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University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Analysis of Hesiod on Pandora Essay

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Analysis of Hesiod on Pandora Essay


The earliest surviving versions of the story of Pandora are found in the works of Hesiod that we are reading for this course. I say ‘versions’ rather than ‘version’ because the version in Theogony (lines 572-616 in the Stanley Lombardo translation) differs in some apparently minor but actually significant ways from the version in Works & Days (lines 70-124). Your goal in this written analysis is to compare these two versions carefully, analyze the implications of the differences, develop an argument about their significance, and support your argument with specific evidence from the texts. Follow these steps.

A. Brainstorm

1. Carefully compare the two accounts and note any differences. Do any of these differences seem particularly significant?

2. One of the versions lacks one of the most famous elements of the story. Which element is that, and which version lacks it?

3. In both versions, Hesiod presents Pandora as the instrument of Zeus’ punishment of mankind following on Prometheus’ theft of fire. But the punishment itself is not exactly the same in the two versions. What is the punishment in Theogony? What is the punishment in Works & Days?

B. Write the Paper

4. Sketch an outline for your paper that organizes your answers to these questions into a clearly structured comparison of the two versions of the Pandora story. Your comparison should cover what you consider to be the most significant differences, along with your reasons for regarding them as significant and your explanation of what their significance is. (Because this is a short paper, you do not need to take into account possible counterarguments, but can focus solely on arguing for and supporting your own analysis.)

5. On the basis of your outline, write a short paper (3 pages, 1,000 words) in which you compare the two versions, analyze the implications of their differences, develop an argument about their significance, and support your argument with specific evidence from the texts. Note the following.

a. Do not use any secondary sources for this paper other than the class materials. Your work should be based on your own careful reading of these two passages from Hesiod’s poems.

b. Include specific citations of Hesiod’s text. Cite the text in the following format: Hesiod, Theogony, lines 123-124. Include your citations in parentheses in the text; there is no need for footnotes. There is also no need for a ‘works cited’ section unless you are using a translation other than the one assigned for the course.


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