Chorus of Male Prophets
Fates (Clotho, Lachesis, Atropos)
Many years have passed
Since I have last seen Prometheus.
It was shortly after the assent of Zeus
To the ever cloud crowned Olympian peak
And the quick descent of then King of the Gods
Cronos into a heavily-chained imprisonment.
He scandalized divine eyes by
Stealing the secret to fire
And giving it to humans
Imploring him to impart the un-ciphered
Content of the prophecy that would topple Zeus,
I left Prometheus after being unfairly admonished,
With no knowledge of what “marriage’
Would produce a child that would
Annihilate the Olympian dynasty
And assert himself as the Supreme ruler.
We Olympians have been in a state of apprehension
As our Master roams the Earth
Leaving his seed in any attractive girl
And we are unable to say anything to the King about it
Or we risk being hit with his thunder stick.
Accordingly, Zeus’s cow eyed wife
Tries to destroy the lives of all of these
Public indiscretions and their children
Out of rebellious fear masked as jealousy.
Recently, in one such case, Heracles,
Divine son of Zeus and Alcmena,
Strangled the giant snakes that Hera sent
To dispatch the boy.
So now this child
Who still sucks at his mother’s nipple has caused a ripple
In the Gods and Goddesses calm that have since
Long interpreted Prometheus’ prophecy as
An impotent end of ever-unsettling revenge.
I go to ask him again, the child of Earth,
What his prophecy means.
I go to discover the power of this new demigod
And whether or not he will conquer us all.
I leave for where Prometheus was left
A thousand years ago, in unbreakable chains
On the Scythian mountain range.
(Exit Hermes to the left.)
Our tongues have been taken!
Our actions are no longer our own!
We watch what is going on around us
In horror yet we are helpless
To prevent it!
We are like cows fenced in
And forced to walk to the sacrificial
Altar by a brass tipped prod.
We smell the death emanating from the stone
We know what is in store.
We come from all over,
From Attica, the land of Justice
and Boetia, Thessaly and Argolis.
From Laconia and Messinia
Crete and Eastern-shored Ionia.
From Thebes, a city rich with famous kings
From Colchis, the place where Jason won his Golden Fleece
And from Troy, where Agamemmnon earned his great reward
We all arrived at the same time in
Dodona then traveled together on to Delphi
The Apollonian prophets there have proven mere wind,
Fraud is found in all oracles other than ourselves.
Their tongues become dumb,
All the palm leaves fall off the trees
And disintegrate into dust in mere moments
While we chant words unheard of before,
Songs in celebration of a coming new age
That is actually old, the beautiful age of Gold.
The priests there tried to beat us but ended up drunk
On an invisible liquor and puking blood as they got nearer to us,
And immediately passed out on the ground.
They were then surrounded by darkness,
That was much blacker than cloud shade
And then they disappeared as if they were
Never there to begin with.
Since then we have been walking
And wondering whose orders that we heed.
Already our feet bleed from our long journey
But we are still driven to move on even more.
Now we walk in a wilderness without footprint
In the remotest regions of the Scythians.
There is a figure up ahead
Pitiable in appearance of pain
Locked in chains to a rock,
Half -black from the fiery sun.
For one must surely be such
To be punished thus
Tell us your offense,
Your name and lineage
For blessedly our feet now rest
So there must be some purpose
To our encounter that goes beyond
The bounds of our understanding.
(The chorus moves into a wide circle around Prometheus)
Of all those countless who have experienced suffering
Only my brother Atlas could perhaps match me.
I am Prometheus, son of Iapetus and Gaea
And my crime is defying Zeus
Out of love and benevolence to my own creation, man.
For this I am bound to this rock to burn in the sun
And every night when the moon starts to soothe my flesh
An eagle comes to slash through my stomach
And eat my immortal liver.
However much pain I have felt,
Not once have I cried out
Due to injury or the injustice of it all,
I knew what I was doing all along
And if given the chance would repeat my actions again.
We have heard your story before
When still little children and
Unfamiliar with the ways of the polis.
We then thought, very silently for fear of invoking Zeus’s wrath,
That you were really in the right for helping us humans.
Now, we cannot help but wonder if the price paid
For the help you gave was perhaps too high.
With the introduction of suffering it sometimes
Makes a man want to die before his line
Has been cut by Atropos.
