Monday, 30 July 2007

Mythology : What was Pandoras Box, Jar?

In Greek mythology Pandora was the first woman. Zeus was enraged when his two brothers stole fire from mount Olympus to give to mankind. The flickering lights upset him at night. So he created Pandora, the first woman, as punishment to mortals.
She was by all accounts a very beautiful woman.
When she married she was given a jar as dowry. This jar contained “gifts” contributed by the vindictive Gods that were bad for mankind .She was told not to open the box under any circumstance.
Pandora was, unfortunately, also a very curious person. When she was created Hera gave her the quality of curiosity. Now we have a curious person with a jar that must not be opened. This tortured her until one day, she opened the jar to have a quick peek. By breaking the promise, she released all the ills of the world on mankind. Sickness, evil, hate, wars, and any kind of bad stuff you can imagine. When she saw what was happening she closed the jar as fast as she could, but only Hope remained in the jar.
This is where things get confused. Some say Hope was never let out of the jar, as this was one of the most evil things that could be bestowed on man. Others say Hope was released later. (There is a great philosophical debate as to whether Hope is good or bad in the Pandora context)
The version most often referred to, is that Hope was later released, to help mankind in times of trouble.
Today we talk about Pandora’s Box. The Jar turned into a Box during translation from ancient Greek about five or six hundred years ago.
(Update 5 October 2008. "Erasmus is also generally credited with originating the English phrase "Pandora's box", arising through an error in his translation of Pandora by Hesiod in which he confused "pithos", storage jar, with "pyxis", box." from Wikipedia)

Opening Pandora’s Box has become a metaphor for the unwanted or unanticipated

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

this was very interesting to read