The myth of Perseus and his slaying of the only mortal Gorgon, Medusa has its origins in Greek mythology which portray the ancient Greek societies social values, expectations and punishments. It denotes coming of age, and growing old; beauty and ugliness; the mystery of love and marriage; and indicates the use of alienation as a form of repentance or punishment.
The myth of Medusa is a tale of Perseus, son of Danae, and grandson of Acrisius who was king of Argos. An oracle warned Acrisius that a son born to his daughter Danae would kill him. This led him to proceed in an ogre-like, self-preserving manner by locking his only daughter underground in solitude. Despite his best attempts he could not prevent Zeus from falling in love with her and impregnating her with Perseus through a shower of gold. Upon finding the child, Acrisius intended to have his daughter and grandson killed by placing then in a chest and pushing it into the sea. Sentencing someone to death by indirect methods such as natural forces and drowning was a way to avoiding being contaminated from miasma and serve as a way of avoiding guilt which would be caused by being directly responsible for ones death. The ancient author Simonides describes Danae's experience at sea as she begs Zeus for help in fragment 38. "O father Zeus, send blessed relief! With humble and righteous heart I implore you!" Unexpectedly, Diktys, a fisherman and a relative of the king Polydectes rescued Danae and Perseus. Diktys took them to the island of Seriphos and where he allowed them the live.
The main source of conflict in the myth arises from Polydectes who peruses a romantic relationship with Danae, which is highly opposed by Perseus. Upon Danae's rejection of Polydectes intentions, Polydectes pretended to marry another woman, which entitled him to demand a bride price from all of his people. Full of passion Perseus exaggeratedly and foolishly stated:
"If it meant you'd leave my mother alone, I'd gladly give...
Bibliography: 1) Powell, Barry. Classic Myth fifth edition. Pearson education; 2007.p353-368.
2) Wilk, Stephen. Medusa: Solving the Mystery of the Gorgon. Oxford University Press; Oxford 2000. p23.
3) Skidmore, Joel. www.mythweb.com; revised June 10 2006
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