Prometheus Unbound

  • W. B. Yeats


When i was a young man I Wrote two essays calling Shelley’s dominant symbol the Morning Star, his poetry the poetry of desire.1 I had meant to explain Prometheus Unbound, but some passing difficulty turned me from a task that began to seem impossible. What does Shelley mean by Demogorgon? It lives in the centre of the earth, the sphere of Parmenides, perhaps, in a darkness that sends forth ‘rays of gloom’ as ‘light from the meridian sun’; it names itself ‘eternity.’ When it has succeeded Jupiter, ‘the supreme of living things,’ as he did Saturn, when it and Jupiter have gone to lie ‘henceforth in darkness,’ Prometheus is set free, Nature purified. Shelley the political revolutionary expected miracle, the Kingdom of God in the twinkling of an eye, like some Christian of the first century. He had accepted Berkeley’s philosophy as expounded in Sir William Drummond’s Academical Questions.


Living Thing English Poetry Herent Structure Political Revolutionary Divine Purpose 
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© Mrs W. B. Yeats 1961

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  • W. B. Yeats

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