The parable of Pandora is a classic tale in GREEK MYTHOLOGY. It’s a story that portrays the power of the gods and explains the purpose of evil in the world. It’s also notable for marking the end of the Golden Age of Man and causing a new era of human suffering.
The tale begins with Zeus and the other gods creating Pandora, the first human woman.
According to Hesiod, Zeus ordered HEPHAESTUS to build a creature with numerous beguiling and seducing gifts. The king of Mount Olympus wanted to create the first woman. She was to be beautifully evil and have descendants that would torment humans forever.
The blacksmith of the gods threw himself into his work. He used clay to create a maiden-like figure modelled after immortal goddesses.
Aphrodite endowed her with femininity, while Athena granted her prowess in crafts. As per Zeus’s decree, Hermes was tasked to teach her how to be cunning and relentless in her pursuit of knowledge.
Zeus then brings her to life. Thus, the first woman was born.
After she was complete, Zeus gave her to Epimetheus. Known for his lack of foresight, the Titan god accepted. That was even after his brother, Prometheus, warned him not to accept gifts from Zeus.
The two got married, and Zeus gave Pandora one final gift: a large storage jar containing countless plagues. According to Hesiod, the jar contained plagues and evils specifically for men who eat bread. The term used to describe the jar, “Pithos,” was mistranslated during the 16th century as “Pandora’s box.” As a result of this misunderstanding, modern retellings often also refer to it as such.
Zeus told Pandora not to open the box she received as a wedding gift, but her curiosity won in the end. She opened it and released all kinds of plagues and evils upon humanity. In most versions of the story, Pandora didn’t mean to cause harm when she opened the box.
Hope, according to Hesiod’s telling, remained within because Zeus willed it thus; he wanted people to suffer in order to understand that they shouldn’t disobey their gods. Pandora was the best individual for the task because she was curious but not cruel.
She tried to put the lid back on and seal in the evil, but it was too late. Out of pure shock, by the time she restored the lid, all that was left inside was hope. Because of this story poets often interpret hope as being humans’ one unending light.
The myth of Pandora is primarily used to explain the existence of evil in the world.
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