Prometheus stole fire from Mt Olympus and gave it to the human race. Zeus sought reprisal. He ordered Hephaestus (the god of metalwork and volcanoes) to create Pandora, the “beautiful evil,” to punish humans for receiving the stolen gift. Other gods contributed too – Athena taught Pandora to weave and gave her clothes, Hermes gave her speech and a deceitful nature, and Aphrodite gave her grace. The poet Hesiod writes that Pandora carries with her a jar that contains “burdensome toil and sickness that brings death to men.” The word ‘jar’ has been mistranslated to ‘box,’ and is most commonly depicted as a box.
Prometheus warned his brother Epimetheus not to accept any gifts from Zeus, but of course, he accepted Pandora when Zeus brought her over. She promptly opened her jar of evils and unleashed them on the human race. Pandora is a classic femme fatale. There is a strong parallel between her story and that of Eve in the bible; both stories blame woman for everything that is wrong in the world.