The original noder writes truly that hope was the last thing left in Pandora's Box after Pandora loosed its evils on the world.

However, I have been informed by my friend Alfred (motto: "getting a classical education so you don't have to") that in the paradigm of the ancient Greeks, hope was not exactly the cheery thing with feathers we associate with the word today. What was left in the box might better be described as "delusion."

That humans were left with hope was actually an extra, super-cruel punishment from the gods -- it made them continuously believe that they could somehow survive in their ruined world.

This is not to say that the modern interpretation of the myth is inappropriate. These archetypal stories always have a koan-like aspect, a measure of meaning that is not implicit, but touched off in the reader by their powerful and ageless imagery. Just as Camus turned Sisyphus from a suffering wretch into a symbol of humanist/existentialist transcendence (see The Myth of Sisyphus), we are free to recast the ultimate evil in Pandora's box as our great friend.