There are many variations of the story of Medusa. Yet, I find this one more
detailed and precise. Medusa is apart of the chain of Greek Mythology, these stories, or
legends are not real and usually said to get a point across, or entertainment. Medusa also
shows the relationship the society had with women at that time.
Medusa was a Gorgon, The Gorgon’s where three sisters, daughters of Phorcys
and Ceto. Their names where Stethno, Euryale, and Medusa. Stethno and Euryale where
immortal, however Medusa was a mortal. The three sisters where known to be so ugly, if
anyone looked at them they would be killed instantly.
Medusa was a Queen who reigned in the land around Tritons in Libya. She used to
be a beautiful Maiden and Triton fell in love with her. Medusa, after her encounter with
Triton, Athena, turned into an ugly woman with snakes as hair, and anyone that looked
upon her would turn into stone. Medusa had this spell cast upon her by Athena because,
Medusa and Poseidon where caught sleeping together in one of Athena’s temples. Athena
then became very angry and in her rage, turned Medusa into an ugly woman.
Thus, as the story goes Perseus (the son of Andromeda and Zeus), is assigned to
assassinate Medusa. He kills her by coming to her in her sleep, then using a mirror looks
to see her face, careful not to look at her, he cuts her head off. The blood that splurged
from her neck made the country of Libya infested, because her blood turned into snakes. It
is also said that Heracles is said to have obtained a lock of Medusa’s hair, which possessed
the same power as her head, from Athena. He gave it to Sterope, the daughter of
Cepheus, as protection for the town of Tegea against attack. When exposed to view, the
lock was supposed to bring on a storm, which put the enemy to flight.
In my mind Medusa has many different symbolic qualities. She showed strength,
and that is why I think this story ties in with the equality of women. If a man was strong
he would not be persecuted just because he was a man. Yet, medusa was definitely picked
on by many people. This also shows that the society then was scared of powerful women.
Because why did people want her dead, it was the fact that she was very powerful and
might have intimidated many men.