Have you ever read or heard the story of Pandora? It was a story that puzzled me as a kid when I was going through my Greek mythology phase (everyone goes through this phase, right?). If you haven’t, and don’t click on the above link, I’ll recap here.
So Pandora was created by the Greek gods and given as a gift to Hephaestus because him and his brother, Prometheus, had been causing all kinds of mischief. You know, bringing fire to the people, and messing with sacrifices, and all that kind of stuff that the ancients did to pass the time. Now, Prometheus got chained to a rock and got his liver devoured every day by an eagle — if I remember correctly. But Hephaestus gets Pandora — the bearer of gifts. According to some myths, she was the first woman created for humankind, so I’m not sure how she set the standard of “beautiful” since there was no one to compare her to, but according to the myths, she was also the most beautiful woman (in a population of one). Which is why Hephaestus accepted her despite Prometheus telling him not to accept gifts from the gods (either that or he was a special kind of dumb — anyone knows not to accept gifts from the gods, they always come with strings attached)
Anyway, Zeus gave Pandora a box (or sealed clay jar, depending on the translation) as a wedding gift with the stipulation that she never open it. She agreed. But, being human, she became curious as to what might be inside. I mean boxes/jars were meant to hold things, right? Especially those that are locked and or sealed. And why give someone something and tell them to never open it? That’s guaranteed to make them want to open it. I don’t care what gender you are, dear reader, if someone gives you a locked box and tells you to never open it, eventually you’re going to open it. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but eventually that box will be opened. And it might not even be curiosity. Hell, you might just forget where that box came from and forget why it’s locked. But I guaren-damn-tee that it will be opened eventually. Because that’s how we humans roll. And Zeus knew that. Now, again this depends on the translation, but either Pandora begs her husband for the key and he holds fast (implying that men are more stalwart than women in these things) or her curiosity gets the better of her one day and she simply just opens it.
In all of the translations, everything that is “wrong” with mankind — disease, hatred, pride, blah blah blah, come pouring out of the box, because Zeus had designed it that way. See, Pandora was given to Hephaestus as punishment for his mischief and and as an added bonus, she was also mankind’s punishment for the brothers’ deeds. I guess all of the men in the world (seeing as how she was the first woman…) lived long and healthy lives before she was created, never despairing of anything, never getting sick, never arguing with their neighbors… Hard to imagine, right? Especially since they had to make sacrifices to the gods to, like, not die or something. But you know, it’s as good an explanation as any as to why we have these “awful” things. Blame it all on a woman’s curiosity, because as women go, she was the first… >_< So anyway, every ailment comes pouring out of the box/jar except for one because Pandora quickly closes the lid on it. The last thing in the container is hope. And again, depending on the translation, she either leaves hope in the jar/box or lets it out. In all of the stories I read as a child, hope is kept in the jar. Which always puzzled me because we (mankind) have hope. So it must have escaped, right? What would we be without hope? Even the tiniest flame breaks the darkest night. So it’s always been a curious myth to me, the myth of Pandora. I mean, in every translation she brought about all of the ills and maladies to humankind because of her curiosity (weird that curiosity isn’t considered one of those maladies when it got us into this mess in the first place) but — depending on the translation, she also brought us hope or she deprived us of hope because she was desperately trying to keep anything else from escaping. But… we have hope. And why would hope be there in the first place? Did another god sneak it in? When I first read that story I was all, “What the what?” And I’ve never fully grasped hope’s role in the myth, like, ever.
So, that’s what I thought of for today’s prompt. ^_^