box of pandora

The myth of Pandora’s box

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’s box

Pandora's box
Pandora's box

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.

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  1. Always love how Christians label anything outside of their own belief as a “myth” but their own religion is “absolute truth.” I doubt the people of Greece during that time considered their worship, of the different Gods, as a myth.

    Even the first commandment of the Christian bible states, ” Thou shalt have no other Gods before me.” Notice it did not say there are no other Gods.

    1. Verses from the Bible that refut the statement that there are other gods:
      1 Kings 8:60 — That all the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God, and that there is none else.
      1 Timothy 2:5 — For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.
      Hosea 13:4 — Yet I am the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no god but me; for there is no savior beside me.
      1 Chronicles 17:20 — O LORD, there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears.

    2. Actually, Judaism, Christianity and Islam are all called “Monotheistic” for a reason. They believe in one God. Well let’s start that commandments come from the Old Testament – Bible to Jews and Christians. Most of the Commandments make sense and are found in other religions or belief systems – Do not Murder. Do not Steal. Don not lie. etc. I believe that most modern Christians and Jews are NOT biblical absolutists. That is, we realize that some of the harsh laws from two thousands of years ago, have no real basis in science or rational discourse today – and some of the stories are meant to be allegories – lessons not always to be taken literally. But yes, one of the Commandments is – Do not worship false idols. But if you are a monotheist and are a Jew, Christian or Muslim – One God is your belief system. And the notion that making gods of “people” is bad is the morally right position – and today that could mean celebrities or Politicians – I think that’s a good idea to prefer to worship God – whatever you may envision that to be – and not a flawed human. When you replace our God with say, humans like a Mao or Hitler or Stalin – we’ve seen some pretty nasty, deadly outcomes – millions of dead in their wake.

  2. Suriya Reddy says:

    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.

  3. So if Pandora was the first woman on Earth how come she was created as a punishment for the mankind? Which mankind?

    1. Reagan Robinson says:

      She was created for the men to lust over which would also be seen as a distraction

    2. Roger Earl says:

      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.

      1. Stephanie says:

        Nope, similarities are not the author’s fault. He simply explained the myth as it was written.

      2. This article was written quite poorly. In the Works and Days, there were expressly multiple generations previous.

        Pandora wasn’t ever described as the first woman nor even as a mother by Hesiod. She was merely a weapon the gods sent to punish the degeneration of man. (The list of traits that they gave her included beauty from Aphrodite)

    3. I mean, you have a point. Like guys and gurls, think bout it for a sec…


  5. John H Baldwin says:

    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 .

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. I loved this article and the way it was written. I didn’t know anything about Pandora’s box before. reading this article. Also, reading some of the comments was really helpful in better understanding the specific of this myth, especially the one which specified the difference between this myth as stated in the Bible vs Greek Mythology.

  9. I am 65+…..My generation learned of thIs myth in grade school days and from our parents, songs, churches and TV.

    A great myth still today….yet the youth of today mainly know nothing about this….teachings and times have changed so much since I was young. i still have faith in our youth today, however many are disillusioned from schools because of what they are teaching them. It is a lack of Caring from some teachers & a lack of Respect from some of the students, I believe that is greatly hindering solid educations. Some kids graduate from HS & still cannot read & write properly….that is atrocious…..and their Math skill levels are so very low. This is ultra dangerous to the future for them and America.
    The “FOUR PILLARS” of my youth teachings were ….AND in this exact order—-
    1) God……..2) Country……..3) Home …….4) School. These should be stressed, now more than ever from Youth to the Elderly. None of us all should never quit learning.

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