But tell us, how,
Though uneducated, we have your art of prophecy
Though ignorant of where you were, we are here.
Why were we specifically chosen?
Sometimes there is no real reason in reason. You were chosen, that is all.
Then will you tell us why you brought us here. We’ve seen visions but can’t comprehend them completely.
It wasn’t I who called you here, as for your insight all will soon be clear.
Very well, we will ask of it no more. But tell us, please, what is now in store.
Don’t concern yourself with what is to be, what isn’t real. Tell me of your suffering.
Surely you know what happened after we humans were given fire from you?
I’ve heard the tale told by my lone friend. For that alone I’ve wept while kept chained to this rock.
Then what would you like to hear?
How it is that the gift of life was turned into a curse. What are the ills that ail you?
Those that Pandora brought with her:
Before we had true communal love,
Now people fight over mere objects like dogs,
They lord over each other and the fruit of the earth
Like they were the one who gave it birth,
And thus decide how to reprimand or reward
Those that don’t or do as they wish.
The rich think they are different from the rest and
That it is all right not to pay for work,
Or to give a small sliver of what it is worth.
Before there was no inequality, all was harmony.
There was no fighting no war or other violent competition
Everything was peaceful and happy cooperation.
But Pandora, the cause of our first suffering,
Deemed that this was not enough to punish us
For no crime of our own.
She made more in her image
To efface our smiles into grimaces.
For now I will say only that all these problems are not Pandora’s fault.
By your generations of suffering I am hurt to the core as much as you are.
Continue on and I will say more about her later.
Once there was a time when we could sleep and dream
And harvest the free giving wilds whenever we wanted
With contentment amidst natures abundance,
And in our oversupply of free time do whatever we willed,
Now we have to be out in the fields
Tilling from daybreak till dawn
With a hurt heart, shoulders and back
That we fix with wine.
Ah, to think that once one needed not more than deep inhalation
To feel that same intoxication.
Worry not my friends, you still have a golden soul
That one day will take control over your course
And steer you away from those jagged rocks.
Your persistent suffering and promising speech now wins us to your side,
Tell us when we will return to this state.
I will in a moment, but by that step
I can hear my friend approaching.
(Hephaestus enters stage right)
What is this? Only those divine should able to find this place of unjust punishment.
Zeus made invisible mirrors all around here so that no human should try to unbind or solace mankind’s best friend and creator, yet before me I see not one but twelve.
This god does not seem pleased that we are here
And is not joyful in welcoming us
Like this one does with ever open arms.
We shall stay silent until all is right.
Have no fear Hephaestus they are meant to be here.
These twelve prophets portent
My release from this craggy rock.
A thousand years after I unwillingly did
Zeus’s dirty work by shackling you with adamantine chains
You’ll be free as a horse on a fenceless range.
But, tell me, how are these blessed humans going to undo
My loveless labor. Despite the impotent dissent and curses I uttered
While working my craft on this summit, it is a blacksmith’s masterpiece
And to get free would require the strength of an immortal.
I have often thought it my obligation to liberate you
But fear of the fist and the lightning bolt of aegis bearing Zeus
Whose eyes see all turns me into a coward that
Only says words in protest.
Whenever I visit you, kind-hearted Prometheus, I
Ask you for forgiveness for the crime I participated in.
It is the rite of a perverted religion,
A god imploring another god for wrongs committed.
But regardless I will lament again that act I did
Of locking you up for benevolence
And ask you for your absolution…
And as always I must refuse,
While saying not to weep for me, and that all was Necessity’s fault.
One cannot ever throw off one’s responsibility
By blaming transgressions on the orders of others.
However your case is a rare exception and that
Is why I still consider you my friend;
You have kept me company, devotedly visiting me everyday,
And amused me with other iron forged art works.
You keep me informed of the Olympian’s goings on
And wipe the sweat of my blackened brow
So the salty water doesn’t go in my eye.
As for me being unbound,
It shall not be them but someone else that frees me,
I cannot yet say who.
Will it be the great descendant of Io?
The child of Alcmena and Zeus?
All the Olympians are abuzz with what baby
Heracles has done with Hera’s slithering henchmen.
If he wanted to take over the throne then it would surely help
To have one as smart and able as you by his side.
