|“||After thousands of years, Pandora's Box was finally opened. The power of the Gods unleashed.||”|
Pandora's Box was an artifact in Greek Mythology. The "box" was actually a large jar (πιθος pithos), that was given to Pandora. Pandora was told not to open it by any means necessary, but, due to her ever-growing curiosity, she opened it and out of the vase came great evils which spread widely across the Earth.
However, before closing the box, Pandora also discovered a power called Hope in it. She then reopened it in an effort to aid mankind, and released Hope to the world as well.
In God of War Series
Pandora's Box was created by Hephaestus, by the order of Zeus, to contain the Evils created by the Titanomachy. After he knew that no mere metal could contain the Evils of the World, Hephaestus forged the Box out of a Power greater than that of the Gods: the Flame of Olympus. The Flame, as lethal as it was beautiful, would kill all who dared touch it, and therefore, was the perfect safeguard for the Box. The key to pacifying the Flame was a child that Hephaestus had created from the flame itself - Pandora. After he knew that Zeus would take Pandora from him, Hephaestus tricked Zeus into believing that placing the Box on the back of Cronos would be the safest place, thereby saving Pandora, and condemning Cronos to a life of agony.
The brilliant architect, Pathos Verdes III, was tasked to build a temple in order to house the Box, which ensured that none would be able to reach it. Over time, he descended into madness, and Pandora's Temple's puzzles grew more vicious and complex, accordingly. He eventually committed suicide, which left the temple somewhat unfinished.
Although many would-be heroes and treasure seekers fell to the traps of Pandora's Temple seeking the Box, only Kratos claimed the powerful artifact in order to kill Ares. As he found it, however, it was immediately stolen by Harpies as Ares himself slew Kratos. The God of War then chained the Box to his wrist and threatened to unleash it on Mount Olympus itself.
However, Kratos returned from the Underworld due to the help of the mysterious Grave Digger and reclaimed the Box from Ares using Zeus' Fury. At long last, Kratos opened it, drew from its power, which allowed him to meet Ares in battle and eventually kill him with the Blade of the Gods. That would seemingly bring the role of Pandora's Box to an end, but that was not so, for the power of the Box would still rest in Kratos even after he became the new God of War.
Unbeknownst to Kratos, the opening of the Box had grave consequences on the world. After Pandora's Box was opened, the Evils of the Titanomachy escaped and infected the Gods, which caused them to become paranoid and power-hungry. Zeus himself fell prey to his own Evil-Fear, which caused him to begin his campaign to kill Kratos for fear of falling victim to The Cycle that his own father had started all those years ago. He grew obsessed with the prophecy that foretold the destruction of Olympus by Mortal hands. Those fears seemed to be accurate since Kratos was angry about the lie that the Gods had done to him, in which they forgave his crimes, yet refused to remove his nightmares. However, despite all those fears and reasonable thoughts, it would be Zeus's actions that caused Kratos to want to act out of revenge.
In God of War III, it was revealed that this Fear also motivated Zeus to confront Hephaestus about how Kratos had retrieved the Box from the seemingly-unassailable hiding place atop Cronos. Beating the Smith God horribly, he learned of Pandora's role as a key to the Flame of Olympus-the true safest place to hide the Box-and took Pandora away from Hephaestus while he turned him into a crippled monster and left him in the torment of The Forge. Also in God of War III, it was revealed that Zeus had feared that Kratos would seek help from Cronos, and, so, banished him to the Pit of Tartarus.
Pandora's Box was never really seen or mentioned in God of War II, but its role in corrupting the Gods set the stage for the game, as fear of Kratos led to Zeus' attempt to kill him, which, in turn, spurred Kratos to seek vengeance on the King of the Gods as well as the Olympians of the Mortal World, and eventually destroy Mount Olympus.
Pandora's Box played a central role in God of War III, where Kratos again sought it in order to gain power to kill Zeus and destroy Olympus. Along the way, he confronted and destroyed most of the infected Gods, which caused the Evils within them to be released into the world as plagues or disasters. Kratos eventually discovered the Box that was placed within the Flame of Olympus, and was told by Athena's Astral Form to seek out Pandora, in order to calm the Fires.
