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He rules by his own laws, creating a world where no one but him can be free. Both the objects of his hatred and his love can easily fall to misfortune since Zeus, unfamiliar with sympathy and pity, does not concern himself with the welfare of others. Unable to rule through any means other than brute force, Zeus is presented as a perfect example of a fairly stupid but powerful tyrant who shows no regard for others not because he is evil but because he hasn't given it any thought. Zeus's servants take it for granted that everyone must be taught to love him and hate his enemies. Zeus's rule demands that his servants surrender any trace of individuality in obedience to his will.
Like Oceanus, Hephaestus is an obedient but unwilling servant. He bows to Zeus's force, but wishes he did not have to. Hephaestus first introduces pity and friendship into the tragedy while chiding Zeus's servants for their insensitivity. Yet Hephaestus does what he is told, showing him to be closer to Kratus than to Prometheus in his outlook. Hephaestus, however, seems to obey more out of fear than out of a complete identification with his ruler, which seems more the case with Kratus and Hermes.
Prometheus aided Zeus against his fellow Titans only to be punished for giving fire to human beings. Prometheus demonstrates the value of thought and knowledge in progress as well as in the opposition and temperance of tyrannical power. He is a rare example of a Greek tragic hero whose faults, such as excessive pride and stubbornness, ennoble him. Prometheus opposes Zeus because of his anger over his punishment, bolstered by his anger over the mistreatment of his brothers and Io. He is also driven to opposition by a belief in the value friendship. His friendship for humanity is the cause of his punishment, but he views as equally important Zeus's inability to recognize the importance of friendship. Prometheus shows that if intellect and force cannot work together, then intellect must oppose force, since it is useless if dominated by power.
A mindless servant of Zeus. Hermes appears in sharp contrast to Prometheus. Like his master, Hermes understands neither friendship nor pity, but only force and obedience. Hermes is certain that he is on the right side, and certain also that his master is all-powerful. Though he comes down from Olympus to question Prometheus about the future threat to Zeus's power, Hermes clearly does not take this threat seriously. He is highly arrogant, but not horribly bright as illustrated in a scene where every insult and accusations he throws at Prometheus gets turned around by the recipient and shipped back in force.
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