08 December 2017
story of how it all began in Hesiod’s Theogony,
and in the Biblical book of Genesis exposes
similarities that I instantly picked up on. Hesiod and Genesis share the same
order of events: mankind exists in alongside heavenly beings in utopia where
there is just; a woman is introduced into this utopian world; the actions of
the woman produces the loss of before said utopia. This pattern is used by both
works of literature. The chronology gives
readers an explanation of problems such as chaos and turmoil that exist during
the time period written, and Hesiod and Genesis credit the first woman with
these problems. In a journal article Published
by The Johns Hopkins University Press, the author declares that “It is especially
striking that the biblical explanation of evil is so similar to that supplied
by classical mythology (Glenn 179)” and I agree with this statement. Throughout
the most ancient works of literature, the original action was done by man but it
seems that a man’s faults are all scapegoated by woman. With that being said, we
may ask the question of: Why both Greco- Roman and Judeo- Christian accounts of
creation depict woman as the root of man’s evil?
Theogony, Hesiod tells the not so known story of Pandora. “While in Theogony her
name is not mentioned… her anonymity is significant (Wickkiser 559). Hesiod
refers to the first woman as a “lovely evil…From her is the race of female
women, from her is the deadly race and tribes of women, a great plague to
mortals (Theogony 585).” Pandora’s beauty makes her striking and desirable to
men, but she is also deceitful or evil not just by her actions, but by her traits
below that beautiful façade. Since Pandora is the first human woman, she then
passes these traits to all other women.
Genesis, the fall of mankind is of course: blamed on a woman despite the facts
of the event. Eve is influenced by a serpent to eat a fruit on a tree in the
Garden of Eden, which she shares with Adam (Genesis 3.1 – 3.6). When God
realizes what they have done, he punishes them similar to Zeus punishing Prometheus.
Many theories can corroborate to the fact that since Eve ate the fruit first
she is to blame for what came after.
despite these similarities, Eve and Pandora are in some ways different. Eve was
created from one of Adams’ ribs and is thought to be virtuous. This is believed
because Eve is from the same material that created Adam. Pandora, conversely,
is basically different from man. I figured this because throughout Theogony, Hesiod does not give a background
of how man came to be but Pandora’s attributes from the gods, her beauty and
deceitfulness, makes her a separate individual. However, Eve is meant to be a
companion for Adam. To say that Pandora was a gift is ironic in this case
because how can a punishment be a gift. Theogony exposes this irony, by calling
her evil for man and with the instance with the jar indicating her deceitful
nature. Neither work specifies if Pandora actually undergoes suffering
alongside man. Eve, however, is a victim of her actions as much as Adam is, and
these two suffer together, if not wholly in the same way.
Despite their inherent
differences, I do believe they are similar in how they are portrayed as the “less
significant” sex. Despite Eve being created from Adam, she was not created of
an entirely new framework such as Adam, as if she was not important enough to
do so. Both Pandora and Eve were created secondly-both as “extras”; Pandora as
a punishment and Eve as a companion for a lonely Adam. Women did not seem to be
in the larger plan for humanity and after being created they became a nuisance
Moreover, I think that the most obvious
difference between the two figures is in the purpose of their creation. Pandora
is intentionally created to be a “good evil” (Hesiod, Theogony 585), but Eve is
intended to be a companion to lonely Adam. I think that the difference in their
particular creators’ purposes might be demonstrative of how society views the
entire gender. Even though Eve did eat the apple, she was set by God to be
something moral for Adam. However, Pandora was never intended to be a generosity
to humanity. From her very beginning, she was malevolently intended. Maybe it
says something with the Greeks were woman were never seen in a positive way.
Her creation was the beginning of downfall for Man, according to the Greeks.
Eve, however, was the type of gift that needed to have a “return to sender”
sticker. She later proved herself to be a faulty person when she was intended
to bring happiness. Today, women are still seen as the “lesser” sex but let us
not forget all that women have accomplished since then hopefully putting an end
to the age-old myth that woman are the weaker sex.
Glenn, Justin. “Pandora and
Eve: Sex as the Root of all Evil.” The Classical World, vol.
71, no. 3, 1977, pp. 179-185.
Hesiod, Apostolos N. Athanassakis,
and Apostolos N. H. Athanassakis. Theogony ; Works and Days ; Shield:
Hesiod ; Introduction, Translation, and Notes by Apostolos N.
Athanassakis. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore,
The New Oxford
Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha. Eds. Michael D. Coogan, Marc Z. Brettler, Carol
A. Newsom and Pheme Perkins. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010. Print. New
Revised Standard Version.
Wickkiser, Bronwen L. “Hesiod
and the Fabricated Woman: Poetry and Visual Art in the Theogony.”
Mnemosyne, vol. 63, no. 4, 2010, pp. 557-576.