As you may remember, Prometheus was a titan who sided with the Olympians, helping Zeus claim ultimate victory as king of the gods. More than anyone else, Prometheus loved the mortal human beings--whom he had created from clay--and taught them pretty much everything they needed to know to be civilized. But Zeus refused to let man have fire. Hating to see his beloved humans suffering so, Prometheus stole fire from Olympus and delivered it to them. To punish mankind, Zeus sent Pandora and her ill-fated box, laden with all of humanity's horrors--as well as Hope. As for Prometheus, he was everlastingly chained to a mountain, where Zeus' eagle would devour the "cockles of his liver" daily. That is, until Hercules showed up--slaying the eagle and freeing Prometheus, as depicted above. But the saddest part of the tale, as Star points out, is that over the centuries mankind had forgotten their greatest benefactor and friend.
Prometheus is a compelling and tragic figure. Apparently, he was the Romantic's god of choice--representing wisdom and culture and civilization betrayed and brought down by a hollow and petty religion (as characterized by Zeus). Mary Shelley subtitled her famous work Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus, comparing the doctor's cruel folly of creating life with that of his titanic predecessor. Her husband, Percy Shelley, rewrote the Greek tragedy with Prometheus coming away conqueror. And their frequent companion, Lord Byron, penned a poem dedicated to the "fire-bringer". A brief excerpt:
"Thou art a symbol and a sign
To Mortals of their fate and force;
Like thee, Man is in part divine,
A troubled stream from a pure source"
And that is why I love Prometheus.