MEDUSA || Remembering the Woman

We all know her as the woman with serpents for hair; a woman who could turn men into stone with a single glance; a woman who was not a woman.

My character for today’s prompt comes from the Metamorphoses by the poet Ovid.

Trigger warning for rape. 

THE STORY

Poseidon raped a woman in the temple of Athena. For this, the goddess Athena sought to punish the victim. The woman, who was once extremely beautiful and admired by many, was turned in to a gorgon. Her beautiful hair a nest of vipers and her gaze turned everyone to stone.

Is there not something quite familiar to the tale?

I haven’t read The Metamorphoses entirely nor have I studied it. So my post today is based only what I know of Medusa and even that is very sparse.

In fact, I find it saddening that we don’t even know her real name. All we are told is that she was a beautiful woman as if beauty is enough to convey a woman’s full character. In the beginning I did not understand this tale. I only knew her as the monster – as the beast who lured might men to kill them. I did not know what this meant but once I did, I was angry.

How dare we portray her in the light of an unthinking beast when Medusa was the victim? 

Medusa dies at the hand of Perseus who seeks her out and decapitates her in her own home. Medusa died because of a goddess’ anger. Medusa died because of the whims of men.

Image result for medusa and perseus

Sculpture by  Benvenuto Cellini

Give me moment to take this into modern context. What Medusa endured is a situation that many rape victims have experienced. Left to the mercy of desire, and some even to the anger of their family and friends. What part of us was once “beautiful” had turned rotten because of someone’s “20 minutes of action.”

But if I had to believe Athena, then I will believe that our anger is a kind of mercy.

Not for us though. Our anger pushes us forward to fight for justice, for a platform, for changed policies. Our anger saves the women that come after us. Our anger allows for the stories of the minor characters to be flood out.

Related image

Head of Medusa by Peter Paul Rubens 

Some say it was Athena’s mercy that turned her in a gorgon, but where was mercy when Athena supplied the shield to Perseus?

How do I remember Medusa?

Her is what I know of Medusa:

Her name means Guardian or Protectress. She died pregnant with her twins. This is no hero’s story.

A man’s sin will always make us the monster.

Set of dividers in nature design. Vector illustration.

This is a dead scene forever now.
Nothing will ever stir.
The end will never brighten it more than this,
Nor the rain blur.
The water will always fall, and will not fall,
And the tipped bell make no sound.
The grass will always be growing for hay
Deep on the ground.
And I shall stand here like a shadow
Under the great balanced day,
My eyes on the yellow dust, that was lifting in the wind,
And does not drift away.
Medusa, Louise Bogan
Set of dividers in nature design. Vector illustration.
I Heart Characters! is a weekly meme hosted by Dani @ Perspective of a Writer to showcase our book blogger love for characters! Each week she’ll supply a topic and you’ll supply the character. Post on whatever day suits you, about characters from whatever media you love (books, movies, K-dramas, television, manga, anime, webtoons, whatever!) and link up on Thursday so YOU and others can blog hop and share the character love.
Set of dividers in nature design. Vector illustration.

I hope this blog post wasn’t too depressing! As soon as I saw that it was for a minor character, I couldn’t help jumping at my chance to talk of Medusa. I feel that she is an underrated character and even though I understand the interpretations her story has, I wanted to take her story and compare it to our society.


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Disclaimer: Text dividers are from Freepik. Camillea Reads uses affiliate links, which means that, at no cost to you, I receive a small commission whenever purchases are made using the links.

 

6 thoughts on “MEDUSA || Remembering the Woman

  1. Dani @ Perspective of a Writer says:

    Uhhhh Cam! Speechless… I’m speechless at the beauty of this post! ❤️ I totally didn’t understand from your title but I was soooo intrigued! I actually didn’t know medusa’s history either but she really wasn’t the villain at all. I LOVE the idea of someone (YOU?!) writing a modern or fantasy retelling of medusa. It could cast her as a villain origin story or it could totally make her the hero who triumphs over man! WOW! You are so darn creative girl!

    Like

  2. Stephanie Jane says:

    Love this post! I only knew of Medusa as the Gorgon and had no idea of how or why she came to be the monster. I’m so shocked. We absolutely need more retellings of these myths from the opposite perspectives.

    Like

  3. Beware Of The Reader says:

    Oooh this is SO UNFAIR what happened to her! I wasn’t aware of the backstory with Athena and Poseidon so Medusa was just “the bad guy” to me. Thank you for enlightening me and great choice!

    Like

  4. Jared @dabook.club says:

    I loved this post so much! Medusa is such an interesting character and I adore her backstory! Great post, I think it’s so interesting that you highlighted such a different and great character!

    Like

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