Pandora's Box

Pandora was the first woman.

Prometheus had stolen fire and had given it to man. Zeus decided to even things up a bit by introducing disease, death, and sorrow. Until then, mankind had lived life in a paradise without worry. Zeus' punishment to mankind was woman.

Pandora was molded out of clay by Hephaestus, clothed by Athena , and adorned by the Graces. Aphrodite gave her beauty; Apollo, musical talent and a gift for healing; Demeter taught her to tend a garden; Poseidon gave her the ability never to drown. She received curiosity from Hera, and cunning, boldness, and charm from Hermes. Zeus gave her insatiable curiosity and mischievousness. Her name, Pandora ("all gifts"), derives from the fact that she received gifts from all deities.

Pandora was “given” to Prometheus' brother, the Titan Epimetheus. Along with Pandora came her dowry in the form of a jar (mistranslated as a box in the 16th century). Even though her husband warned her not to, curiosity overcame her and she opened the jar/box anyway. All the miseries and misfortunes of mankind were instantly released. Only hope remained in the box.

In modern times, Pandora's Box has become a metaphor for the unanticipated consequences of technical and scientific development. In this version, Pandora is releasing the combined “misfortunes” created by the 30 largest corporations in America as represented by the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

At least there's still Hope - right?

Read the excerpt from Longfellow's 1875 poem and tell me - could that not have been written today?

Inspired by JW Waterhouse's
"Pandora" 1896
Oil on canvas 60 x 36 inches
(152 x 91 cm)
Collection Lord Lloyd-Webber

Chorus of Dreams From the Gate of Horn.
from "The Masque of Pandora" 1875

Yes, the moment shall decide!
It already hath decided;
And the secret once confided
To the keeping of the Titan
Now is flying far and wide,
Whispered, told on every side,
To disquiet and to frighten. 

Fever of the heart and brain,
Sorrow, pestilence, and pain,
Moans of anguish, maniac laughter,
All the evils that hereafter
Shall afflict and vex mankind,
All into the air have risen
From the chambers of their prison;
Only Hope remains behind.

-- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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