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实用英语口语(高等级) 31.The myth of prometheus

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NEW AGE ARTIST:追求知识从某种程度上是被禁止的,那么试图找到知识就是毁灭性的。这一点已经成为从普罗米修斯到弗兰肯斯坦、从浮士德博士到奥本海默这些文学作品永恒的主题。 The myth of Prometheus has influenced western literature for over 2000 years. Why? In Greek myth, Prometheus created Man from clay, against the wishes of Zeus. He further angered Zeus by stealing fire by lighting a torch from the Chariot of the Sun and taking hot coals to Man.

NEW AGE ARTIST:Writers and painters throughout history have used the Promethean myth as an allusion to make two distinct points: the quest for forbidden knowledge and the strength to resist oppression. Let's consider a few writers who took Prometheus as a theme to discuss the pursuit of knowledge and where it can lead. The myth first appeared in the Greek epic poem 'Theogony', written by Hesiod around 700 BC, where Prometheus appears as an upstart trickster who steals fire from the gods. 'Prometheus' means 'foresight' and in Hesiod's account, 'foresight' is doomed to get the better of Heaven and so,

NEW AGE ARTIST:to punish his insolence, he is chained to a rock where his liver is plucked out and eaten daily by an eagle for all eternity. In Hesiod, the story reinforces the theodicy of Zeus, who is wise and just, whilst Prometheus, in over reaching for knowledge that wasn't his to take, is to blame for humanity's sorry condition. Aeschylus, 5th Century Greek tragedian, while telling the same story, has a different angle. For him, Prometheus, as well as the bringer of fire and civilization to Man, is also their preserver. Zeus had intended to destroy humanity and create a new race.

NEW AGE ARTIST:So in this version Prometheus symbolizes resistance to oppression. Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus, was written by Mary Shelley and was published in eighteen eighteen. Victor Frankenstein is the name of the scientist who creates the monster. Victor, just like Prometheus, arrogantly assumed the power to act as a Creator with no regard for the potential consequences. In his quest for knowledge he over reaches the limitations of human wisdom and like Prometheus, is punished.

NEW AGE ARTIST:Prometheus and Victor rebel against the laws of nature and are punished with the loss of life and liberty whilst Frankenstein's creation rails against his own existence. Mary Shelley's reworking of the Prometheus myth can be interpreted as an allusion to the heedlessness and irresponsibility of Man's pursuit of knowledge at the expense of wisdom. I think the Promethean myth retains its power as an allusion, in our technological age, because the point being made is an ethical one: in our quest for knowledge, are we forgetting our moral obligations to also use this knowledge wisely?


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