Pandora’s Box - Summary | Major English Grade XI

Rosalind Vallance

Pandora’s Box

At the beginning of the play, the world is free from any troubles. It has just begun. It is the world of perfect freedom where children can play safely. The clouds look like ships and the small river's murmur. All the gods and goddesses are happy. The world is lighted by the sun.

Pandora enters the stage first and plays with an imaginary ball. She plays with the ball like the gods and goddesses who play with the moon and the stars. Epimetheus enters and they throw the ball to each other. They are playing happily.

The leader of the chorus is worried. Then Hermes, the messenger of gods, enters there. He has worn silver shoes. The leader thinks he has come to bless the children. They all greet Hermes merrily ( खुशीसाथ ). He has come to Zeus's command. Hermes is carrying an imaginary box. Hermes smiles at the children and holds out the box. Pandora is fascinated by the box. It is the box of Sandalwood with cavern faces smiling curiously and writhing snakes around it. There is an amulet of gold on the lid. Hermes warns Pandora, then smiles and leaves.

Pandora and Epimetheus begin to play again but Pandora is still fascinated by the box. She hears a voice coming from it, speaking to her. Listening to the voices within, she lifts the box and looks at it. She hears evil voices requesting her to open the lid. She suddenly opens the box's lid. The troubles escape from the box and begin to attack her. Epimetheus comes running in. Pandora and Epimetheus manage to beat the troubles away. Epimetheus looks angrily and abusively at her. First, she challenges him, but later she hangs her head with shame.

The chorus explains that Pandora has let evil out of the box and it is impossible to put back again. Now peace and innocence have been lost forever. The people are sad, destroyed and unhappy. If someone had the power to hold the time's wheel and turn it back an hour, everybody would be happy. Pandora is very worried about her deed. But she listens to another voice again coming out from the box. When the box was opened a second time, "Hope" was released. "Hope" encourages them to be happy. This explains the world as it is today. There are troubles, but there is also hope.

Important Question Solutions:

1: What picture of human life do you see before Pandora opens the box? Is the world they live in young or old?
Ans: The world was trouble-free before she opened the box. Human life was very delightful. Everything was free and safe and could play merely. Children would play and dance in the garden. The world was young. There was not an evil sign. The wind was melodious and the air was very sweet and pleasing. There was no trace of unhappiness. Everything was happy and delightful.

2: What is rather sinister about Hermes?
Ans: Hermes brought an attractive Sandalwood box from heaven. Pandora was very much attracted to it. She could not stop herself from opening it. When she opened it, the Troubles came out into the world. Evil, fear, pain, misery, sadness, hunger diseases all released and made life horrible. All these things were trapped in the box that Hermes brought. This was very sinister about Hermes.

3: Do you think Epimetheus would have ever opened the box? Why? Why not?
Ans: No, I don't think Epimetheus would have ever opened the box. He was nervous when he found that Pandora was attracted by the box. He invited Pandora to play to prevent her from opening the box. When Pandora opened it and the evil escaped, he looked her reproachfully. So, he would have never opened the box.

4: What is the role of the Chorus in the play?
Ans: The role of the Chorus in the play is to sing as well as to dance in performances of Choral lyric poetry, usually under a leader. In addition to this, they also comment on the actions of the main character and about the situation and events.

5: What picture of the Greek gods do you get from this play?
Ans: Zeus, Appolo, Pan, and Hermes are the Greek Gods we find in the play. Hermes is the messenger of Zeus who brought the troubles, entrapped in a box, in the command of Zeus. Other gods don't have much role in the play. But from Zeus and Hermes, it is clear that Greek Gods are hostile towards human beings. They don't like the prosperous humanity ( सौभाग्यशाली मानवता ). So, Zeus sent the troubles to make the human condition miserable.

6: Without hope life would be intolerable. Explain.
Ans: In the beginning, there was no misery. All the people had a prosperous life. They were free and very happy. When God Zeus envied their happiness and sent troubles, life became very difficult. If there is not any remedy of difficulties, people don't like to live any longer.

We work in the hope of certain positive results of our deed. If there is no hope, we don't work. People tolerate everything in the hope of a bright future. It is hoped that encourages people to work. Life without hope would be very dull and non-creative.

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