It was your strategy that enabled Zeus to beat the Titans,
It was you who healed Zeus when severely hurt by Typhoeus
And deep fountain of wisdom that you are, then told him to bury
The flaming monster under a mountain in order to best him.
It was you who played midwife when Zeus was paralyzed in pain
By splitting open his brain with an axe to let his daughter Athena out.
(Hermes enters unseen from the side)
Surely Heracles is the one who will come to rescue you from Zeus,
Whom you have helped so much only to be paid in hurt.
What is this talk I hear of you being released
With out the approval of all-powerful Zeus!
Speak quickly or I shall immediately return to the aegis bearer
In order to inform him of the rebellion brewing.
Also explain how these humans
Managed to get here without my direction.
I am the helper and foiler of all travelers
And there should be no way they could,
Without my help, here arrive.
You, Hermes Psychopompos, are not the sole guide.
I see, Prometheus after all this time you still have not learned any prudence and your pride still rules.
There is a pride that comes from righteousness in the face of utmost adversity.
This is not a fault but a strength. Not that I expect someone as spineless and inexperienced as yourself to understand what I mean. You would do anything if threatened, even if it was the most degrading or unjust act. Your servile humility disgusts me.
How it is that someone as shameful as yourself,
The one in this equation that is convicted for his injustice,
Can dare try to disgrace me is beyond me.
Has not the blistering sun or Zeus’s bird
Taught you your errors.
No, they have made me stronger in my convictions.
What a strange strength that you have,
It is no quality that I would want.
But enough, I go back to what has brought me here
And what I have heard in stealth makes me fear the
Answers to the questions I shall now ask you.
Know, also, that I am here on direct command from Zeus
And that if you fail to answer me you shall feel his wrath directly.
Is Heracles the child that you prophesized would
Take over the throne of cloud gathering Zeus?
Is he the cause of the ills that ails Apollo shoots a far?
And, now that I know you will soon be freed, tell me how it is to be.
Answer clearly you wily schemer, hold back your prophetic poetry,
Speak the detailed truth in speech that I can understand.
Your threats are meaningless, to one such as myself
Who has already suffered so much for the Truth.
I answer only to one and my service to them is ultimate.
I will answer none of your questions,
Stating only that I know what the Fates have in store
And that by the time your precious archon arrives he will not be able to hurt me.
Very well, rebellious one, soon you will be broken by the bit
And your knowledge will flow out of your mouth as fast as a bird.
(Hermes exits, Hephaestus starts to go after him)
Stop! Do not go after him. He is too fast and you have yet a task you need to complete for me.
I am already in trouble and you would have me be in more?
Wait, perhaps I will.
Am I the hero that is to free you?
It would make a great stage play,
The one who tied you up is the one who freed you.
If you tell me the other prophecy is a ruse
And the real one is that I help you, I will do it.
No, you are not the one who releases me.
All I ask is that you go to your workshop
And when asked for help by someone, give it to them no matter what.
Very well, that is simple enough.
The times are changing
And we the ones who’ll make it.
To not sing would be the sting,
Our voices desire to be heard,
It comes from us uncalled
All who hear us will want to sing along
And if they deny their desire they won’t live long:
Something is dying tonight
And in it’s void there’ll be new light.
We’ve burnt every candle
And extinguished every fear
We’ve waited for this time for ages
And now that time is here
Something is dying tonight
But in the oncoming darkness we see lamplight.
Something is dying
Something is dying inside of me
In spite of me
We now see,
In our hands and tongues is placed a power greater than their hold
Greater than the might of armies magnified a thousand-fold
We can bring to birth a new world from the ashes of the old
We can live in lasting harmony like the precious days of Gold.
Our life was once made up of misery
Always decrying our lack
Cold, forlorn, lonely and hungry,
We’ll dump the burden off our back
We won’t be weighted like a long eared jack.
I see you now invisible One
Sister of the Moon and Sun
I feel you now ineffable one
We know now what is to come.
We now know what will be done.
Pandora, the daughter of Earth and Hephaestus
Has now caught sight of the son of Iapetos,
Prometheus, and the group of the new prophets
That surrounds him like guardians.
She is weeping at the sight of his suffering
For no wrong-doing outside of his
Angering a quick tempered God
Whose only power lies in his hands.
