PANDORA’S BOX – 2012
ORIGINAL PAINTING HAND-PAINTED IN BLACK CALLIGRAPHY INK ON PAPER BY EMMA J V HOGG
PRINT DIMENSIONS | UNFRAMED –
A4 – 21 X 29.7 CM / 8 X 12″
A3 – 29.7 x 42 CM / 12 x 16.5″
A2 – 42 x 59.4 CM / 16.5 x 23.4″
‘Pandora’s Box’ – Greek mythology – End of days myth
A summary of the Greek myth of Pandora is as follows:
Pandora, meaning “all gifts”, was the first woman in Greek mythology to appear on earth.
She was made by the god Hephaestus out of clay at Zeus’ command to have revenge on the race of man. Zeus hated mankind, regarding them as potential rivals. And he was angry that man had the gift of fire, stolen from the gods by Prometheus. He sought to punish man by releasing all of the misfortunes that could be on earth.
The gods and goddesses gifted to Pandora surpassing beauty, charm, graciousness while also cunning, trickery and a deceitful nature.
She was given a sealed vase to take to earth, forbidden to know the contents and told never to open it.
Wise Prometheus resisted her beauty, suspecting Zeus’ trickery and warned Epimetheus to be wary of a gift from the gods.
Epimetheus took Pandora as his bride and told her never to look inside the jar. But Pandora’s curiosity, gifted to her by the gods, was stronger than her caution and she opened the jar releasing all forms of suffering, evil, conflict and disease of humankind onto the earth.
Only hope remained in the jar. It was hope that enabled mankind to go on living despite all adversity.
The Pandora myth first appears in lines 560–612 of the Greek poet Hesiod’s poem, the Theogony in the 8th-7th centuries BC. While not being named as Pandora until the more famous version of the myth from another of Hesiod’s poems, Works and Days, dated to around 700 BC.
The myth of Pandora accounts for the evil in the world, explaining why it exists. It aids in our comprehension of the hardship and suffering of humankind.
The hope referred to in the myth may be interpreted as a false hope, the delusion that persuades mankind to struggle on against the trial, pain and injustice of their world. A gift from Zeus.
The curse of Pandora is more than the evil she released onto the earth. The very existence of women was also a curse on men, who before them had existed without effort or sorrow. Women were to be a subtle curse as man cannot be satisfied with or without her. In woman they found a companion, but also untold woes.
The “box” of Pandora’s myth was actually a vase or jar. The mistranslation of the Greek word pithos, (large jar), as pyx, (box), is attributed to the 16th century humanist Erasmus of Rotterdam while translating Hesiod’s story of Pandora into Latin. The phrase “Pandora’s box” has endured since.
Pandora herself can be seen in many different lights. As a female she embodies the fertility of the earth, its ability to bear fruit and grain for humans. She was also deeply saddened by her act of releasing evil and afraid of Zeus’ wrath in her failure to keep the jar sealed. She had been an innocent used by Zeus as a bringer of evil. But the evil of the world was released by Pandora’s curiosity. She is forever known as the giver of gifts, good and bad.
The evils from the jar are often seen in Greek mythology as Keres, female death spirits. They are the daughters of Nyx, the goddess of the night, who is only seen in the shadows of the world. The Keres, or “Black Ker”, are dark winged beings, with gnashing teeth and sharp claws.
There are strong similarities between Pandora and Eve from the story of Genesis. In both stories the first woman being central in the story of change from an original state of ease to one of suffering brought about by an act of revenge for the violation of a divine law.
Animals do not appear in this myth. I see them watching the scene unfold, passing judgement on the actions of gods and men. And stoically awaiting their fate in the aftermath.
Written by Emma J V Hogg