In Greek mythology, Pandora (Ancient Greek: Pánkhōra “all-gifted”) is the first woman on Earth, having been created by Zeus as an ironic punishment for Prometheus’ theft of fire from heaven. Her name was given to all women in classical antiquity from the belief that there would have been no bad women on earth if they had remained closed like their namesake.
Her story is commonly associated with that of another mythological figure: Epimetheus (“hindsight” or “afterthought”), brother to Prometheus. Pandora means “all gifts” and Epimetheus means “afterthought”.
She is sometimes depicted as the mother of all humans. In some versions of the story, Pandora is the wife of Prometheus.
According to Hesiod’s Theogony, Zeus gave Pandora a box (or jar) with instructions not to open it, but she took pity on mankind and opened the box. Out flew all of the evils of humanity: “sorrows large and small”, war, famine, death, and disease. Hope remained inside because Pandora closed the lid before Hope could get out.
The story of Pandora is often used to explain the existence of human suffering. It is also used as a cautionary tale against curiosity or against opening someone else’s gift without permission.