ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Books, Literature, and Writing»
  • Books & Novels»
  • Fiction

Pandora's Box: Meanings and Themes in My New Novel

Updated on August 16, 2013

Love, loyalty, heartbreak, hope...

In Greek mythology, Pandora was the first mortal woman, daughter of Hephaestus and Athena, though her begetting is rather curious. Hephaestus was an inventor, master of fire, metals and metallurgy. He ruled over volcanoes, where he worked with his assistants, the Cyclopes. Although he was deformed, Hephaestus was able to attract women of great beauty, which is why he won the heart of Athena.

One of the great goddesses, Athena was the daughter of Zeus and Metis. When she grew up, Athena became a warrior, and is usually depicted armed with a spear and aegis, a kind of shield made of goatskin. She presided over the arts and literature, and was closely linked with philosophy. She was also the patroness of household activities, like spinning, weaving and embroidery. A prolific builder and inventor, Athena paid a visit to Hephaestus, needing his help to supply her with weapons.

Immediately, Hephaestus fell in love with her and as punishment, Zeus (Athena’s father) ordered him to fashion a mortal from clay, hence Pandora. Every god and goddess endowed Pandora with a special grace; beauty, dexterity, and so on – the name Pandora actually means “many gifts”. Curiously, Hephaestus bequeathed his daughter the ability to lie and deceive. However, he was acting on the instruction of Zeus, who intended Pandora as a punishment for mankind.

Zeus sent Pandora to Epimetheus, who was seduced by her beauty and married her. In Hesiod’s version of the story, the box opened by Pandora was actually a Greek urn or jar. In my novel, Pandora’s Box, the box acquired by protagonist Caitlin Brewer is a cassone or decorative trunk, a miniature of the type of casket presented to Florentine brides in the 1400s. The cassone was filled with linens for their future lives as wives and mothers. As part of the betrothal, the bride, cassone and other treasures were carried in procession to the home of her groom.

Such caskets, several of which still exist, were decorated highly, often gilded and painted with classical allegories, pointing out the perils of infidelity and betrayal. Caitlin’s trunk is a miniature replica of a cassone, neither very old nor valuable, but one that she connects emotionally with. It is decorated with figures recounting the tale of Admetus and Alcestis, a couple who meet with misfortune when Admetus fails to make a sacrifice to goddess Artemis on his wedding day.

In my story, I deliberately replaced a Greek urn with an Italian artefact, since that object connects with the Renaissance history that Caitlin goes on to study. The plot is set in the present day and the theme of sacrifice recurs throughout the story, as Caitlin and other characters learn lessons about love, loyalty and friendship. Suzette's summoning by her father to Monte Carlo and her subsequent marriage to Toni Hubert equates with Persephone's abduction to the Underworld by her uncle, Hades. Persephone's mother, Demeter, schemes for her return to the land of the living, just as Caitlin schemes to separate Suzette from her new life. By the end of the story, Caitlin has found hope, the same hope that the mythical Pandora found at the bottom of her urn, when all the ills of the world had escaped among mankind. Pandora’s Box is published on Amazon Kindle (ISBN 978-0-9559419-4-8) and I do hope that readers enjoy it.

Sources

Complete Book of Greek Mythology by Richard Buxton

Penguin Dictionary of Classical Mythology by Pierre Grimal


Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Mary Phelan profile image
      Author

      Mary Phelan 3 years ago from London

      I quote from my feature "the theme of sacrifice recurs throughout the story, as Caitlin and other characters learn lessons about love, loyalty and friendship. "

      This is actually a theme in the novel, rather than the feature, which is simply about the novel. I hope this clarifies everything.

      Best wishes.

    • profile image

      rosa22 3 years ago

      what is the theme?

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)