Pandora’s Box; Curiosity killed the cat

In Greek mythology, Pandora was the first woman, fashioned by Zeus as part of his punishment to mankind after Prometheus set forth to steal fire from him and handed it over to man. Zeus was enraged and decided to punish Prometheus and his creation “mankind”.

To punish Prometheus, Zeus chained him and set a vulture over him to eat his liver each day. But he was immortal, eventually the liver grew back every day, but he was still he was daily tormented.

Zeus was angry with mankind, therefore he planed the worst punishment he could think of: He ordered the other gods to make “all gifted” Pandora as a poisoned gift for man. Then invented Hephaestus, who molded Pandora out of clay, she gave her the form and made her irresistibly beautiful. Pandora was also given several traits from different gods: Beauty from Aphrodite, musical talent and healing from Apollo, and of course Hephasestus gave her the form; that’s why she was called “all gifted”.

Hesiod said on the creation of Pandora
“The crippled artist-god,Illustrious, moulded from the yielding clayA bashful virgin’s image, as advis’dSaturnian Jove”
“But now when the fair mischief, seeming-good,His hand had perfected, he led her forthExulting in her grac’d attire, the giftOf Pallas, in the midst of gods and men.On men and gods in that same moment seiz’dThe ravishment of wonder, when they sawThe deep deceit, th’ inextricable snare.”

Hermes then gave Pandora a box, telling her to keep it safely but never think of opening it until then. Before being chained to the rock, Prometheus warned Epimetheus “his brother” not to take any gifts from the gods. But he didn’t listen, however, and when Pandora arrived, he fell in love with her. Hermes told him that Pandora was a gift to the titan from Zeus, and he warned Epimetheus not open the box. “Sometimes the box was referred to as a jar or a chest”. Epimetheus accepted the maiden from Hermes and led her into his house with her box which the gods had sent with her as her dowry.

Epimetheus told Pandora never to open the box she had received from Zeus. But one day, curiosity compelled her to open it, releasing all the misfortunes of mankind “plague, sorrow, poverty, crime, etc.”

She shut it in time to keep one thing in the box: Hope. The world remained extremely miserable for an unspecified period. Pandora then had the chance to revisit the box, and Hope flapped out.

Here is one of the most fascinating poems by Lord Byron; illustrating Prometheus downfall;

Thy Godlike crime was to be kind,
To render with thy precepts less
The sum of human wretchedness,
And strengthen Man with his own mind;
But baffled as thou wert from high,
Still in thy patient energy,
In the endurance, and repulse
Of thine impenetrable Spirit,
Which Earth and Heaven could not convulse,
A mighty lesson we inherit:
Thou art a symbol and a sign
To Mortals of their fate and force;
Like thee, Man is in part divine,
A troubled stream from a pure source;
And Man in portions can foresee
His own funereal destiny;
His wretchedness, and his resistance,
And his sad unallied existence:
To which his Spirit may oppose
Itself — and equal to all woes,
And a firm will, and a deep sense,
Which even in torture can descry
Its own concenter’d recompense,
Triumphant where it dares defy,
And making Death a Victory..”

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Published in: on December 6, 2005 at 3:39 pm  Comments (19)  

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19 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Thanks sis…
    That was beautiful, I have always wanted to know the story of this Panadora’s box …
    The peom is also beautiful.
    But I have to admit … I feel sleepy shwaya, thanks for the bed time stoy :P.

    Nesreen

  2. you are welcome ya Poosy..I posted this especially for you 🙂

  3. I’ve always loved Greek & Roman mythology. It’s so rich & so romantic.

    It seems we have the same taste in poetry Nerro. First Rumi. Now Byron.

  4. You are right…Greek & Roman mythology is so rich….always interesting to read about.

    You like Lord Byron kaman?? brilliant…good taste ya Loulou :))

  5. ~That was very interesting.
    ~I learnt alot.
    ~I love Greek Mytholgy;its way cool!

  6. Thanks for writing about mythology.
    you gave hints to some important info, am not sure if you are aware of them or not, but thank you again for including etymology.

    you wrote:
    “He ordered the other gods to make “all gifted” Pandora as a poisoned gift for man. Then invented Hephaestus, who molded Pandora out of clay, she gave her the form and made her irresistibly beautiful. Pandora was also given several traits from different gods: Beauty from Aphrodite, musical talent and healing from Apollo, and of course Hephasestus gave her the form; that’s why she was called “all gifted””.

    Excellent!
    yes, Pandora is all-gifted. no, not the girl, the word.
    Pan – Dora == All – Gifts
    Pan = All
    for example: Pandemic.

    Dora = plural of “Doron” = gift
    examples are rare in English language.

    Even names of the brothers: Prometheus and Epimetheus.

    Pro – Metheus = Fore – Thought, eventually: wise.
    Epi – Metheus = Hind – Thought, eventually: imprudent.

    not only that, but the Pro- brother happens to be the elder, and the Epi- is the younger, simply because Pro = before, and Epi = after.

    a notable info is about “Pandora” molded out of clay. not far from Islam, right? Although Hawwa was not made of clay in Islam, Adam was. but nonetheless, i think Pandora is the only creature in Greek mythology created from clay.

  7. sorry, according to Plato the brothers are twins, so no older or younger, i wasnt accurate

  8. Actually you are most likey right about the older/younger brother thing. One had to come out first.

  9. Wow. You have no idea how much you’ve helped me. I’m developing a comic book and the ideas here finally helped me nail down a central mythological scheme. I knew the basics of this story but I didn’t know about the link to Prometheus. Thanks very, very much.

    JB Love
    (going out to buy more Joseph Campbell…)

  10. i am very greatfull to the information you gave to me about pandora

  11. I had a project on pandoras box and you gyos helped me alot…:)

    sorry for the english:p

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