Pandora’s box is an artifact in Greek mythology connected with the myth of Pandora in Hesiod’s Works and Days. The container mentioned in the original story was actually a large storage jar but the word was later mistranslated as “box.”
In modern times an idiom has grown from it meaning “Any source of great and unexpected troubles”, or alternatively “A present which seems valuable but which in reality is a curse.” Later depictions of the fatal container have been varied, while some literary and artistic treatments have focused more on the contents of the idiomatic box than on Pandora herself.
According to Hesiod, when Prometheus stole fire from heaven, Zeus, the king of the gods, took vengeance by presenting Pandora to Prometheus’ brother Epimetheus. Pandora opened a jar left in his care containing sickness, death and many other unspecified evils which were then released into the world. Though she hastened to close the container, only one thing was left behind – usually translated as Hope, though it could also have the pessimistic meaning of “deceptive expectation”.
From this story has grown the idiom “to open (a) Pandora’s box”, meaning to do or start something that will cause many unforeseen problems. Its modern, more colloquial equivalent is “to open a can of worms”.
Something I had longed to do but had never really gotten around to it, my Pandora and this box were meant to be. HMUA by Emma Marietta.