Eventually after killing many Gods, and reaching the Chamber of the Flame next to the Throne of Mount Olympus, Kratos succeeded in dispelling the Flame (fighting Zeus and sacrificing Pandora in the process), but found the Box empty, which caused Zeus to mock Kratos for "another stunning failure". That revelation only strengthened his rage and desire for vengeance on Zeus, and he eventually fought Zeus again, and, with the Blade of Olympus, struck what seemed to be a fatal blow on the King of the Gods while inside the Titaness, Gaia, which also killed her. However, Zeus released a ghost-like projection of himself from his body, which began to attack Kratos with a powerful blast that knocked all of his weapons and armor down and then by infecting him with Fear, the same Evil that corrupted the King of the Gods, and thus forced him to feel the fear and pain of his many victims, as well as his own, long-buried guilt over all of the terrible things that he had done in his life like killing his wife, Lysandra, his child, Calliope and his sister, Athena.
As Zeus' spiritual image attacked Kratos and infected his mind, the Spartan withdrew into his own Psyche, guided by the spirit of Pandora. After he absolved himself of his sins, Kratos was able to unlock the power that Athena had told him to find that was symbolized by his Astral Form opening Pandora's Box, used it to kill Zeus for good, and thus, the Lighting of the World was unleashed.
Shortly after Zeus' death, Athena revealed that years ago when Zeus gathered all the Evil and trapped them in the Box, she placed the "most Powerful weapon in the world" in the Box, the Power of Hope, to counteract the Evils in case it was opened again (she later revealed that she anticipated on the moment that Pandora's Box would be opened). The first time Kratos opened the box, Athena believed that the power of Hope to remain inside, while Kratos drew from the Evils. In truth, however, Athena realized that Kratos had actually accessed Hope, while the Evils corrupted the Gods including Zeus which caused him to be obsessed with Kratos's death. Until his confrontation with Zeus, Kratos had been unable to use the Power freely, because it was trapped beneath his overwhelming hatred, guilt, sins, and failures of his past, but that it was freed, she could reclaim it and use it to reshape the world. In response, however, Kratos impaled himself on the Blade of Olympus, released Hope to the world, and completed the escape of the powers that were once held in Pandora's Box.
According to Athena and Hephaestus, Pandora's Box contained the Evils of the World & the Human Race, which were created in the wake of the Titanomachy. Exactly what that meant was never truly explored, but that did not appear to encompass all of the World's flaws; ample amounts of anger, cruelty, and other negative traits were apparent in the series long before Kratos opened the Box.
However, Athena claimed that the Evils within the Box could destroy the World if left unchecked, which implied that the powers within Pandora's Box may have been extremely potent versions of natural negative traits that were focused to unnaturally destructive levels by the widespread violence of the Titanomachy.
- Anger/Violence - Poseidon: Acted and fought Kratos in extreme anger and rage for his crimes, like the destruction of Atlantis, his beloved city, that was caused by Kratos when he released Thera. In a note that was left for his Princess in Poseidon's Chamber that appeared in God of War III, Poseidon also apologized for making her the subject of his rage, which showed how he had been very angry during that period, but realized that (something his brethren didn't). Poseidon, in his letter, also doubted that Pandora, a child, deserved such cruelty and that Zeus was no longer the brother that he once knew.
- Mischief/Pride - Hermes: Took pride in his own speed and mocked and bullied Kratos about his lack of speed and brutality.
- Pride/Deceit/Slander - Helios: Acted proud and later, when he was defeated, pled to Kratos to spare his life; and tried to trick Kratos into entering the Flame of Olympus by lying to him. Helios also said that Hephaestus, the one who told Kratos not to believe him and that the Flame killed all who touched it, was a freak that was exiled from Olympus, and thus also represented the evil or sin of Slander.
- Gluttony/Sloth - Hera: Behaved in a lazy, unenthusiastic way and drank alcohol casually. Also became obsessed with having Zeus' illegitimate children kill each other off in gladiator style fights.
- Fear/Obsession/Treachery - Zeus: Behaved in a paranoid manner, and became obsessed with killing Kratos for fear of being overthrown. Also, Zeus betrayed a lot of his family members and used them more as pawns then as brethren in the fight against Kratos. Though, later on in the final battle, Zeus was freed by the evil when Kratos beat him to death.
- Greed/Selfishness - Athena: Tried to usurp the Power of Hope from Kratos in order to use it for herself to become the only Goddess. That Evil was only shown when she was a spirit.
- Hate/Rage - Hades: Hated Kratos in a very irrational way, perhaps for having killed his wife, Persephone. That hatred then grew when Kratos killed Hades' niece, Athena, and Hades' brother, Poseidon.
