By Mackenzie Platt,
Scott Herrick, and
• Pandora’s “box” is not a BOX! It is a JAR.
A mistranslation in the mid 1500s led to
this common misconception.
The Basic Story
• Zeus decides to punish
the people for the stolen
gift of fire, so he decides
to create women. The first
woman is named Pandora
meaning “all-gifted.” She
is given to Epimetheus as
his wife, along with a
sealed jar that Zeus
commands to never open.
Pandora’s curiosity tugs at
her, and eventually she
opens the jar, unleashing
all evil into the world. The
only thing left in the jar is
• Pandora’s jar represents
any object or situation that
seems harmless and even
beautiful on the outside but
holds a menacing potential
for evil within.
• Pandora is seen as a
metaphor of the jar. She is
beautiful and “all-gifted” on
the outside but she is the
one who lets out all the evil
in the world.
Places in Literature
• The story of Pandora can be
compared to the Biblical story of
Eve. According to Christianity,
Eve was the first woman and she
could not resist her curiosity and
partook of the apple thus
releasing sin into the world.
• In The Odyssey when Odysseus
decides to listen to the Sirens he
is showing extreme curiosity but
it differs from Pandora’s story in
the fact that he takes proper
precautions (tying himself to the
mast) to evade catastrophe.
• The Skeleton Key: The main character
in this movie found a key and couldn’t
resist her curiosity of what was behind
the door, even though she had received
misgivings concerning it. When she
went beyond the door a world of
witchcraft awaited her.
• Willy Wonka: Each kid in this story
decides to eat a piece of candy which
seems harmless and delicious on the
outside but holds chaos within. (2:40)
How It Matters
• The story of Pandora is a lesson in controlling
curiosity. Due to Pandora’s curiosity, all that is
evil is present in the world. She was told time
and time again not to open the box, but she
does so anyway. If she had more self-control,
evil and pain would still be trapped inside the jar.
• This makes us ponder on the things that appear
good in the world and to think about the
consequences of our actions.
• Also this story puts a negative denotation on
women in the world as do other stories as this
one is retold in different ways.
• We also have to wonder if hope is trapped in the
jar, or is hope what we have left after the evil?
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