Perseus Theme: Fate Theme: Recurring idea or insight found in the story. Also known as the “hidden message”. Repeatedly we have seen the theme of “fate” emerge in Greek mythology: 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. Origin CAST AWAY 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. POLYDECTES’ PLOT 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 Gorgons. Polydectes then decides he will have a party for his soon-to-be wife. All bring a present except Perseus. POLYDECTES’ PLOT 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. 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 women 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 Women. 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 North 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 sleeping. 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. Gorgons Slaying 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, Andromeda’s 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 Polydectes’ 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. <http://www.greekmythology.com/Myth s/Heroes/Perseus/perseus.html>.