- Lust/Vanity - Aphrodite: Controlled by carnal desires, she turned her handmaidens into sexual slaves by her powers and even helped Kratos only for pleasure with him. Her sexual obsession blinded her from problems of the rest of the world. She also deemed her husband, Hephaestus "worthless" and constantly cheated on him with multiple men and women. However, those traits might not have been from the plague and instead may have been natural traits, since she was the Goddess of Sex and Pleasure, however, it could be that the plague had emphasized her traits or it had infected her servants before reached it Aphrodite.
- Envy/Jealousy - Hercules: Full of jealousy and resentment for Kratos for the way that they both did penance for the Gods, but Kratos had more fame than he did, which resulted in Hercules wanting to take the title of God of War for himself.
- Misery/Deceit - Hephaestus: Full of sadness and depression after Zeus tortured and disfigured him, took Pandora away from him, and forced him to work in The Forge. Then, in order to protect Pandora from Kratos, he lied about helping him in his quest to kill Zeus and then sent Kratos on a suicide mission to bring the Omphalos Stone from the Pit of Tartarus (which still resided in Cronos' Stomach) so that Hepaestus could build Kratos a new weapon: the Nemesis Whip. However, Hephaestus tried to use the new weapon as a conduit of electricity to kill Kratos with his ring, only to have Kratos use the Whip to impale him with his own anvil.
- Hope (Kratos): Obtained the Power of Hope to kill Zeus and the Gods and destroy Olympus and had his eyes opened to the Chaos that he caused.
- Hope (Pandora): Told Kratos that "As the fear in the Gods rose, mine was replaced by Hope". She referred to the time that Kratos opened the Box to kill Ares, the fallen God of War. It was that Hope that helped her to endure the loss and the torture of her father and her prison in the Labyrinth until she was rescued by Kratos.
- Hope (Athena): While she never actually used the Power herself, Athena was the one who placed the Power within the Box along with the many Evils and feared the time of when it would be opened. After, she was consumed by Greed and thus killed Kratos with the Blade of Olympus after the Spartan sacrificed himself to release Hope to the World. In the end, maybe the Goddess' spirit finally found Hope and with it, peace.
- God of War III: Ultimate Edition was made available in a scaled replica of Pandora's Box. It contained 3 CD OST's in paper sleeves, one for each main title released up to that point.
- Pandora's Box, along with Olympian-forged weapons (such as the Blade of Olympus, the Blade of the Gods, and the Gauntlet of Zeus), were the only known ways for a mortal to kill a God. Pandora's Box gave whoever opened it the powers to slay a God (along with other abilities, such as increasing their size dramatically) but it was the weapons that allowed a human to truly kill a God.
- It was possible that since Pandora was created to extinguish the Flame of Olympus and thus made Pandora's Box reachable, Pandora was almost a "key" not only to the Powers inside of it but what the powers did and how to use them, as she explained to Kratos.
- Pandora's Box's depiction in God of War showed that the lid had visages of tormented souls on it. In God of War III, it was replaced with images of emaciated hands and horned demons.
- In Mythology, the Gods used the Evils of Pandora's Box to punish humanity for Prometheus' crime of giving fire to the mortals and created the first human female - Pandora, and ensured that she would eventually open the Box to bring about Man's downfall. In the game, the Evils were seen as a threat to both humanity and the Olympians, and thus were sealed to never again bring harm to the world; Furthermore, the background story also provided an origin for where the Evils came from - The Great War, unlike the original myths, which never stated where they were created or how they came to be. In an ironic inversion of the original myths, it was a mortal (Kratos), who unleashes the Evils upon the Gods, rather than the other way around.
- Additionally, the leveling-up screen's background in God of War III contained designs that were found on the Box.
- In Greek Mythology, Pandora's Box was actually a Greek storage vase known as a pithos. In Roman Mythology however, it was a box. Furthermore, due to most people knowing it in the Roman Myth, it was possibly made into a box and not a pithos in the game.
- It was clearly unknown how Zeus was freed by the Evil, Fear, from Pandora's Box when Kratos was beating him down as the other Gods were killed but weren't seen being freed by the Evils, though a possibility was that when Kratos achieved the power of Hope, he was able to dispel Fear from Zeus.
- The only individuals who didn't seem to be affected by the Evils of Pandora's Box (that Kratos accidentally released) were Thanatos, the Titans, Gaia, Athena (when alive) and the Sisters of Fate.
- It is unknown if Ares was somehow affected, as he was evil in many ways even before the events of the game. Apart of his own trait, Ares' threat to attack Olympus as well as his bloodthirsty ways were already part of his own character.
- The reason why Thanatos, Gaia, and the Sisters of Fate remained unaffected could be because they were Primordials.