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The Loathsome Mask Has Fallen Essay

1695 words - 7 pages

For the sake of context, this introduction paragraph will provide the reader with what has happened in the previous episodes of Prometheus Unbound. Prometheus is shackled and tortured for three thousand years. He is with Panthea and Ione, these two Oceanides keep him company. This punishment was received with the defiance of Jupiter, King of the Gods. Prometheus created humankind and he also gave them fire. He wants to be reminded of the curse that he uttered to Jupiter, so his mother Earth tells him he must summon the Phantasm of Jupiter. After hearing the curse he says, “I wish no living thing to suffer pain.” Mercury offers Prometheus a deal to release him, if he discloses the prophecy of Jupiter’s downfall. Prometheus refuses to help Mercury or Jupiter; he does not care about being tortured anymore. However, he is tormented further by the three furies, and later comes a Chorus of Spirits. Act II does not feature Prometheus, but only Asia who seeks the help of Demogorgon in order to free Prometheus and the human race. Asian states that all he has done is give them science. Demogoron rides his chariot of the Spirit of the Hour and thus begins the opening of act III.
As Hercules unbinds Prometheus, he is reunited with Asia. They go to a cave where they speak the Spirit of the Hour gives a speech. The new universe without Jupiter is detailed in this speech. Shelly writes,
Soon as the sound had ceased whose thunder filled
The abysses of the sky, and the wide earth,
There was a change . . . the impalpable thin air
And the all-circling sunlight were transformed
As if the sense of love dissolved in them
Had folded itself round the sphered world
My vision then grew clear and I could see
Into the mysteries of the Universe. (3.4.99-105)
The Spirit of Hour tells of the dethronement of Jupiter, briefly, but in the early stages of the speech immediately the realization is seen that this will be longer and entirely have more focus on the how the world is progressing. For me, this description by the Spirit of Hour feels like the heavens opening up and sunlight being let through the skies. A picture is elegantly being painted here for the reader. It is clear that Jupiter has fallen because his thunder no longer fills the sky. Though it must be pointed out that this vision is not a personal vision, it is a worldwide universal vision. The change that is happening is occurring all over the world.
The Spirit of Hour comes to see that, even though this is a beautiful time, he must warn his listeners. Shelly writes, “Yoked to it by an amphisbaenic snake / The likeness of those winged steeds will mock / The flight from which they find repose”(3.4.119-21), this symbolic warning shows that as humanity reaches the ultimate goal, it can be reversed at any given moment. This line is important, not because of the mythical creature that it uses, but because I got a sense that Shelley had political implications with the line. It conveys that a new system will...

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