She curses Zeus and with the strength
Of a mother whose child is in dire danger,
Cuts apart the chains that bind Prometheus.
All of this occurs outside of his omniscient vision.
Tipped by Hermes, Zeus is
Now on his way here.
In a tumultuous speed out of need for information.
He is trying to put together the pieces of what he knows,
Pondering how he will address us and now
Internally reasserting his superiority over all.
He is blinded by his pride, unable to face his fear
That his father’s and father’s fathers fate will
Be placed upon him as well.
He enters our abode, he opens his mouth.
I, the supreme ruler of Mount Olympus
Demand to know what is going on, in Earths’ realm.
Tell me dark sisters, what web you are spinning
Involving me and the fallen god Prometheus.
Who is involved, and what are there roles?
What we know.
We cannot tell.
What will be.
Can’t be dispelled.
Do not use tricks of the tongue when talking to me. Answer me plainly.
We did not mean to inflame you, try asking again in another way.
I have heard that my rule is going to be threatened
And that Prometheus is to be liberated.
I demand to know the truth in this.
Prometheus does seem to be the favorite of the earth.
As for the threats to your rule, do they frighten you?
Of course not!
Then why do you speak in such urgency?
Stop answering my demands with questions and give me the knowledge I need.
The only guidance I can give, is to tell you that
All things reach their end.
Are you saying that my rule shall meet its end!?
(Zeus is becoming increasingly angry)
Surely you must be aware that after Clotho has given me the thread with which to weave life, ultimately Atropos will be the one to cut it.
Let me speak to her so that
I can discover why she would try to end my divine rule.
What have I said to make you believe
That your rule is coming to an end?
I do not need to explain that which has already been said.
Perhaps you should learn to listen with your ears instead of your pride.
Do not outrage me further then you already have.
I am only speaking that which was asked of me.
My ears do not enjoy hearing such lies!
Then I shall say no more and leave you to your thoughts.
These women, Clotho with her distaff,
Lachesis with her spindles and Atropos
With her scissors, have dared to
Insinuate that the thread of my rule
Is soon to be cut.
Not I, Zeus, supreme ruler of the Olympians
Guardian of the Kings and their family.
My rule shall never meet its end!
Zeus, God of the sky and thunder,
Divine ruler over all, I have come bearing
News which I fear to speak of.
Speak it now, as I am at the point where
I will kill whomever doesn’t give me the information I need.
After informing you of the events going on I went back to watch what else would happen
And as I got to the Scythian peak you placed Prometheus on,
I have witnessed Pandora, the daughter of Hephaestus and the bane of all mankind,
Which you in all your greatness had helped to create,
Break Prometheus’ chains with the same scythe you used to castrate Uranus.
The same scythe that Typheous used to cut your muscles.
I was startled by the loud sound of metal hitting metal and
The chains falling and hitting the craggy peak
And then immediately rushed to you as soon as I could, for a crime
Such as this deserves an immediate punishment that only the greatest
And most revered God can issue.
Let us go find these two;
And when we get to Pandora,
Let her punishment be the most severe.
It is an outrage that a woman would have such audacity
To undermine my authority.
As for the fates, they shall
Soon pay the price for their lies.
(Hermes and Zeus exit together.)
(Pandora is holding the scythe that castrated Uranus. Prometheus is free,
but still has chains attached to his hands. The chorus still encircles them.)
How many times while tied up have I seen the sun slowly slip down the Scythian peak?
Certainly more times than the number of sand pieces on the beach,
But now that I am free I truly feel its beauty.
(Short silence as Prometheus stares)
I have looked for you for a long time
Knowing that you were the only one
Who could understand the agony that
I and my female descendants feel.
You best me in physical pain
But in that of the mind,
Which is no less than the body,
No one can match my kind.
I see the affliction of women, my children,
Brought upon by men and am powerless to stop it.
I have helped you and
I hope that you will now help me
And my daughters, my sisters.
I do not know how,
Only that you would be the only one that would.
You know the evil schemes of Zeus when he had Hephaestus make me
I was forced from the Earth and formed with marks
That men would forever indicate as inferior
You know the evils spirits that were released was Zeus’ own creating
I opened the box unknowingly, as part of his malicious scheme.
