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Learning About Prometheus, Pandora, and Pandora's Box

Pandora was the first woman in Greek mythology, and was created by each of the gods giving her unique gifts. Hephaestus created her by molding the earth, by order of Zeus and each god joined in her creation giving her attributes such as the ability to weave and do needlework, a deceitful nature, grace and longing, and much more. The gods that helped in her creation are Athena, Hermes, Aphrodite, the Charities, and the Horae. Her name is given to her by Hermes and means "all gifted" because of the gifts given her by each of the Olympians. According to the mythology Pandora is given a pithos, or jar, which contains sickness, toil, death, and all the evils of the world.

In the poem the Theogony by the Greek poet Hesiod, the Titan Prometheus who long was considered a champion of humanity, challenges Zeus to choose between two offerings. He must either choose the ox's stomach, which contained quality beef hidden inside, or bull's bones hidden inside "glistening fat". Zeus chose the bones wrapped in fat because he preferred the pleasing exterior over the unpleasing exterior. From this point on humanity made their offerings to Zeus by burning the bones and eating the quality portions of meat themselves. Zeus was very upset about this and decided to hide fire from all humanity.

Prometheus was the offspring of lapetus and Themis, and had three brothers: Menoetius, Atlas, and Epimetheus. Prometheus stole Zeus’ fire, and shared it with the mortals Zeus had taken it away from. It is then that Zeus orders the creation of Pandora. Zeus offers Pandora as a gift to Prometheus. He wanted her to become his wife, but he declined because he knew it was a trick of the Gods. Angered again by Prometheus, Zeus punishes Prometheus for stealing the fire by binding him permanently to a rock and having a large and powerful eagle feast on his liver, day in and day out. Each day the eagle would come and eat his liver, it would grow back that night, only to have the eagle come back the next day to eat again. Since Prometheus was then punished for the fire, and declining the gift of this woman, Zeus then offered Pandora to Prometheus’ brother, Epimetheus.

Pandora, according to the myth carries a "pithos" or jar with her, which contains diseases and sickness, burdensome toil, and death among other terrible things. The jar also contains hope. Prometheus fearing for humanity warns Epimetheus not to accept any gift from Zeus. He doesn't heed his brothers warning and accepts Pandora. Overcome by her curious nature Pandora opens the jar and releases every evil known to mankind before quickly closing the jar. Trapped inside the jar however is Hope, which did not escape before the lid was replaced. All of this happened exactly as Zeus had hoped it would.

Even after all these events, the Gods continued to punish the humans for their crimes, which according to the myth only exist because Pandora opened the jar, and humanity continues to have hope. All of this started with the creation of one woman, a curious woman who wanted to know what was in the jar that the God Zeus handed to her as a gift. The story of Prometheus and Pandora changes from time to time depending on the teller of the story, but the main point of the story always stays the same. If Pandora was not as curious as she was, the world might be a different place without crime, corruption, and evil.

  • Pandora’s Box: Variations and overview of the box (jar) that Pandora had bestowed from Zeus.
  • Prometheus: Prometheus’ life, death, and the works of his world when he was alive. The reasons behind his thefts are also included, and why he was punished so harshly for them.
  • Prometheus: The Fire Bringer: Prometheus’ thefts for the human people, and the love he felt towards them. Enough to steal, and get punished for his actions.
  • Pandora’s Legacy Today: Pandora’s legacy, and everything that she stood for when it came to her creation and the purpose that she had.
  • Prometheus: Information on one of the most important people in Greek mythology, and what his part was on the telling of Pandora’s Box.
  • Pandora: Ceramic plaque of the time of Prometheus and Pandora and the people who played parts in the role of the jar in pictures. 




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