The Gift of Pandora
Before the story begins, let me say that some people take umbrage at the title "Pandora's Box" and insist it should be "Pandora's Jar". They may have reason—based on what Hesiod wrote, but myths change with the re-telling and people are accustomed to "Pandora's Box," so I shall use the term, in this, my re-telling of the myth of Pandora and her box. The background to the story of Pandora's Box is the Titan Prometheus's passive-aggression towards the king of the gods, Zeus with the Dawn of Humanity. Having gotten away with or having paid the price for one misdeed, Prometheus kept going back for more. Zeus was very creative in the way he meted out punishments. Pandora was one example.
The Gift of Pandora
Prometheus was mankind's benefactor. Zeus, the young King of the Gods wasn't crazy about us and didn't want us to have, among other things, fire. Prometheus, then, to remedy the situation, and ascended into heaven, with the help of Athena, he lit his torch in the car of the sun, and gave fire to men. This gift made man much more than all the animals. The fire allowed man to make weapons to defeat the animals and tools to cultivate the land, he could leave his house to warm weather, and finally introduced the arts and the currency, which means the exchange and trade.
In return, Zeus decided to punish Prometheus by presented mankind with a "gift," Pandora, the first woman. At this period of time; women did not exist. This was of the Golden Age. Back to story…
So Zeus devised a plan of his own and he drafted Athena, Hephaestus and Aphrodite to help execute this plan. Zeus came up with the idea of designing a creature that was so enchanting that no one could resist her charms. She was graced with a number of alluring attributes.
All the gods joined in offering her "seductive gifts":
Apollo taught her to sing and play the lyre
Aphrodite gave her beauty
Athena taught her weaving and crafts
Demeter taught her how to tend a garden
Poseidon gave her a pearl necklace and promised she would never drown
Hermes gave her deceitfulness and later the box (pithos)
finally Zeus gave her curiosity. Her name was Pandora and it means “All Gift”.
Prometheus warned his brother, Epimetheus, not to accept any gifts from Zeus. So when Pandora was first presented to Epimetheus; he politely refused her. Zeus was furious; he knew that Prometheus warn his brother. Zeus had him chained to mountain and eagle eat his liver every day for eternity.
So the second time when Pandora was presented to Epimetheus; he accept to Zeus’s delight. The Marriage of Epimetheus and Pandora was the first mortal and god marriage all of the gods attended.
The first days of their union were spent in blissful wanderings, hand in hand, under the cool forest shade; in weaving garlands of fragrant flowers; and in refreshing themselves with the luscious fruit, which hung so temptingly within reach.
One lovely evening, while dancing on the green, they saw Hermes, Zeus's chief messenger, coming towards them. His step was slow and weary, his garments dusty and travel-stained, and he seemed to almost stagger beneath the weight of a huge box which rested upon his shoulders. Pandora immediately ceased dancing, to speculate with feminine curiosity upon the contents of the chest. In a whisper; she begged Epimetheus to ask Hermes what brought him here. Epimetheus complied with her request; but Hermes evaded the question, asked permission to deposit his burden in their dwelling for safe-keeping, professing himself too weary to convey it to its destination that day, and promised to call for it shortly. The permission was promptly granted. Hermes, with a sigh of relief, placed the box in one corner, and then departed, refusing all hospitable offers of rest and refreshment.
He had scarcely crossed the threshold when Pandora expressed a strong desire to have a peep at the contents of the mysterious box; but Epimetheus, surprised and shocked, told her that her curiosity was unseemly, and then to dispel the frown and pout seen for the first time on the fair face of his beloved, he entreated her to come out into the fresh air and join in the merry games of their companions. For the first time. also, Pandora refused to comply with his request. Dismayed and discouraged, Epimetheus sauntered out alone, thinking she would soon join him, and perhaps by some caress atone for her present willfulness.
Pandora was gifted with curiosity as much as the other attributes given her by the gods. For her the box was a gift, not something to be kept in trust. What business had Zeus to tell her not to open it? Perhaps she saw nothing to fear. Maybe if she just took a quick peak.... Looking around to make sure no one was watching, she opened the box Zeus had given them just a crack. She opened her eyes and looked into the box, expecting to see fine silks, gowns or gold bracelets and necklaces or even piles of gold coins.
But there was no gleam of gold or treasure. There were no shining bracelets and not one beautiful dress! The look of excitement on her face quickly turned to one of disappointment and then horror. For Zeus had packed the box full of all the terrible evils of Eris’s children he could think of. Out of the box poured disease and poverty. Out came misery, out came death, out came sadness - all shaped like tiny buzzing moths or gnats.
All that remained in the box was Hope. It fluttered from the box like a beautiful dragonfly, touching the wounds created by the evil creatures, and healing them. Even though Pandora had released pain and suffering upon the world and ending the Golden Age, she had also allowed Hope to follow them.