The Three Faces of Eve: Pandora, Lulu and Hope

In Greek mythology Pandora was the first woman who was given a “box” actually an urn containing death and suffering. Although she was instructed not to open it, out of curiosity she does releasing evil to the world leaving only hope behind. John William Waterhouse (1849- 1917) the English Pre-Raphaelite shows Pandora whose name means “all gifts” tentatively opening a beautiful gold coffer unaware of the consequences. German Expressionist director Georg Wilhelm Pabst’s silent film Pandora’s Box (1929) depicts American actress Louise Brooks as Lulu, an alluring woman who innocently brings destruction to those around her and eventually herself. Not only does the classical world explain the existence of evil with the actions of a woman but also the bible with the figure of Eve. Although she was warned not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil the serpent tempts her by suggesting that eating the forbidden fruit would make one wise. German Renaissance artist Hans Baldung Grien (1480–1545) portrays the fallen woman with a lascivious Adam. Symbolist English painter George Frederic Watts (1817 -1904) saw the image of woman more positively as an allegorical figure of Hope. She sits atop the world blindfolded holding a lyre with a single string, which she plucks listening hopefully to the sound.