You know the unjust order Zeus has made, help me bring it to a better place
As I have helped you out of this place.
You need not invoke me for assistance, I give it willingly.
I am familiar with your story and know that you are not the genesis
Of all of this that makes men curse their existence.
We apologize for all our
Brothers and fathers actions Pandora.
When we have done our duty
We shall take your case to all men
And let them know the truth,
That it wasn’t really you
Who brought all the pain
Into the lives of men.
I, and all womankind, accept and thank you.
And look forward to the new order that will emerge.
I know you are versed in the future.
Will you tell me what will happen that
Will lessen that load that we now carry.
Soon Gaea will expel the gods and goddesses from Earth,
And imprison them in the stars and planets
To reassert herself as the only form of worship.
However, she will not make herself known through force
Like the course of previous immortals,
But will grow in the hearts and minds of all mankind.
They shall have their names changed
And be mostly forgotten, thus weakened
To the point of near non-existence.
This is not to say that the banished won’t have their sway
In the everyday affairs of humans,
People have made the gods and goddesses a part of themselves
And thus their energy will echo in the hollows of humans’
And thereby their history
Until they make new stories and music to tell and feel.
I alone of all the gods shall remain
As a spirit because I’ve maintained
My alliance to Gaea, Mother of All
And the mother of my children, humans.
The rest of the gods and goddesses will become the playthings of poets,
A point of pondering for philosophers,
An inspiration for artists
A nighttime tale told to children;
Entities existing only in name and imagination
Beings consisting only of narration.
So in truth the course is not entirely clear
As to when we’ll no longer have to fear
The hands and minds of men.
Yes, in all honesty it is up to them,
And they are not likely to give up
What they feel entitled to have anytime soon.
Quick, give me that scythe and leave,
Zeus is coming here and he is filled with fury
And can hurt you, but not me.
Only you, Prometheus could be so rebellious
As to disobey my direct commandments.
Only you could be so stupid as to not submit
To my ultimate power.
If stupidity is not following what authority tells me
Then I hope to be a paradigm of idiocy.
As for your power, even the tallest of trees are
Eventually over-shadowed so that it falls down,
Rots away and becomes soil
For other trees to sprout from.
If I were you I’d hold my tongue
Soon Hermes shall come with the other gods
And my bolts of lightning
So you will be humiliated again for going against my commands.
Tell me, who are all these humans.
You’re undoing. They are Justice incarnate,
Your divine throne mate has left you,
And will soon incarcerate you for all your base doings.
I have not done one shameful act.
Your family life is proof enough of your lies.
Did I not save my family and oust the evil that is my father?
Yes, but it was I who stitched your sisters and brothers back together after being eaten,
And gave you the tactics to beat the Titans.
Besides, stopping one reign of wrong doesn’t give you the right to start your own of the same.
I am not anything like my Father.
Your first act as authority was to eat your lover for fear of being taken over by her child.
Surely you do not think that governance should be held together by one thread.
Of course not, it should be held together by justice and holiness.
Ah, so your would try to put yourself in my place
If you had one more eye you’d be a Cyclops, which would explain you missing the premise.
Then explain it to me.
Gaea is revolting against your yoke and she will be successful.
She can cast no net to capture me.
She needs no net; she has righteousness that makes her mightier than you.
She will subdue you with song. She will drive you from her home with dance.
The time has come it is quite clear
The time of Gaea is almost here
She hijacks our voice and we sing for her
She fills us up with ecstatic stuff
The time has come it is quite clear
No longer the Olympians shall we fear
We guide ourselves along our way
And in her omnipresent direction we pray.
What is this, I feel weak! This is not possible! I am the King of All!
(Zeus slowly falls)
We reject all kings!
We reject all queens!
We glorify only one thing,
The Earth around us and all life in it!
The soil’s our savior
The water’s our redeemer
The fire’s our purifier
The air’s our lover
For what kiss is sweeter
What touch more tender
What love more splendid
What lover better?
We’d lost true love and replaced it with things
Now we know that we are all kings and queens
And all between down to the lowest thing
With our empires being imagination’s infinity
We go to spread the word
So that it may be heard
And change the world
To Her, Earth’s, design.
We go to tell the tale of a tyrant who fell,
We go out to talk of ourselves,
We go, but stay on as well.