The Story of Medusa in MythologyThere are various stories foretold regarding the life of Medusa. Yet, her life story was contemplated as a Greek legend.
It was told that Medusa was one of the three Gorgon sisters, the daughters of Phorcy and Keto who were both gods of the sea. Medusa was the only mortal among the three Gorgon’s. The other two sisters were named Stheno and Euryale whom were both immortals. The Gorgon sisters were very ugly.
Instead of hair, they had snakes on their heads. All three of them were deemed to have dangerous powers. Once any of the three Gorgons gaze straight into the eye of an individual, that person would eventually turn into stone. Some stories even told that only men who were caught by the gaze that could turn them into stone (Welch, 2008).Prior to becoming a monster, Medusa was a beautiful lady who had a long flowing hair. Legends told that Medusa was seduced by Poseidon, the god of the sea, inside Athena’s temple. Athena was angered by the actions of Medusa and Poseidon, and soon after, Athena transformed Medusa into a snake-haired monster with brass claws and sharp teeth.
From then on, Medusa was feared by many and lived a life away from the eyes of the public (Welch, 2008).Along came the story of Perseus, the child of Zeus and Danae. Right after Zeus died, his brother Polydectes succeeded his throne. It was believed that Polydectes was responsible for the death of Zeus and also wished to kill Danae and Perseus. However, he feared killing the two; instead, he put both the mother and child in a wooden chest which was dropped in the ocean. Perseus and Danae managed to live in a new kingdom, yet Polydectes later on realized that he wanted to marry Danae, who refused his offer.
Realizing that he cannot lure Danae into marriage, Polydectes challenged Perseus to kill Medusa and ordered him to bring the creature’s head. Perseus, knowing that he could not achieve the King’s challenge, was helped by Hermes and Athena. Hermes handed Perseus his winged helmet and boots so he could fly and fight Medusa in the air. Meanwhile, Athena lent Perseus her shield and sword and gave him instructions on how to kill Medusa. Following the instructions given by Athena, Perseus polished the shield and through its reflection he was able to locate Medusa. He cut Medusa’s head with his sword,carefully lifted the head without looking at the Gorgon’s eyes, and placed it in a leather bag.
Legends told that right after Perseus struck-off the head of Medusa, the creature’s blood flowed, and from her neck two creatures emerged. The creatures were Chrysaor whose name means “the golden sword,” and the other was Pegasus, the winged horse. It was believed that the creatures were the offspring of Medusa and Poseidon (Welch, 2008).Perseus returned to the kingdom, and the king ordered his men to kill Perseus. However, Perseus removed Medusa’s head from the bag and showed it to the king. Thus, Polydectes turned into stone as well as all the people that were witnessing the event. Perseus then handed Medusa’s head to Athena.
With the aid of Hermes, Medusa’s head was placed in Athena’s shield which, from then on, became a special shield (Welch, 2008).ReferenceWelch, B. (2008, April 9).
The story of Medusa in Ancient coins. Forvm Ancient Coins.Retrieved October 14, 2008 from http://www.forumancientcoins.com/moonmoth/medusa.html.