Pandora's Box

Pandora's box was a poisonous gift given by gods to mankind... but let's start with the beginning.

Zeus was terribly mad when the titan Prometheus stole the fire from the gods and gave it to man. That's why he decided to punish all mankind (which, until then, had lived in a state of perpetual bliss and innocence, the Golden Age). He asked Hephaistos to make the woman, out of clay. Until then, there were no women on earth. Hephaistos made her taking as a model the beautiful goddesses, and each god gave her a quality: beauty, grace, manual dexterity, boldness, persuasion, curiosity, cunning and deceit (well, these are not exactly qualities). She was given the name Pandora (all-gifted). Then the gods gave her a mysterious box (or jar), as a wedding gift, and told her not to open it.

Pandora, 1869

Pandora, 1869
Rossetti, Dante Charles Gabriel
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Prometheus, who could tell the future, refused to accept the woman. He also warned his brother, Epimetheus, about turning down Zeus' gifts. But when Epimetheus saw Pandora, he instantly fell in love with her and married her.

At that time, the proverb "curiosity killed the cat" didn't exist yet. So what would a woman do, as soon as you told her not to do something? She'd do it, of course. So Pandora opened the box (or the jar, whatever it was), which contained, instead of real gifts, just evil and plagues. All of them flew out of Pandora's box and spread into the world: crime, poverty, pain, hunger, sickness, vice. They al looked like small, winged creatures.

Pandora


Pandora
John William...
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Terrified, Pandora closed the lid. But the gods, feeling a little sorry for what they were about to do, had put, among the evil creatures, a good one whose task was to heal the wounds of the body and soul. This wonderful creature was Hope. When Pandora's box was opened again, Hope managed to fly away and to go around the world and heal the wounds produced by the plagues. But, as she escaped much later, she is always the last one to arrive. That's why, when people are harassed by problems, the only thing that helps them go ahead is hope.


There is also another version about Pandora's box: the gods filled it with good things, as a wedding gift for Epimetheus, and told Pandora not to open it. When she disobeyed, all the good things flew back to the Olympus, so there was left nothing good for the mankind. With one exception: Hope, as Pandora managed to put the lid back before Hope flew away (in this case, the gift was really a gift, but we shouldn't forget the gods wanted to punish mankind. You've got it, right? The punishment was *the woman*. Ouch! I protest!)

Pandora and Epimetheus had a daughter, Pyrrha.

Pandora's Box


Pandora's Box
Rackham, Arthur
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Pandora's Box

Pandora's Box
Goble, Warwick
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