Pandora's Box: Myth, History and Meaning


     What is Pandora's Box? Know the History and Meaning of this Fascinating Myth of Greek Mythology. Pandora was a beautiful woman and wife of Epimetheus (brother of Prometheus).

What is Pandora's Box?

     Pandora's Box is an object of Greek mythology, the centerpiece of the Pandora myth, the first woman created by Zeus, one of the best known among mythical stories. Although popularized as a "box" in the primitive versions of the myth, the container was said to be a jar.


     In the most well-known version, it is said that Pandora was created by Hephaestus at Zeus' command as a way to take revenge on humanity after the Titan Promised to give men the secret of fire; sent to the land to marry Epimetheus, brother of Prometheus, carried a box with the recommendation that it should never be opened but it, without curiosity, opens it and thereby frees all the evils hitherto unknown to men (diseases, war, lies, hatred, etc.); Pandora then tries to close the box but keeps only hope inside.

     In the summary of an encyclopedic dictionary: "First woman, according to Hesiod. Created by Athena and Hephaestus to perfection, Hermes made her curious and deceptive. Zeus handed her a closed bowl, which Pandora uncovered and all the evils it contained. spread across the world."

     Like all myths, it also seeks to explain the origin of phenomena that are difficult to understand, in addition to influencing everyday thinking and expressions. In this last sense, the expression "opening the Pandora's box" (or equivalent as "opening the bag of winds", used in Portugal, as a reference to the evil "winds" released with the opening of the bowl entrusted to Pandora) means "the origin of all evils."


     According to Pierre Grimal, Pandora is a "hesiódico myth, the first woman, created by Hephaestus and Athena, with the help of all the other gods, by order of Zeus. Each one of them attributed a gift to him: thus he received beauty, grace, manual dexterity, the ability to persuade and other qualities.

     But Hermes put lies and cunning in his heart. Hephaestus made it in the image of immortal goddesses, and Zeus intended it to punish the human race, to which Prometheus had just given divine fire. That was the gift that all the gods then offered to men, to cause them disgrace. "

     Jean Chevalier and Alain Gheerbrant in the work "Dictionary of Symbols" explain the story: "I will give men as a gift, says Zeus, an evil with which everyone, from the bottom of their hearts, will want to surround their unhappiness with love."

Meaning and Impact on Current Days:

     Pandora means ("that which gives everything", "that which has everything", "that which takes everything") In terms of value and meaning in our current culture. In 1929 the film Pandora's Box (Die Büchse der Pandora, in the original) by German director Georg Wilhelm Pabst, starring Louise Brooks, uses the myth to represent the story of the seductive character who, after killing her husband, is called Pandora during his trial.

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