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Theme: Fate
 Theme: Recurring idea or
insight found in the story. Also
known as the “hidden
 Repeatedly we have seen the
theme of “fate” emerge in Greek
Theme: Fate
 Think about Uranus (he treats his
children badly, and Cronus, his own son,
has to fight him)
 Think about Cronus (he becomes so
paranoid he eats his children as infants to
avoid being dethroned)
 Think about Zeus (he also believed he
would be overthrown by a son.
Prometheus was the only one who held
that key- he wouldn’t tell him who it was.)
 King Acrisius was told that
the son of his daughter,
Danae, would kill him.
 He could not let this
happen (he was more
afraid of the gods than he
was of hurting his
daughter) so he locked her
in an underground tower
made of bronze with part of
the roof open to the sky so
that she would never marry
or have children
 However, gold fell from the
sky and Zeus arrived.
Together they gave birth to
a boy, Perseus.
 King Acrisius was
furious when he
discovered the child.
Didn’t believe Zeus was
the father.
 He shut Danae and
Perseus up in a chest
and cast them out to sea.
 Somehow by “fate” or by
Zeus, they arrived on
land. A fisherman by
Dictys discovered them.
 Dictys & his wife took
Danae and Perseus in for
several years.
 Soon Polydectes (brother
of Dictys) fell in love with
Danae and wanted to
remove Perseus.
 Polydectes plants a seed
in Perseus’ head
indicating that he wanted
the head of one of the
 Polydectes then decides
he will have a party for his
soon-to-be wife. All bring
a present except Perseus.
 Perseus was humiliated because he didn’t
have a gift and instead offered something
far greater.
 Perseus was tricked into offering anything
Poldectes wanted as a wedding gift.
 He demanded the head of Medusa, a gorgon
with a gaze that turned people to stone.
 “No man unaided could kill Medusa”
(Hamilton, p. 149).
Help from the Gods
 Divine help was needed
for this quest and it
came from Hermes and
 Athena gave Perseus her
mirrored (bronze) shield
and Hermes gave him
his sword.
 He then visited the Gray
Women (shared one eye)
and forced them to tell
him how to get to the
Pallas Athena’s Advice
 When she gave Perseus her shield she
said, “Look into this when you attack
the Gorgon. You will be able to see
her in it as in a mirror, and so avoid
her deadly power” (Hamilton, p. 150).
The Gray Women
 Hermes tells Perseus that nymphs of the
North hold the items he needed in order
to defeat Medusa.
 Nymphs of the north were three aged
 They shared an eye.
 “But their heads were human and
beneath their wings they had arms and
hands” (Hamilton, p. 150).
“Where’s my EYE?!?”
 Perseus did as Hermes instructed him
to do and snatched the eye of the Gray
 He used the eye as leverage to find the
location of the nymphs of the North.
 Immediately they gave him directions to
the land of Hyperboreans.
Gift from the Maidens of
Hyperboreans – Nymphs of the
 Winged sandals
 A magic wallet that morphed
into the right size of whatever
he was carrying
 A cap which made the
wearer invisible
 When Perseus came
across them they were
 They had “great wings
and bodies covered in
golden scales” with
hair of twisting snakes
(Hamilton, p. 151).
 Athena and Hermes
were with him to guide
him to Medusa.
 He used the reflection in
his shield to approach
Medusa and cut off her
head through her neck.
Athena guided him.
 He put Medusa’s head
into his wallet and it
closed shut.
 The other Gorgons
attacked, but Perseus
used the sandals and the
cap to escape. He put the
invisible cap on so that
the other Gorgons
wouldn’t see him.
Princess Andromeda
 As he passed Ethiopia on
his return trip, Perseus
spied Andromeda chained
to a rock.
 Andromeda was chained to
a rock because her mother,
Queen Cassiopeia, bragged
about her beauty. The gods
were not happy with this
and took their fury out on
her daughter, Andromeda.
Princess Andromeda
 The Ethiopians
forced Cepheus,
father. To sacrifice
Andromeda so they
wouldn’t be
plagued by the
serpent anymore.
Return to Seriphos
 When Perseus
returned to
Seriphos, he used
Medusa’s head to
turn Polydectes
to stone.
 He made
brother, Dictys,
the new king.
Return to Argos
 Perseus and his mother,
with Adromeda, decide to
return to Greece to try to
reconcile with Acrisius.
 They find that he was driven
away from the city
 No one knew where he was
Prophecy Fulfilled and The End
 At an athletic event
sometime later, Perseus
thrilled a crowd with his
discus skill.
 However, he
accidentally struck and
killed a man who turned
out to be Acrisius.
 The prophecy originally
told to Acrisius had
come true.
Works Cited
 Hamilton, Edith. Mythology. New York:
Little Brown & Company, 1940. Print.
 "Perseus." Greek Mythology. 2005. Web.
21 Feb. 2010.