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Pandora’s Box Interpretation: Where Suffering Came From

Pandora’s Box Interpretation: Where Suffering Came From

In the modern language, the phase “Pandora’s box” refers to the endless failures and problems caused by one miscalculation. And the problems resulting from the Pandora’s box are commonly difficult to be solved. The story of Pandora came to us thanks to the ancient Greek mythology. In the myth, the gods created Pandora and Zeus gave her the end of the Golden Age of the humans whom Zeus always wanted to completely control. Below is the Pandora’s box interpretation.

The Story of the Pandora’s Box

According to Hasiod who the scholars believed to be the major compiler of ancient Greek mythology, Pandora was a curse on the humanity. Prometheus the Titan stole the fire either from Zeus’s lightning or from the sun and gave it to the human. This enraged Zeus who didn’t plan to give the humans fire. Because fire was the first sign of civilization. Once the human could acquire fire, they might get closer to the level of gods. This meant Zeus could lose his total control over his creations – human. And Zeus never liked the idea.

The pandora's box was the punishment of the gods to the humanity
Pandora was created by the gods as their punishment towards the humanity. Pandora’s Box came from Greek myth

Gods endowed Pandora with many beautiful and captivating features that belonged to the women. Gods turned Pandora into the appearance of a lovely goddess with the ability of telling lies. They dressed her the most luxurious and shining clothes and taught her how to weave. She moved gently and tenderly when gods had weakened her limbs.

Pandora was the first race of the female. She was the first bride and also the first misery. The beautiful Pandora would live with the men in the times of plenty. But once they got into the difficult time, she deserted them.

The Evils of the World from the Pandora’s box

Following the plans, Zeus gifted Pandora to the brother of Prometheus, Epimetheus. Despite the warning from his brother, Epimetheus still accepted the gift from Zeus. And he had the beautiful Pandora in his house.

In the house of Epimetheus, there was a jar. The original word was “pithos” which means large jar. But the mistranslation in the 16th century by Erasmus the humanist resulted in the “Pandora’s box”. Specifically, he changed the Greek word “pithos” into “pyxis” meaning box. Some accounts told that that large jar was a gift from Zeus too. And because of the woman’s greed and curiosity, Pandora lifted the lid of the jar.

And from that moment on, all evil spirits and illnesses flew out of the jar. They went to the world of humanity and wreaked havoc. Sickness, chaos, toil, and multitude of other illnesses escaped from the jar and affiliate the men forever. That was the price Zeus wanted them to pay for having fire without his permission. Civilization came at the price of peace and illness-free world.

Pandora released all the evils from the box. Pandora's box interpretation
Pandora released all of the evil spirits but the hope which she shut it back to the box

Pandora was quick to place back the lid but she was not as quick as the evils. The only thing that was trapped back to the jar was Elpis which meant “hope”.

Pandora’s Box Interpretation

Many scholars attempted to explain the myth in their own way. Some of them sadly stated that the Greek myth tended to blame all the faults and miseries of the humankind for the women. Pandora in the depiction of Greek myth was a beautiful woman with a cunning mind and greed.

Pandora statue with the explanation of Pandora's box
The statue of Pandora the Beautiful. The Pandora’s box interpretation varied from scholars to scholars

Other Pandora’s box interpretation was that humans must work to survive. The women were only the inferior of the men as Pandora was gifted to Epimetheus as a property. She acted as a trick gift only to deceive the men and doomed the world with illnesses and evils. To fulfill her greed and curiosity, she released the evils to the world, trapping hope inside the jar.

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