What is the symbolism behind Pandora's Box?

  • The myth of Pandora is basically the story of a woman who is given a box by the gods, and told not to open it. Of course, she opens the box, and evil is released to the world.

    Is it possible that the box represents a womb? I think that makes a lot of sense, because it's a cavity with an opening, and things come out of it (that were never seen on earth before). The myth also is a commentary on gender, because it's a woman who releases evil to the world, and Pandora's husband is at fault only because he is stupid enough to marry her.

    "Pandora is able to come down to earth because she tricks a man into marrying her" — sorry, I'm not familiar with that bit of the myth. I thought Pandora (whose name means "gift of the gods") was a gift-punishment for Epimetheus? http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0132%3Acard%3D83 *She* doesn't do any of the trickery; the gods make her so beautiful Epimetheus can't resist her, and then they give her curiosity she can't overcome and a box/jar she's not supposed to open.

    @LaurenIpsum I suppose so: I removed the part where I said *she* was the person who tricked her husband. That said, I think the rest of my points still stand.

    well, pandora+box in greek mytology = eva+apple in christian bible.The analogy is exaclty the same, imo

  • DukeZhou

    DukeZhou Correct answer

    5 years ago

    It is 100% supportable that the "box" represents the womb in Hesiod's version of the myth from his Theogony. In brief:

    • In the Theogony, Hesiod never mentions any vessel save Pandora herself.

    • Pandora is cast as the mother of the "race of women" who were created to vex men (i.e. they are the source of evil named by Hesiod in the Theogony.)

    • In other versions of the myth, no "box" is mentioned, but instead a pithou meaning "jar" for wine or oil. (If wine, it could represent blood, and oil is a lubricant.)

    • The idea of woman as vessel is a major point in Apollo's notorious arguments in Orestes' defense in The Eumenides, demonstrating the existence of this concept in Ancient Greek thought.

    You can find a more detailed explanation of this element of the myth here, as well as a discussion of the possible meaning in Aesop and Hesiod.

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