Nathan (vovat) wrote,

Bad Snake Day

I've already said a bit about Medusa, but after reading kevenn's review of the Clash of the Titans remake, I felt she was worth another look. Only not a DIRECT look, because I don't want to be turned to stone.

I actually remember when I first learned about the Gorgon. There was a Medusa pinball game at our local pizza place, and my dad explained about how she had snakes for hair and anyone who saw her turned to stone. What I didn't learn until long after that was just how many versions of the Medusa legend there were. Earlier takes on the myth made her one of the primitive chthonic monsters that were always being killed by heroes to pave the way for civilization. She was the daughter of the primordial sea deities Phorcys and Ceto, and was totally hideous. Later, the myths gave her two sisters, Stheno and Euryale, and the three were of course known collectively as the Gorgons. Later depictions and stories actually started making Medusa attractive apart from the snakes, and Ovid's version of the myth says that she was originally a drop-dead gorgeous priestess in the temple of Athena. When she and Poseidon had sex in the temple, Athena punished her by turning her into the serpent-tressed monster we all know and love. I'm not sure the story was entirely clear on whether this intercourse was willing or not. You'd think it would have to be, as there wouldn't be any sense in punishing her for something that was done TO her. Unfortunately, however, the idea of blaming rape victims has a long history, and is still practiced in some parts of the world. You probably remember the recent story of a Somali girl being stoned to death for that. Poseidon probably said Medusa was asking for it because she dressed too provocatively. The thing is, you'd think Athena would sympathize with the Gorgon, considering that not only is she female, but also supposed to be the wisest of the Olympians. As we learned in the story of Arachne, however, the goddess was not at all free from jealousy and wrath. Apparently the new Clash film uses the idea that Medusa was raped and then punished for it, and if what Kevenn said is correct, then this was never even frowned upon!

By the way, did Medusa have to feed the snakes, or were they parasitic creatures living off nutrients from her body? Inquiring minds want to know! {g}

This last picture was drawn by Becca, whose blog is definitely worth a look. Probably not at work, though, as there's occasional nudity.
Tags: art, current events, movies, mythology
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