There are many variations of the story of Medusa. However, I find this one more detailed and precise. Medusa is a part of the chain of Greek Mythology. These stories or legends are not real and are usually told to get a point across or for entertainment. Medusa also shows the relationship that society had with women at that time. Medusa was a Gorgon. The Gorgons were three sisters, daughters of Phorcys and Ceto.
Their names were Stethno, Euryale, and Medusa. Stethno and Euryale were immortal, however, Medusa was mortal. The three sisters were known to be so ugly that anyone who looked at them 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. After her encounter with Triton, Athena turned her into an ugly woman with snakes as hair, and anyone who looked upon her would turn into stone.
Medusa had this spell cast upon her by Athena because she and Poseidon were caught sleeping together in one of Athena’s temples. Athena 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 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 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 of his gender. Yet, Medusa was definitely picked on by many people.
This also shows that society was scared of powerful women. Why did people want her dead? It was the fact that she was very powerful and might have intimidated many men.