Prometheus is a figure from Greek mythology who is probably best remembered for his theft of fire from the gods on Mount Olympus. Like many other characters in Greek mythology, there are a number of stories about Prometheus and his life, and he has appeared in classical Greek literature and plays. His gift of fire to mankind is sometimes thought of as a double edged sword, since with fire comes technological advancement and knowledge, two things which make human life more challenging in addition to more enjoyable.
According to most myths, Prometheus was a Titan, one of a race of older gods who ruled Greece until the Olympian gods arose. Some myths have Prometheus himself creating humans from clay, and Zeus withholding fire from the men because he was displeased by them. In other myths, Prometheus tricked Zeus into picking bones over meat, leading Zeus to withhold fire as a punishment. The Titan was also gifted with the ability of foresight, and he allegedly foretold the downfall of Zeus at the hands of one of his children, but he wouldn't divulge a name, infuriating Zeus.
After Prometheus stole fire from the Gods and brought it to humans, Zeus supposedly chained Prometheus to a rock as a punishment. A bird, usually an eagle but a vulture in some stories, was stationed over Prometheus to tear out his liver repeatedly, as his liver grew back every day. Since Prometheus is sometimes portrayed as an associate and friend of Zeus, this punishment is often framed as a serious betrayal. Heracles, a Greek hero, is said to have freed Prometheus after 30 years of imprisonment, which also infuriated Zeus.
Several other stories are associated with Prometheus; some tales, for example, say that Zeus created Pandora and sent her to Earth as a form of vengeance for the theft of fire. Prometheus is also sometimes credited with bringing literature and the arts to humans in addition to fire, and in some myths he is treated almost like the Christian figure Adam, who played a very important role in human history. In these myths, Pandora brings darkness, evil, and misery into the world, leading some people to associate her with Eve.
Some modern works of art and literature use Prometheus as an allegorical figure, representing a stretching for knowledge and information which could radically change human existence. Others elevate Prometheus as a heroic and intelligent figure who managed to trick the Gods and improve living conditions for humans.