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The myth of Prometheus - Iseult Gillespie

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Before the creation of humanity, the Greek gods won a great battle against a race of giants called the Titans. Most Titans were destroyed or driven to the eternal hell of Tartarus. But the Titan Prometheus, whose name means foresight, persuaded his brother Epimetheus to fight with him on the side of the Gods. Iseult Gillespie shares the myth of Prometheus.

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TED-Ed Original lessons feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed original? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Iseult Gillespie
  • Director Léa Krawczyk
  • Animator Léa Krawczyk
  • Character Designer Léa Krawczyk
  • Storyboard Artist Léa Krawczyk
  • Sound Designer Stephen LaRosa
  • Composer Stephen LaRosa
  • Associate Producer Jessica Ruby
  • Content Producer Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Producer Alex Rosenthal
  • Narrator Addison Anderson

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Additional Resources for you to Explore
The term “Promethean” denotes creativity, rebellion and expansion of the mind in the spirit of the wiley Titan. In Greek mythology, Prometheus assumes an important position as not only the creator of humans but the figure who allowed humans to progress. With fire, humans could expand their abilities and extend their influence. To an ancient Greek culture that valued knowledge and innovation, Prometheus therefore became a figure who symbolized humans’ capacity for greatness. Learn more about ancient Greek society and culture here and here.

But Prometheus is an attractive idea far beyond the classical age - Prometheus appears across music, poetry, and pop culture. This piece considers the role of Prometheus in literature. You can click here for information on depiction of Prometheus in painting.

For the Romantics, Prometheus was especially appealing as a renegade figure who sacrificed himself for the sake of expanding all minds. You can learn more about the Romantics and Prometheus here. Two famous examples of Romantic poetry that speculate on the plight of Prometheus are Percy Bysshe Shelley’s "Prometheus Unbound" and Lord Byron’s "Prometheus".

The story of Prometheus follows a pattern about the evolution of human progress that is echoed in many other world mythologies. These tales often involve a trickster figure who acts as a mediator between divine and mortal, ultimately stealing fire from the Gods and thus unlocking the secret of human advancement. See this wikipedia entry on a range of myths about the theft of fire from across the globe. And on the international stage today, a symbol of Prometheus’ rebellion still burns brightly: The Olympic Flame, which burns for the duration of the games.

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About TED-Ed Originals

TED-Ed Original lessons feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed original? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Iseult Gillespie
  • Director Léa Krawczyk
  • Animator Léa Krawczyk
  • Character Designer Léa Krawczyk
  • Storyboard Artist Léa Krawczyk
  • Sound Designer Stephen LaRosa
  • Composer Stephen LaRosa
  • Associate Producer Jessica Ruby
  • Content Producer Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Producer Alex Rosenthal
  • Narrator Addison Anderson

Share

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