Mythology Monday: Pandora


So, this week I’m tackling a tale that also came from the whole Prometheus debacle, that tale being the one of Pandora. This is actually one of the more well-known tales, so much so that there’s a music streaming service named after her.

Also, before we begin I want to note that most of the info for this myth comes from the poet Hesiod, who had a dim view on women, Then again, ancient Greece in general had a dim view of women, so here we are.

The tale begins with Prometheus stealing fire back from the gods and getting chained to a rock with a liver-eating eagle for his trouble. Zeus wasn’t happy with just punishing Prometheus, however. Oh, no, he decides that he needs to punish the whole human race too. Even though they actually didn’t do anything, but I think we’ve already established here that Zeus is a prick.

Now, it’s important to note that, at this point, the human race was a sausage fest: women simply didn’t exist. So Zeus decides an appropriate punishment would be to change that by going up to Hephaestus whip one up for him.

Then the other gods go about and give her gifts, like beauty, skill at weaving, some fancy clothes and jewelry, cunning, and the ability to lie. So basically they made her super, duper attractive, but also evil.

Which, awesome, good to know that my entire gender was placed on earth to be evil and punish dudes.

Anyway, Zeus then takes the newly crafted Pandora (which means either “all-gifted” or “all-giving,” depending on who you ask) to Prometheus’s brother Epimetheus. Now Prometheus had told his brother to not, under any circumstances whatsoever, accept gifts from Zeus, largely because he knows how vindictive Zeus is and that nothing good will come from it. So what does Epimetheus do?

He goes, “Awesome!” and takes her down to Earth. Epimetheus, it should be noted, is not the brightest crayon in the box.

Pandora gets down to Earth, and everyone is absolutely taken with her. Again, because she’s hot. So it comes as a bit of a surprise when Pandora dumps out a jar Zeus gave her and unleashes literally everything bad about the human condition, like death, disease, and Taco Bell.

There is, however, one thing left in the box: hope, basically symbolizing that people will always have hope, no matter how bad things get. Which is something that I never really understood. If dumping out the jar released everything, i.e., gave it to people, wouldn’t hope be withheld by the simple fact that it’s still in the jar? I just don’t get that bit.

It should also probably be noted that some versions of the tale attribute Pandora’s actions to curiosity, rather than malice. Which is a bit better.

Anyway, that’s the story of Pandora, and how women are responsible for everything terrible in the world, according to the ancient Greeks, anyway.

Wait a minute. Isn’t that also basically like Eve from the Abrahamic creation story? A woman gets tempted to doing something that she shouldn’t, and that causes everything to go to shit? That’s something to think about, at least.



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