Based on theinformation I have read in Hesiod’s, Works and Days and Theology, I believe that Hesiod intended the audienceto perceive Elpis as a blessing. According to many sources, Pandora isdescribed to be the first mortal woman, who was shaped out of clay by gods. Prometheuswas supposed to have the responsibility of creating mankind. He then became dissatisfiedand decided to steal fire from heaven. Zeus was so mad by what Prometheus did,that he made the other gods create the first woman, Pandora, making herbeautiful and sly:”So spake Zeus in anger, whose wisdom iseverlasting; and from that time he was always mindful of the trick, and wouldnot give the power of unwearying fire to the Melian race of mortal men who liveon the earth” (Hesiod, Theogony,line 545).
Zeus then had Pandora sent to Prometheus’syounger brother, Epimetheus to be his bride. Zeus gave Pandora a pithos, whichis described as a storage jar, as a wedding gift. As Pandora opened this box,she released the spirits that were inside. These spirits were intended to hauntmankind forever after and bring them great misery. However, there was onespirit which was left behind.
Zeusrefused to allow her to release Hope, which is the spirit calledElpis. Elpis was left behind, to ease this misery of man. Therefore, I believethat Elpis is intended to be a blessing, rather than a curse.
OncePandora was created, the necessity for men to fulfil duties like feeding theirwives and offspring became essential. Now there was no extra time for leisureor any real hope left for them. Hesiod explains that these times are the worst thathe can imagine, and almost as bad as death: “But when he had made the beautiful evil tobe the price for the blessing, he brought her out, delighting in the finerywhich the bright-eyed daughter of a mighty father had given her, to the placewhere the other gods and men were.
And wonder took hold of the deathless gods andmortal men when they saw that which was sheer guile, not to be withstood bymen. For from her is the race of women and female kind: of her is the deadlyrace and tribe of women who live amongst mortal men to their great trouble, nohelpmeets in hateful poverty, but only in wealth” (Hesiod, Theogony, line 585).