Tonight I went and saw a local production of the ancient Greek tragedy Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus. I really don’t intend to write this post as a theatre review, but I should point out that it was a very good show, and Kadek Hobman, who played Prometheus, absolutely nailed it. If you’re an adult reading this in Darwin any time before November 17th, then I recommend getting down to Brownsmart and seeing it. If you’re a child prodigy reading this anytime after 2047 in Sulaweyo, sorry you missed it. And if you’re a midget in Bangalore reading this anytime prior to April 7th 1873… kudos.
Aeschylus, it seems, really knew what he was doing in that thousands of years later, the themes that Prometheus expounds on as he is bound hand and foot to a rock at the end of the world ring as true today as they (presumably) did when Aeschylus was cutting edge and all the cool uni students were talking about how he was a visionary while they sat sipping anachronistic lattes at the forum and whinging about how the establishment would never understand them.
In the first place, while it may well be a symptom of my specific cultural perspective, I was struck by the parallels between Prometheus and Christ: The divine friend of humanity, showing compassion and teaching wisdom to the human race, only to be forsaken by the gods and then crucified (the English translation of the text actually used that word, interestingly, although obviously I don’t know what the term would have been in ancient Greek). It’s not unusual for plays about morality and justice to allude to Jesus, but it’s pretty cool when he shows up in plays written at least four hundred years before he was born.
More humanistically, and probably closer to what Aeschylus was on about, I really loved the way that Prometheus, the mythical benefactor of human knowledge and understanding, dealt with the fact that everything around him sucked. Afflicted with every imaginable humiliation, injustice and suffering, Prometheus has the choice to give in to despair and renounce his support of humanity, but even as he is bound to a rock by indestructible brass brackets and threatened with hungry eagles, he is still shouting his defiance and goading his tormentors to do their worst. The image of Kadek shaking the metal cross he was strapped to and yelling “I am one whom you cannot kill!” is going to stick with me all week.
So bollocks to it if my job sucks, my friend’s teeth are falling out, my uncle dies, the Australian cricket team gets bowled out for 47, my pile of job application rejections grows more pathetic daily, 2011 is basically a write off, girls are dumb and I’ve run out of yoghurt; I’m with Prometheus on this one.
I am one whom you cannot kill!
Garry with 2 Rs