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Epimetheus is responsible for giving a positive trait to each and every animal. However, when it is time to give man a positive trait, there is nothing left. Prometheus, his brother, feels that because man is superior to all other animals, man should have a gift no other animal possesses. So Prometheus sets forth to steal fire from Zeus and hands it over to man.
Zeus is enraged and has Pandora made as a poisoned gift for man. Pandora is given several traits from the different gods: Hephaestus molds her out of clay and gives her form ; Aphrodite gives her beauty; and Apollo gives her musical talent, and a gift for healing. Hermes then gives Pandora a box and tells her never to open it; then he gives her curiosity!
Prometheus warns Epimetheus not to take any gifts from the gods. Epimetheus doesn’t listen to his brother, however, and when Pandora arrives, he falls in love with her and they are eventually married.
Until then, mankind lived a life in a paradise without a worry in the world. Epimetheus told Pandora never to open the box from Zeus. However, one day, Pandora’s curiosity gets the better of her and she opens it anyway releasing all the misfortunes of mankind (plague, sorrow, poverty, crime, etc.) She only shut it in time to keep one thing in the box: hope. So the world is extremely bleak for some unspecified interval, until Pandora “chances” to revisit the box again, at which point Hope then flutters out. Thus mankind always has hope in times of evil, but Hope has a great deal of catching up to do. (see also Garden of Eden)
Some scholars contend that Pandora’s “box” may have been a mistranslation, and instead her “box” may have been a large jar, forged from the earth. In fact, there is some evidence that suggests Pandora herself was the jar. It was common in history to have jars with the image of women on them.