Pandora (Goethe)

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Title: Pandora
Genus: Festival
drama fragment
Original language: German
Author: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Publishing year: 1810
  • Prometheus , Epimetheus ; Japetiden
  • Phileros ; Prometheus' son
  • Elpore , Epimeleia ; Epimetheus' daughters
  • Eos
  • Pandora ; Epimetheus' wife
  • Demons
  • Helios
  • Wrought
  • Shepherds
  • Field workers
  • warrior
  • Business people
  • Winemaker
  • Fisherman

Pandora , a dramatic festival play by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe , remained a fragment. Written at the request of Goethe's friends Leo von Seckendorff and Joseph Ludwig Stoll (writer, 1777–1815) between November 1807 and June 1808, the piece appeared in the first two issues of the journal Prometheus 1807/1808. Pandora was then in print in 1810. Goethe completely abandoned the continuation of the classicist piece in favor of the elective affinities .


Hephaestus , the craftsman on Olympus , formed the seductive woman Pandora (Greek: the one with all gifts ) out of clay at the command of the angry Zeus . Epimetheus , the son of the titan Iapetus , had to marry the beautiful woman - as a punishment because his brother Prometheus had stolen the fire from Zeus and brought it to the people. In addition to all sorts of bad things, there was also hope in Pandora's box .


Pandora does not appear in the fragment.

What have I to lose since Pandora fled! (824)

Epimetheus laments the disappearance of his wife Pandora. When she left, never to return, threw it still by hand a clear farewell him to . Epimetheus stood petrified because Pandora also took their daughter Elpore with her. But he still has the second daughter Epimeleia . It is late at night, before dawn, when Epimetheus continues to lament his lot.

So you fled, strong time of my youth there, ... (17)

Epimetheus manages best in sleep to mourn the old days. So he fears the cock's crows and the premature blinking of the morning star.

It was always better to stay at night!

the dreamer wishes Epimetheus. His contemplation is disturbed by the early riser Philerus . This young man, thirsty for action like his father Prometheus , exclaims:

To ventilate freely, only out! (37)

Phileros calls himself a lover , speaks of the beloved , of flowered skies . Uncle Epimetheus wants to know where the morning youth is rushing and pushing

So tell me the name of your lovely happiness. (66)

Phileros does not know him and hurries to the loved one. Epimetheus sadly remembers his youth when his heart leaped when Pandora came down from Olympos. Epimetheus' brother Prometheus, with a torch in his hand , startles the dreamer with a lively saying: all industry is morning . Prometheus' subordinate blacksmiths tood into their master's horn.

Don't you stir up the fire
You are worthless (201)

Prometheus and his forge attack the Ore Mountains with levers , melt ore and transform it into tools . Prometheus, not squeamish, demands: Drum, blacksmith! Only weapons can do! He approaches the sleeping brother Epimetheus and calls out to him:

Nightwalker, more worried, more seriously worried! (315)

Epimetheus does not allow himself to be disturbed, but continues to dream of Pandoren's return , speaking in a dream with his absent beloved daughter Elpore.

Nicolas Poussin (1594–1665): The Shepherds of Arcadia

Phileros' sweetheart, it turns out, is his cousin Epimeleia. He chases the horrified woman across the stage and wounds the girl in the neck . And yet Epimeleia had specially the garden gate for him ajar . But a shepherd pushed the door open, stepped into the garden, seized Epimeleia, and at that moment Philerus “surprised” the supposed couple.

Prometheus is horrified and orders the son:

Out with you into the distance!
You may repent or punish yourself. (448)

The unfortunate Phileros throws himself from the rock into the night-shrouded sea. Epimeleia complains:

Oh, why, gods, is infinite
Everything, everything, finally our happiness only! (500)

Epimetheus, the seriously questionable , cannot remember his love for Pandora enough:

And I loosened this belt with love! (628)
With these arms she embraced me lovingly! (631)
... I only know her lovingly. (635)
Who is condemned to part from the beautiful
Flee with your eyes averted! (759)

Day breaks and Eos , the dawn, appears. Epimeleia, the unfortunate, drive love and repentance to the flame . But the gods save Epimeleia from the flames and Philerus from the sea.


He who was happy repeats his happiness in pain. (733)
We pull, we pull
And don't say;
Where? where?
We don't ask;
And sword and spear,
We carry away
And that and that,
We like to dare. (Warrior 908)
The real man's true celebration is action. (1045)



The symbolism of the piece challenged the performers. Wilpert pointed out some interpretations of the text .


“Thank you for welcoming my departing Pandora so well. I wish the returnee the same luck in their time. I was very pleased that you honored individual passages. The whole thing can only have a mysterious effect, as it were, on the reader. He feels this effect as a whole without being able to express it clearly, but his comfort and discomfort, his sympathy or aversion arise from it. The individual, however, what he may choose, actually belongs to him and is what convenes [promises] to him personally. "

- Goethe's letter of August 16, 1808 from Karlsbad to Charlotte von Stein

" I am very pleased that my Pandora made you want to talk to me again ... That little work is of course a bit laconic;"

- Goethe's letter of January 22, 1811 to Karl Friedrich Reinhard

“I asked him whether this poetry [Pandora] could be viewed as a whole, or whether something else existed. He said that there was nothing more, he hadn't done it any further, and that was not because the cut of the first part had become so large that he was unable to carry out a second later. The writing could also be viewed as a whole, which is why he calmed down on it. I told him that with this difficult poem I only gradually got through to understanding, after reading it so often that I now almost knew it by heart. Goethe smiled at that. 'I think so,' he said, 'it's all like wedged together.' "

- Eckermann on a conversation with Goethe on October 21, 1823


Secondary literature

Sorted by year of publication


  • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: Poetic Works, Volume 6 . Pp. 431-452. Phaidon Verlag Essen 1999, ISBN 3-89350-448-6

Web links