The different faces of Medusa

In curiosity of stories with the consistent topic of stones, (precious or not) a specific idea was to look into the Greek myths of Medusa. My curiosity was piqued when I was searching for collective stories, the results were stones soup, and certain books of the Bible, etc. But the one that stood out was the story of Medusa. These myths use the concept of a stone, and twists it into a story that is similar to a horror movie in a very unique way compared to other relating stories.

Also, most of us have read, or at least heard of the common story of Medusa through movies, video games, pieces of writing, etc. But can we confidently know what the original myth portrayed of Medusa? I by no means can say that I have found the first, legit myth, but I am here to compare different tellings of it.Medusa_Bernini

The first story I found was on a Myths and Legends website, which made me hesitant if it was a story written by any inspired writer, but I decided to see their spin on it. This story was very unique because it capitalized on the fact that Medusa was a very pretty woman, that would constantly boast about herself. Medusa thought that she was so beautiful, that she was blessing everyone around her solely with her presence. One day Medusa and her friends went to the Pantheon, and while she was there she would feel pity on the statues because she knew that she would make a more beautiful, delicate piece of art. Well, one of the subjects that she was dogging on, just so happened to be Athena, who was a very jealous Greek God. At that moment Athena cursed Medusa with snakes for hair and sight that would make the beholder stone. It then ends with Medusa being sent to a ‘misfit’ island. (“The Story of Medusa and the Greek Goddess Athena.” Myths and Legends from E2BN. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2016)

The next story that I came across, was a sort-of short documentary of Medusa.

This version characterized Medusa as a very beautiful woman that was longed for by all men. She also was a servant for Athena, which was accustomed to be kept a virgin. Since she was very attractive, Poseidon too longed for her. He, being all prideful and such, decided to rape Medusa. When Athena figured out, she was no longer allowed to be her servant, and Athena punished her by turning her hair into snakes, making her skin rough and wrinkly, and giving her the infamous ‘stone sight’. She was then sent to a desolate island. The end. (“The Story of Medusa Video – Greek Mythology.” N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2016.)

The next story that I encountered was the story of Perseus who was sent to slay the monster Medusa by Polydectes as a trick to get him killed. Perseus was given many gifts in order to successfully perform the task and beheaded Medusa in her sleep. Then while on his way home, when he encountered any trouble he used Medusa’s head to turn all the enemies into stone to successfully return home. (“The Legend of Medusa and the Gorgons.” Ancient Origins. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2016.)

There are many different versions of the story of Medusa either made from different, unique point of views, or in correlation to other stories containing Medusa. The first story was similar to the children’s story of Medusa and the ending result being a consequence for her actions. The second story had a different take, and used empathy towards Medusa because her becoming a monster wasn’t her fault. The third story uses Medusa (well her head) as a sort of symbol for an amulet or shield for Perseus.


3 thoughts on “The different faces of Medusa

  1. This is so interesting! I love that looking into stones got you to the story of Medusa and I wonder what this says about the connections you are making. What are the connections between beauty and stone? What do these stories say about the intersection between people and stones? I think this will be really rich for your own interpretations and your own retelling.


  2. I like how you have the different versions lined up to contrast with each other. I think there’s a sort of symbolic ‘stone-heartedness’ in each of the stories.
    Like in the first one – Medusa’s arrogance earned her a stone-cold punishment. The second story had victim-blaming with everyone having hearts of stone toward her suffering. And the third one had Perseus being a stone-cold killer murdering someone who was just trying to live alone.
    A slant to examine could be the symbolism of stone as an emotional or personality characteristic. What does it mean in context, how can it be used, what might have made someone that way….etc.


  3. As a kid that went through the Percy Jackson phase I find this idea intriguing. I think it is pretty cool to compare the different stories of Medusa to really be able to put a face to the stories. It is a pretty fascinating story and I think it is cool that someone would take it on.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s