Medusa– a villain or a heroine?

Today I’m going to talk about the story which has been written so many times that nobody knows what its true face was– story of Medusa and Perseus.

How I got entangled

I have always been fascinated by Greek mythology. Gods and Goddesses there are so humanely fallible that they make a perfect subject for reading and thinking. But my knowledge of Greek myth is quite lacking. I just recently started reading them.

So I just need an excuse to learn more. The excuse this time was generated by a magazine called Timeless Tales.  This magazine focuses on the rewriting of the classic myths/fairy/folk tales. I have never been published there, but I do enjoy reading and writing the stories for their theme– mostly because it just tickles my muse to turn an already written story round and round. The theme for the submission for next year is Medusa And Perseus. The submission window has not been announced yet, but Medusa’s name captivated me.

The only thing I knew about Medusa was that she had snakes instead of hair and she, like Basilik of Harry Potter, has deadly stare. So, there I was firing Google and flitting from article to article, trying to make some sense of the story of Perseus. It looked pretty straight forward thing. But then I typed in the word Medusa.

Let me recount some things I discovered about who was Medusa.

Wikipedia says:

“Medusa was originally a ravishingly beautiful maiden, “the jealous aspiration of many suitors,” but because Poseidon had raped her in Athena‘s temple, the enraged Athena transformed Medusa’s beautiful hair to serpents and made her face so terrible to behold that the mere sight of it would turn onlookers to stone.[6] In Ovid’s telling, Perseus describes Medusa’s punishment by Minerva (Athena) as just and well earned.”

I read it and wondered “Whaaat! Reaaaaaalllllyy?”

Another site told her story as Athena’s punishment for her pride:

Unfortunately, Medusa was very proud of her beauty and thought or spoke of little else.  Each day she boasted of how pretty she was and each day her boasts became more outrageous.

Then there are essays which says that Medusa is a symbolism of the world moving from matriarchal to patriarchal society. And then there are novels which give their spin on Medusa’s story. It feels weird to read about a story which has been twisted so much that its truth is indecipherable.  I don’t believe that anybody would write a story (let alone make it a God’s story) with so much of injustice, but then Greek myths are full of such examples.

I have not written the retelling I wanted to write, neither I have got an idea, but I know one thing–Medusa is going to be my heroine in some story– maybe for the Timeless tales, or may be for my personal collection.

P.S.- If you have time and inclination, do read the latest issue of the magazine. No, I’m not published there(I didn’t even write for this theme), but the stories there in are fabulous.

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