So how does the myth of Prometheus apply to the film Prometheus.
It's the name of the ship.
As I see it, there are two applications of the myth. One is a little more concrete than the other.
Oh, well, before we get to one I guess it would help to give an overview of the myth.
Basically, Prometheus created humans from clay. Humans were little and pathetic compared to the Gods and Titans. So Prometheus, the nice guy that he was, snatched fire from the Gods and gave it to us so we wouldn't be so pathetic and could cook and build stuff. This pissed off Zeus, who was the King of Gods, and he punished Prometheus by binding him to a rock and each day an eagle would come and eat Prometheus's liver. Zeus, being a tremendous dick, made it so Prometheus's liver grew back every day. And every day the eagle would fly on over and eat it.
If we look at Prometheus's tale, a lesson emerges. Prometheus wanted to give humans fire, something we weren't supposed to have. Whatever. He did it. And he suffered horribly for it. There's this idea of unintended consequences.
So whenever some scientific gray-area comes up like cloning or stem cell research comes up, there's mention of Prometheus. These things sound great. But who knows what the consequences would be?
Jurassic Park is an example. Create dinosaurs because we can, then the dinosaurs can't be controlled and they do AWESOME things resulting in the harm of some people and a lawyer.
You know the book Frankenstein? Did you know the full title is Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus? Why? Because Dr. Victor Frankenstein creates a person-monster and suffers a (shit) ton of unintended consequences. Everyone he loves is murdered by this thing.
This is applicable to our film in a couple of ways. First, with the crew of the ship Prometheus. They have the opportunity to travel through space and meet their makers. Should they? They find out humans were created by these "Engineers" but 15 of the 17 crew members are killed.
Well. 2.5 ways. The .5 is about David. The human-created android kills (the human) Charlie Holloway.
And the second way is with the Engineers themselves. They created not only us but also the black goo (or, if they didn't create the black goo, at least they were trying to use the black goo for some purpose). And, from the look of what happened in the Engineer ship, it doesn't seem like things went so well for the Engineers. Regardless of what happened in the past, the black goo, in the film's present, ends up in Shaw as the octo-baby Cuddles, and Cuddles kills the film's only living Engineer.
So we can definitely see how the idea of unintended consequences enters into the plot of Prometheus.
There's another application, one that I think makes the film even more interesting. Just so you know, Application #1 I stand by. Application #2, I bring up more for discussion.
The opening sequence shows the Engineer drink the goo and crumble and the changing DNA enter the water. We're left to assume this is the creation of life on Earth. Especially since the title screen comes up after this: PROMETHEUS.
It makes sense. Prometheus created humans. And the Engineers "created" us.
But maybe this Engineer wasn't supposed to create us?
We know absolutely nothing about the Engineers. Human characters makes guesses: the Engineers were terraforming Earth; the goo is a biological weapon. The humans have no idea though. And the film doesn't corroborate these statements in any way.
In the Greek Tragedy Prometheus Bound, Prometheus has been chained to the rock for two reasons. One, because he gave fire to humans. Two, because he stopped Zeus from obliterating humans.
Let me repeat that: he stopped Zeus from obliterating humans.
What killed the Engineer in the tunnel? Do we know? What killed the mass of Engineers in the hallway? Are we to believe it was the black goo or some creature made from the black (la)goo(n)? Would that make sense?
Here's my theory. And it's crazy but...I think we can build an argument for it.
There has been some sort of Engineer civil war. Maybe over the use of the black goo.
Obviously, the Engineers know the goo produces Aliens/xenomorphs. In the "Head" room, there's a mural of a xenomorph.
So one group of Engineers stole some goo, flew far, far away to Earth, and created humans.
"But why did they invite us to come back and find them!?"
Again. This isn't clear. Yes, Shaw and Holloway found the murals, but we don't know what the murals meant, why they were drawn, or who taught humans to draw them. Shaw and Holloway saying it's an invitation is pure guesswork.
So possibly the one group of Engineers liked humans, created them, and then fought to protect them.
Why did the Engineer ship on LV-223, the one we're exploring in the film, the one destined for Earth, the one piloted by the Engineer who kills several of our human characters, why did this ship NOT TAKE OFF? Something stopped it.
The Engineer bodies piled in the hallway, the hologram we see of the one Engineer running through the halls and the other Engineers running after him (pursuing him?), this is all part of some battle that occurred.
Who knows what happened?
But, if the plot of the film is using the Prometheus Myth as a basis, you could argue there is a group of Engineers who want to destroy humans. Well, it'd make sense why there's ONE who wants to kill humans, a Zeus avatar. But I'm extrapolating.
I don't know if I totally believe this. But it's interesting to me. And the plot of Prometheus is so...vague...it allows for this kind of wild speculation.