter (JEW-pih-tur), the chief of the gods, who has had Prometheus bound to the cliff. As Prometheus is released, Jupiter loses his power and falls, impotent, into darkness.


Demogorgon (dee-muh-GOHR-guhn), the supreme god and ruler of all gods, who finally reverses prevailing circumstances, thus causing Jupiter’s downfall and Prometheus’ release from torment.


Panthea (PAN-thee-ah) and


Ione (i-OH-nee), two Oceanids. Panthea and Asia, Prometheus’ wife, learn from Demogorgon that Prometheus will be set free. They are Demogorgon’s interlocutors as he explains what will come to pass on Earth.


Herakles (HEHR-uh-kleez), the hero famous for his strength. Herakles, before spirits friendly to Prometheus, releases the captive from his bonds and torment.


Mercury (MUR-kyew-ree), the messenger of the gods, sent by Jupiter to Prometheus to learn from the captive how long Jupiter will reign.


Earth, Prometheus’ mother.


Asia, Prometheus’ wife.

Phantasma of Jupiter

Phantasma of Jupiter (fan-TAZ-mah), a wraith who appears to Prometheus to repeat for him the forgotten curse he had put on Jupiter.

The Furies

The Furies, agents of torment who go with Mercury to punish further the bound Titan.

The Spirit of the Hour

The Spirit of the Hour, one of a group of Hours, figures who move in Demogorgon’s realm to show the passing of time by Age, Manhood, Youth, Infancy, and Death. The Spirit of the Hour announces Prometheus’ release to all of humankind and describes the pleasant things that will occur on Earth now that the Titan is free.

Bibliography:Baker, Carlos. Shelley’s Major Poetry: The Fabric of a Vision. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1948. An introductory survey of Shelley’s most important writings in verse, this standard work includes a chapter and an appendix on the poem.Cameron, Kenneth Neill. Shelley: The Golden Years. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1974. In part a biography, this survey of Shelley’s work from 1814 to 1822 analyzes all of his important poetry and culminates with a two-chapter discussion of the poem.King-Hele, Desmond. Shelley: The Man and the Poet. New York: Yoseloff, 1960. Shelley’s evident interest in science is explored.Shelley, Percy Bysshe. Prometheus Unbound: A Variorum Edition. Edited by John Lawrence Zillman. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1959. Offers a full text of the poem and line-by-line commentary on it. There are also eight appendices, including “The Prometheus Story Before Shelley.”Wasserman, Earl R. Shelley’s “Prometheus Unbound”: A Critical Reading. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1965. An example of close reading and profound thought, Wasserman’s philosophical interpretation of Prometheus Unbound defends the poem’s fundamental unity.
Categories: Characters