Pandora's Box: What the Myth Means Today

Essay by jeaniewA+, March 2009

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Pandora’s Box: What the Myth Means TodayIntroductionImagine a life with no pain, worries, or misery in which to speak – all evils held secure by a sacred beast or mythological container. This is the life described in many fantasies of the days before man, woman, and hardship. With any myth, however, unlocking and explaining the gift of knowledge and becoming aware seems to account for all evils that have been imparted upon humankind. This is a very similar beginning to the story of Adam and Eve in that a woman is blamed for all; thus, the story of Pandora’s Box becomes relevant. This type of awareness comes at a price, usually a type of punishment received for deceit to account for humanity’s inquisitiveness. In seeking to uncover the truth in things, the pitfalls of curiosity are impossible to avoid. The story’s meaning has bearing on many of today’s idioms as well as even affecting the views of some that look to interpret its meaning to fit certain principles.

Today, this story and its message, rooted in the origins of Greek mythology, still have widespread significance and may be the most pervasive lesson of its kind. Knowledge of the myth and its relation to modern-day culture can give insight to America’s ideals.

Summary and Description of MythThe tale of Pandora’s Box originated as a story from Hesiod but has been retold over the years with slight variations in the details. Pandora was the first woman created in Greek mythology (Daly, 2004). The Greeks viewed Pandora as beautiful young girl that evokes strong desire in all who see her. Pandora was considered deceitful, but this was how she was created. Symbolically, Pandora is known as the releaser or mother of troubles. The myth of Pandora’s Box explains how evil came into...