Thursday, September 06, 2007

Myths, Symbols & Folklore
Pandora: The principle figure in a myth contained in Hesiod's Theogony and Works and Days, symbolically attributing all the ills of the world to the female sex. After Prometheus had eased the lot of early man with the gift of fire, the gods decided that human existence was not to become utterly idyllic. The metalsmith and god of fire Hephaestus (Latin Vulcan) crafted a female figure, into which the four winds blew the breath of life. Gods and goddesses lent her beauty. Then the seductive figure was sent among mortals. Although Zeus had made her lazy, ill-natured, and stupid, the naïve Epimetheus, the brother of Prometheus, readily married her. She brought with her a box, or in some versions a jug, out of which emerged all the torments of humanity: age, pain, disease, madness. Only hope, which the box also contained, could keep mortals from immediately ending their lives. "Thus did the pernicious female sex come to be, a great misfortune for the male…She is the mother of the hordes of women who have become the ruin of mortal man." [Hesiod]. "Pandora" ("all-giving") may have been an early epithet of the earth mother Gaea, but this image was subsequently transformed into a profoundly misogynistic myth. According to Hyginus, Pyrrha, Pandora's daughter, was the first mortal woman to be born (i.e., not molded by Hephaestus). In the Greek legend of the Great Flood, she and her husband Deucalion are the two who survive. (Biedermann)

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