The myth of Pandora’s box is considered one of the most descriptive myths of human behavior in Greek mythology. Ancient Greeks used this myth not only to instruct themselves about the weaknesses of humans, but also to explain several misfortunes of the human race.
Pandora, the first woman on Earth
Pandora was, according to the myth, the first woman on Earth. She was created by Gods; each one of them gave her a gift, thus, her name in Greek means “the one who bears all gifts”.
Pandora was created as a punishment to the mankind; Zeus wanted to punish people because Prometheus stole the fire to give it to them. Her gifts were beautifully evil, according to Hesiod. Hephaestus created her from clay, shaping her perfectly, Aphrodite gave her femininity and Athena taught her crafts. Hermes was ordered by Zeus to teach her to be deceitful, stubborn and curious.
Pandora was given a box or a jar, called “pithos” in Greek. Gods told her that the box contained special gifts from them but she was not allowed to open the box ever. Then Hermes took her to Epimetheus, brother of Prometheus, to be his wife. Prometheus had advised Epimetheus not to accept anything from the Gods, but he saw Pandora and was astonished by her beauty, thus he accepted her right away.
Pandora was trying to tame her curiosity, but at the end she could not hold herself anymore; she opened the box and all the illnesses and hardships that gods had hidden in the box started coming out. Pandora was scared, because she saw all the evil spirits coming out and tried to close the box as fast as possible, closing Hope inside.
According to Hesiod Hope indeed stayed inside because that was Zeus’ will; he wanted to let people suffer in order to understand that they should not disobey their gods. Pandora was the right person to do it, because she was curious enough, but not malicious.
The myth of Pandora’s box has been fascinating people since ever, catching the imagination of countless artists, who created frescos, mosaics and sculptures depicting Pandora and the mythological elements. The myth itself though appears in many different versions; the most distinctive difference is that in some myths Hope does come out. The main purpose of the myth of Pandora though is to address the question of why evil exists in the world.
The birth of Pandora was represented on the pedestal of the statue of Athena situated at the Parthenon on the Acropolis in Athens.
67 thoughts on “The myth of Pandora’s box”
Thanks for publishing this article: I actually met someone a while ago who, I just recently learned did not know about Pandora. She thought is was just a place to get an endless supply of music on her phone.
When I attempted to explain that the radio service’s name as well the whole idea of it (discovering the width and depth of musical diversity) was an allegory to this myth, she had no idea what I was talking about.
I don’t either, but it was interesting to read. Never knew the story behind the box. Sometimes other people don’t get a chance to read about things in life. Each person has their own world, that is what makes each of us unique. Go easy…
I am teaching World Literature to my jr. students. And they were amazed with the whole myth since the only one they knew was that due to the Devil all these different bad spirits came to be. Pandora’s box was a great hit with my students! 😀
This myth I didn’t know about until I found out about it in college when my friend told me about it and I found this article it was the best thing I could have ever in my life read about I’m definitely interested in the myth of Pandora’s box.
Hi my name is Suriya Reddy and Im from South Afirca ,Durban,Chatsworth.I am going to do a project on how to make Pandora’s box.
So if Pandora was the first woman on Earth how come she was created as a punishment for the mankind? Which mankind?
She was created for the men to lust over which would also be seen as a distraction
I realize that you wrote this a loong time ago, I think you are trying to blend a bible story (Adam and Eve) with Greek mythology. Just like Eve was the first woman in the bible, Pandora was the first woman in Greek mythology. In the bible Adam was the first man and God (singular) created Eve as a companion. Greek mythos the Gods (plural) created Pandora for Men (plural). Hope that helps you and any others that may read this.
I mean, you have a point. Like guys and gurls, think bout it for a sec…
HI MY NAME IS NIRANYA CHAMODA RATHNAYAKE AND I AM FROM SRI LANKA AND AT SCHOOL I AM STUDYING ABOUT GREEK MYTHS + GREEK CIVILIZATION AND THIS ARTICLE IS WELL THE BEST
I have often asked people , who opened Pandora’s box ?
It surprised me of the large number of people who did not know or had never heard of the myth .
This was a very informational article and it was interesting to read about. I’m doing an essay about Greek Mythology, and I had chosen Pandora’s Box considering the fact that it was the only Greek myth I knew about. I read more into Greek Myths and found some other stories I was interested in. But, ya can’t go back when you have a teacher as strict as mine UwU. This explained the myth of Pandora’s Box and informed me more of what I needed, which will definitely come in handy when writing this essay. Have a nice life rando ppl I don’t know!
I have always read “Hope” remaining differently. The Box is full of EVILS of all kinds. Empty Hope can be an evil. You can “Hope” all you want, but you can’t sit there waiting without doing something about it.