Pandora (mythology)

Pandora box
   Pandora, in Greek mythology, the first woman. She is the Eve of the ancients. According to one account she was made by Jupiter and sent to Prometheus and his brother Epimetheus to punish them for stealing fire from heaven. No pains were spared to make her perfect. Every god con­tributed. Venus gave her beauty; Mercury, the art of persuasion; Apollo gave her the gift of music. Prometheus was somewhat cautious about accepting a woman, but his brother was delighted to take the chances. The latter had a number of articles in a jar which he cautioned Pandora not to open. Pandora, however, could not restrain her curiosity. One day, when quite alone, she lifted the cover and peeped in. Out flew a number of the plagues of man, such as colic, gout, and rheumatism for his body; envy, spite, and revenge for his mind. Pan­dora replaced the lid quietly, but everything had escaped save hope. Hope still remains to this day to comfort mortals in the midst of their distress. A more common version of the legend runs to the effect that, on her wedding day, Jupiter gave Pandora a box in which each god had inclosed a blessing. Pandora, being filled with curiosity, opened the box incautiously and permitted the escape of all the blessings save hope. Ref­erence to Pandora's box is frequent in literature. The poet Longfellow uses the legend in his Masque of Pandora:
   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.