Pandora – by the Pre-Raphaelite painter John William Waterhouse
The jar conundrum.
It starts with Prometheus, who steals fire from Zeus to give it to humans (Prometheus is like a Science and Culture Hero). Zeus of course is enraged when he discovers this and punishes everybody. He chains Prometheus to a rock and has an eagle eat his liver, but every single day the liver gets regenerated, so the loops goes on and on like that for years. Zeus also punishes mankind by making… well… the first woman (the first one to talk about Pandora is Hesiod I believe, who was a huge misogynist). In a very “Eve” sort of way that first woman brings a lot of calamity (which means that from there onwards we get sick, old and must work). Zeus sends Pandora with the jar as a gift to Epimetheus, the brother of Prometheus. Even when he had been warned by Prometheus to accept no gift from Zeus he still was like OMG i am never 2BZ4UQT, and marries her. Pandora then opens the jar and old age, vice and all the problems we can imagine fly out of it. But here is the interesting thing: When Pandora closes the jar, Hope remains inside. What does that mean? Nobody knows for sure, and interpretations abound. Some believe that it was Hope that kept us alive, despite all the terrible evils that came out of the jar. Others think that Hope only makes us delusional, stupidly expecting things to get better (like Nietzsche loved to point out). It is interesting that Hope was inside the jar with all the other evils, as if it was one more of them (but then why does it remain inside the jar and not fly away with all the other ones?)