Season: 3, Episodes: 1, Faction: N/A
Mrs. Talbot was one of Anthony Cooper’s con victims, whom he planned to marry and run off with a considerable chunk of her fortune.
3×13 – The Man from Tallahassee
After her son Peter caught onto Anthony’s plans, he asked Cooper’s son, John Locke to assist him in convincing Anthony to leave her and leave town.
After Peter’s death (a suspected murder, possibly at the hands of Anthony Cooper), Locke confronted Cooper, who claimed Mrs. Talbot had called off the wedding due to distress over the event. But when Locke called his bluff and threatened to call her, Cooper pushed him out of a window and fled the country. (“The Man from Tallahassee”)
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In Greek mythology, Pandora (“all-gifted”, “all-endowed”) was the first woman. As Hesiod related it, each god helped create her by giving her unique gifts. Zeus ordered Hephaestus to mold her out of earth as part of the punishment of mankind for Prometheus‘ theft of the secret of fire, and all the gods joined in offering her “seductive gifts”. Her other name, inscribed against her figure on a white-ground kylix in the British Museum, is Anesidora, “she who sends up gifts,” up implying “from below” within the earth. According to the myth, Pandora opened a jar (pithos), in modern accounts sometimes mistranslated as “Pandora’s box”, releasing all the evils of mankind — although the particular evils, aside from plagues and diseases, are not specified in detail by Hesiod — leaving only Hope inside once she had closed it again. She opened the jar out of simple curiosity and not as a malicious act.
The myth of Pandora is ancient, appears in several distinct Greek versions, and has been interpreted in many ways. In all literary versions, however, the myth is a kind of theodicy, addressing the question of why there is evil in the world. In the seventh century BC, Hesiod, both in his Theogony (briefly, without naming Pandora outright, line 570) and in Works and Days, gives the earliest literary version of the Pandora story; however, there is an older mention of jars or urns containing blessings and evils bestowed upon mankind in Homer’s Iliad:
The immortals know no care, yet the lot they spin for man is full of sorrow; on the floor of Zeus’ palace there stand two urns, the one filled with evil gifts, and the other with good ones. He for whom Zeus the lord of thunder mixes the gifts he sends, will meet now with good and now with evil fortune; but he to whom Zeus sends none but evil gifts will be pointed at by the finger of scorn, the hand of famine will pursue him to the ends of the world, and he will go up and down the face of the earth, respected neither by gods nor men.
All-giving Pandora: a mythic inversion
The etymology of Pandora’s name, “all-gifted” provided in Works and Days is an incorrect folk etymology. Pandora properly means “all-giving” rather than “all-gifted.” Certain vase paintings dated to the 5th century BC likewise indicate that the pre-Hesiodic myth of the goddess Pandora endured for centuries after the time of Hesiod. An alternate name for Pandora attested on a white-ground kylix (ca. 460 BC) is Anesidora, which similarly means “she who sends up gifts.” This vase painting clearly depicts Hephaestus and Athena putting the finishing touches on the first woman, as in the Theogony. Written above this figure (a convention in Greek vase painting) is the name Anesidora. More commonly, however, the epithet anesidora is applied to Gaea or Demeter.
This connection of Pandora to Gaea and Demeter through the name Anesidora provides a clue as to Pandora’s evolution as a mythic figure. In classical scholarship it is generally posited that—for female deities in particular—one or more secondary mythic entities sometimes “splinter off” (so to speak) from a primary entity, assuming aspects of the original in the process. The most famous example of this is the putative division of all the aspects of the so-called Great Goddess into a number of goddesses with more specialized functions—Gaea, Demeter, Persephone, Artemis and Hecate among them. Pandora appears to be just such a product of this process. In a previous incarnation now lost to us, Pandora/Anesidora would have taken on aspects of Gaea and Demeter. She would embody the fertility of the earth and its capacity to bear grain and fruits for the benefit of humankind. Jane Ellen Harrison turned to the repertory of vase-painters to shed light on aspects of myth that were left unaddressed or disguised in literature. The story of Pandora was repeated on Greek ceramics. On a fifth century amphora in the Ashmolean Museum (her fig.71) the half-figure of Pandora emerges from the ground, her arms upraised in the epiphany gesture, to greet Epimetheus. A winged ker with a fillet hovers overhead: “Pandora rises from the earth; she is the Earth, giver of all gifts,” Harrison observes.
Over time this “all-giving” goddess somehow devolved into an “all-gifted” mortal woman. T. A. Sinclair, commenting on Works and Days argues that Hesiod shows no awareness of the mythology of such a divine “giver”. A.H. Smith, however, notes that in Hesiod’s account Athena and the Seasons brought wreaths of grass and spring flowers to Pandora, indicating that Hesiod was conscious of Pandora’s original “all-giving” function. Jane Ellen Harrison sees in Hesiod’s story “evidence of a shift from matriarchy to patriarchy in Greek culture. As the life-bringing goddess Pandora is eclipsed, the death-bringing human Pandora arises.” Thus Harrison concludes “in the patriarchal mythology of Hesiod her great figure is strangely changed and diminished. She is no longer Earth-Born, but the creature, the handiwork of Olympian Zeus.” (Harrison 1922:284) Robert Graves, quoting Harrison, asserts of the Hesiodic episode that “Pandora is not a genuine myth, but an anti-feminist fable, probably of his own invention.” H.J.Rose wrote that the myth of Pandora is decidedly more illiberal than that of epic in that it makes Pandora the origin of all of Man’s woes with her being the exemplification of the bad wife.
The Hesiodic myth did not, however, completely obliterate the memory of the all-giving goddess Pandora. A scholium to line 971 of Aristophanes’ The Birds mentions a cult “to Pandora, the earth, because she bestows all things necessary for life”.
In fifth-century Athens Pandora made a prominent appearance in what, at first, appears an unexpected context, in a marble relief or bronze appliqués as a frieze along the base of the Athena Parthenos the culminating experience on the Acropolis; there Jeffrey M. Hurwit has interpreted her presence as an “anti-Athena” reinforcing civic ideologies of patriarchy and the “highly gendered social and political realities of fifth-century Athens.” Interpretation has never come easy: Pausanias (i.24.7) merely noted the subject and moved on. Jeffrey Hurwit has argued that Pandora represents an “anti-Athena”, similarly a child of no mother, an embodiment of the need for the patriarchal rule that the virginal Athena, rising above her sex, defended.