Dein seems to be the genitive old-fashioned form of the second person personal pronoun in singular, thus the old-fashioned form of deiner. The end of Goethe's Prometheus is

Und dein nicht zu achten,
Wie ich!

He is referring to Zeus. The transformation to modern German, only for purpose of comprehension, would be in two steps, I guess: First, take the old dein to deiner; secondly, transform deiner to the usual accusative form dich.

My question is, whether the second transformation is possible without loosing information (of course, style is lost). Whether Dich nicht zu achten says the same, or this dein rather means "to scorn every possible aspect of you". Or whether the only possible transformation to modern German would stop at the first step (deiner nicht zu achten)?


Your analysis is correct. In modern German you would say "und dich nicht zu achten". I do not think there is any loss of information, though there is possibly a loss of poetic gravitas.

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Is Goethe talking about Zeus? Is he talking about God in general? Is he talking about the church? What is his message?

Prometheus was created in the "Sturm und Drang" period. Which according to the Wikipedia article is all about emotional liberation.

The verses

"Zu leiden, zu weinen, Zu genießen und zu freuen sich,"

underlines this sentiment.

Since criticizing the catholic church, society or christian god directly probably was not a good idea Goethe used Zeus as a stand in.

In this perspective dein stands for the essence or dase Wesen of the thing or things that needs to be ignored in order to be emotionally free.

I'd even say you could easily replace:

Dein nicht zu achten


Dein Wesen nicht zu achten.


Deinen Einfluss zu ignorieren.

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  • This answer is wrong. As correctly stated in the question "dein" is here the older form of the genitive of the pronoun (modern German: "deiner"). If the poet meant "dein Hab und Gut" he would have written "Deines". – fdb Dec 29 '16 at 17:45

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