Study Guide

Prometheus and Pandora Suffering

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At its core, the myth of Prometheus and Pandora is an attempt to explain how suffering first entered the world. It just goes to show you that people have been struggling with this question forever.

Pretty much all the bad stuff that happens now happened way back in the day, too. People suffer from fear, depression, and anxiety. They die from terrible diseases. They're abducted by aliens. The point is that suffering has always been a part of the human experience on Earth. Not so uplifting, but don't worry. The story does have a silver lining: despite all the badness we have to put up with on this planet, the one thing they can't take away from us is hope.

Questions About Suffering

  1. Why do you think hope is included with all the bad stuff in the jar?
  2. The story lists toil and work as part of the terribleness that Pandora releases on the world, but some might argue that work is a good thing. What's your view? Why do you think so?
  3. Some people have theorized that this story is depicting hope itself as a form of suffering. What do you think about this? How might that point of view be reflected in the tale?

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