So, there’s a baby born from a tree, whose name happens to be Adonis. Yes, the very good-looking Adonis, and we will get to the details of that particular story soon. Before that, though, we have to examine something very curious. After Adonis is born, “Aphrodite, already repenting of the mischief that she had made, concealed Adonis in a chest.”
The locking the kid in the box is not the important part. Plenty of that has happened in mythology—Perseus, Moses—so that it’s not even remarkable. However, a goddess repenting her actions. That’s amazing. It’s unheard of. No other Greek god or goddess has displayed anything resembling regret. Perhaps the closest is that Zeus gave Teiresias the gift of prophecy after Hera stole his sight.
Aphrodite, however, is regretting her own actions, not the actions of someone else. She recognizes that she screwed up with her little revenge scheme. Smyrna was not the one who offended her, and while Smyrna’s mother is doubtless suffering, the punishment was so roundabout that she likely wouldn’t even connect her daughter’s transgression with her own boasting about Smyrna’s beauty.
This is the only time that a Greek god has ever expressed anything remotely like this. Aphrodite possesses a presence of mind not found with the other gods. Zeus, again, comes closest by how he forgives Hera and the others for their attempted coup. However, Zeus didn’t even realize his own role in those events. He didn’t moderate his behavior after the coup; he forgave their behavior, but he resumed his tyrannical ways.
Aphrodite immediately recognized the wrongness of what she had done and then set out to fix the situation. How she fixed it wasn’t necessarily that great, but at least she’s trying.