Greek Mythology and Medusa

Topics: Athena, Medusa, Greek mythology Pages: 7 (2718 words) Published: December 6, 2010
Medusa, the daughter of Phorcys and Ceto is a famous gorgon in Greek Mythology. Medusa, who represented female wisdom, was the eldest of two other Gorgon sisters, Stheino, who represented strength, and the last sister, Euryale as universality. Medusa was the mortal one of the sisters. She was known originally for being a beautiful young maiden, her loveliest feature being her long gorgeous hair. She was a virgin, and she was raped by Poseidon, Lord of the Sea, while she had been worshipping in the temple of the Goddess Athena, the goddess of wisdom and war. Athena was enraged about this happening in her temple. She blamed Medusa for this sacrilegious act and punished Medusa by taking her beauty away from her and turning her into a serpent headed monster with snakes for hair. After this, any man who was to gaze directly upon her would turn into stone. Over time Medusa’s face has come to symbolize and refer to many different things, such as; a monster, something that resembled evil, she’s also been a popular choice for art pieces, and also a symbol for feminist. Many females like Medusa because she stood up for them. After being raped, she wanted to help other women and avoid this happening to them. Medusa also became the face on Greek coins later on in history.

There are many different versions of the myth about Medusa and why she was turned into an ugly serpent with snakes for hair. The most common one being that Athena was angry that she had been sexual with Poseidon in her temple and also that she was especially jealous of Medusa’s beauty. Athena cursed Medusa to lose all her beauty and made her an ugly monster. Any man who even looked at her turned into stone. Soon after this, the hero Perseus was sent on a quest, by King Polydectes of Seriphos, and Athena herself, to retrieve the head of the Gorgon, Medusa. A deed said to require the maximum of heroic-male courage and skill. Perseus was given magic winged sandals, a cap and a pouch from Hermes. (In Greek mythology, Hermes is one of the Olympian Gods.) Guided by Athena the entire time, Perseus flies over the ocean to Lake Tritonis in Libya where Medusa and her two gorgon sisters live. He makes his way through rough, thick woods and on the way to Medusa’s palace he sees several statues of men and beasts. There are also stone pillars erected in honor of her deceased lovers. Peresus comes upon the sleeping Gorgon sisters. Athena holds out a mirror, so that Perseus doesn’t have to look directly at Medusa and can finish his quest without being turned into stone. He accomplishes this, and decapitates Medusa with his crescent sword. Even in death Medusa’s blood retains its powers. She was pregnant with Poseidon’s child at this time and it is said that when she was decapitated, her blood gave life to Pegasus, the winged, militant steed of Zeus that creates serpents in the earth with the touch of his hoof. And also Chrysaor, the golden bladed giant, is born from her bleeding neck. Medusa’s blood is drained from her body and later used to raise the dead. The blood from her right veins were kept and later used to heal and nourish life, and the blood from her left vein used to kill. After decapitating Medusa, Perseus puts her head into his pouch. He uses her head as a weapon. He would show enemies her head and turned them stone whenever it was needed during his journey back home. During his short stay in Ethiopia, the corals of the Red Sea were said to have been formed of Medusa’s blood that was spilled onto seaweed when Perseus laid down her head beside the shore. Here, he also saved and wed his wife, the princess Andromeda. From there he flew to Seriphus, where his mother was about to be forced to marry the King Polydectes. Perseus showed the King Medusa’s head and he was turned to stone. When he returned home he gave the head to Athena. The head was then put onto Athena’s shield. It protected the Goddess from enemies, because...
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