As a huge fan of mythology, I really wish I invested my college years in studying such beautiful endless stories. I do read from time to time but lately I have been consumed with Pandora’s story. Here’s a small post in honor of Pandora and the gods of Ancient Greece.
According to Greek mythology, Pandora was created as a punishment for mankind.
She was the first woman. We might want to consider comparing her creation to Eve’s. I do believe that most of the religious beliefs are similar to each other only the names of the “heroes” differ and there’s a slight change to their role in each religion. Nonetheless, Pandora was the beautiful, temptress evil created to redeem mankind for their sins. Or perhaps; the sins of Prometheus.
Prometheus was a trickster who disobeyed Zeus and only stirred trouble. He was also the divine savior of humankind as he defied Zeus by stealing fire and providing it to humanity which has enabled humanity to progress
The divine gods were displeased and the battle was on between Prometheus and Zeus:
Prometheus tricks Zeus both into accepting the inferior portion of animal sacrifices (bones covered by fat), and reserving the edible parts (the meat) for human consumption. Zeus counteracts by depriving humankind of fire. Prometheus then outwits Zeus by stealing fire from heaven, in a fennel stalk, to give it again to mortals. The possession of fire is equated then with all its cultural benefits: the ability to cook the food, to forge weapons and tools, etc. To balance Prometheus’ forbidden good gift to men, Zeus finally decides to present humans with his own gift, a gift of evil, meant to spoil Prometheus’ enlightenment.
And there was Pandora. Created from clay and dressed up to be a beautiful temptation to men and gods alike.
The stories differ regarding the evilness of Pandora. One simply states that her creation deprived men of comfort as they had to deal with the hardships of life while she consumed their outcome. In addition to that, the fact that women bear children meant that if a man chooses to refrain from marriage, he cannot have a child of his own to carry his name for generations to come. However, if a man chooses to marry, he either is lucky enough to have a woman who will help him balance the good and evil of life or simply have a woman who will make his life miserable.
The other version we all know is that of the box; Pandora’s box. The box in question was actually a jar cover with a lid. That large jar contained a mix of good in addition to evils that never existed on earth before Pandora’s creation. Those evils were trapped in that jar for good and mankind never suffered of anything other than what they’ve brought upon themselves by disobeying the gods. Pandora was given that jar and instructed not to open the lid but her curiosity got to her and she broke that rule causing all the evil to escape and spread inflicting its harm on both innocent and guilty of mankind. Realizing her mistake, she quickly managed to close the lid saving one last yet crucial component from being lost forever. That last component was hope.
Both versions of the story symbolize a lot of meaningful concepts of life as it is today.
Women are beautiful creatures. Both powerful and delicate. Capable of making or breaking nations. The cunningness of women is definitely one trait that gives women that power. Their soft nature is what makes men strive to do their best to impress. Women can endure pain better than men. Their emotional nature complements the logical and more practical approach of men to matters of life. Their intuition is mainly the engine that keeps those emotions running and without both logic and emotions, life wouldn’t be as vibrant as it is. How Greek Mythology chooses to portray Pandora as the source of evil may not suit feminists, but it does have a special charm. Women back then were usually dependent and mostly capable of inflicting far worse harm than us women nowadays. The mere thought of a single woman causing a great war might seem outlandish now but back then, the abduction of Helen was enough to wage war against Troy in what we all know as the Trojan War.
Nowadays, men are not as “unlucky” as they were back in the days of Ancient Greece. The fact that women are mostly interdependent if not independent changed the whole myth. Chances are that you -as a man- have less pressure to deal with while your significant other shares the pressures and burdens of life with you. Pandora is no longer a punishment. Pandora was in the right place at the wrong time. She was just underestimated and misunderstood. And most probably mistreated.
There is no doubt that if a woman decides to make your life a living hell, it will be one. But if you choose to have her by your side and cherish her presence, you have your own little heaven on earth. After all, Pandora managed to save hope from escaping that jar giving humanity a second chance to happiness that is much pursued.
The great sins of our species haunt us,
The ghosts of history taunt us.
Yet while I breathe, while I live,
I cling to Pandora’s final gift.
The lid was not tightly closed
It whispers in our ears and dwells in our hearts.
Against all the evils that plague us,
It lets us taste redemption.
Its voice rings clear in the dark –
Words of encouragement,
Words of empowerment,
Words of unyielding optimism:
Let laughter dry the tears we’ve shed,
Let mercy heal the wounds we’ve bled,
Let love give birth to new life,
Let hope be the refutation of our sins.
Unless darkness consumes us all,
Unless light cannot penetrate the shadows,
I will cling to Pandora’s final gift:
I cling to Hope.
Also read: Pandora – a poem