The play tells the story of how Prometheus came to be incarcerated, and how — through continued disobedience — he becomes the most iconic prisoner of all time.
The word marturos in ancient Greek means “witness.” A martyr is a witness. Prometheus was a god who broke the law. For this crime, he was locked away in solitary confinement, a punishment to which the United States is currently consigning approximately twenty-five thousand of the more than two million American citizens who now live behind bars, one of the few first-world countries still deploying this outmoded, dehumanizing punishment for long durations and on such a large scale. It’s as if Aeschylus, too, was saying: This is how it works.
Prometheus Bound is the story of how martyrs are made.