History Of Perseus Essay

1157 words - 5 pages

Throughout history, many ancient cultures created stories involving great heroes and gods to explain certain aspects of their daily lives. These stories would form an important part of the culture’s religion and are referred to today as mythology. One great hero from ancient Greek mythology is Perseus. According to both ancient standards and today’s standards, Perseus would be seen as a great hero. The many actions that Perseus is said to have done in his adventures prove his heroism.
Perseus was born to Danae and the Greek god Zeus. Acrisius, the father of Danae, was told by the oracle of Apollo that Danae’s son would kill him. After finding out that Danae had her son, Perseus, Acrisius shut Perseus and Dane up in a large chest cast the chest out to sea. After a while out in the sea, they landed on the island of Seriphos, where they were saved by the king Polydectes’s brother, Dictys. Polydectes, after hearing about Danae, wanted her to marry him. In order to get rid of Perseus, so that no one would be able to stop him from marrying Danae, Polydectes came up with a plan. He pretended to be marrying the daughter of one of his friends and required everyone to bring him a wedding gift. Polydectes knew that Perseus, being very poor, would arrive empty-handed. Perseus vowed that he could bring Polydectes anything that he wanted and so Polydectes demanded Perseus to bring him the head of the gorgon Medusa, hoping that he would be killed. Perseus set off on his adventure to kill Medusa and while stopping to rest one night in an unknown land, Perseus realized how hopeless the adventure seemed to be. “Gorgons were horrible, instead of hair they had black serpents that writhed on their head, they had brazen hands that could have squashed poor Perseus, but worst of all if you looked a [sic] gorgon you were instantly turned to stone.” (Albright 1) Suddenly, the god Hermes and goddess Athena appeared. Hermes gave Perseus winged sandals for him to fly with and a sickle to use to kill Medusa. Athena gave Perseus a shield to reflect Medusa’s image so he would not be turned to stone. Before they left, Hermes told Perseus to find the Graeae and convince them to tell him where the Nymphs of the North are located. Perseus went to the Graeae cave and stole their eye, which they had to share with one another. Since Perseus threatened to destroy the eye if the Graeae did not tell him where to find the Nymphs of the North, they told him where to go. Perseus gave the eye back and flew, using the winged sandals, to where the Nymphs of the North were located. They gave Perseus the Cap of Darkness, which, “has the power to make its wearer invisible,” (Albright 2) and a magic wallet to keep Medusa’s head in. After learning where the gorgons’ lair was, Perseus flew north to the lair, put the Cap of Darkness on, and killed Medusa when she and her sisters were sleeping. He used the shield to see her reflection and the sickle to cut off her head. ...

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