Arturo Uruena

Professor Ramos

English 1B

15 November, 2018

                                              MEDUSA IS THE REAL VICTIM


When the topic of monsters come up, everyone has a favorite or not so favorite monster in mind. Growing up the monsters seemed to constantly evolve into a more vicious and more detailed form each time grasping the audience attention even more. As the decades roll by some monsters seem to lose their audience’s attention and other monsters seem to stand out and compete with the new ones. Many of today’s monsters are of ancient decent being passed down  to the following generations for their unique attributes. One monster who catches my attention the most and can be dated back to 500 BCE is Medusa the Misunderstood monster. Medusa has been portrayed to be this horrible woman who has snakes as her hair and any man that looks at her shall be turned to stone causing her to strike fear in anyone’s heart. Her monster character has gone through some drastic changes through the ages and makes her more menacing each time. After reading Jeffery Jerome Cohen’s “Monster Culture (Seven Thesis)” Medusa fits into his first thesis which is The monster’s body is a culture body because medusa represents many cultural beliefs about women and the role they can play at times in men’s lives. Many different people have written about Medusa and even made motion pictures having her as a ravenous woman who kills men with just a glance resulting in being able to reach an audience who have been wronged by women and can relate to the unforgivable dominion a woman can have on specifically men.  There is always more to the monster and for most of them there was a beginning to their madness, before they went down the dark path of becoming a monster to anyone who lays their eyes upon them. Medusa is a misunderstood monster in the sense of how she originated and how she is now portrayed. Not everything that she is famous for has roots in her origin, there are many reasons for becoming the scary medusa everyone has come to know.


 Medusa  was one of 3 gorgon sisters, medusa was the prettiest as the legend has it, she and her sisters were all gifted with many powers no one to be messed with. They were known for having the same powers which enabled them to turn men into stone at even just a glance. Women today can have a similar effect on men to this day, if a woman that you are attracted to gives you smile and flirtatious eyes it makes you feel a very primal feeling of mutual attractiveness, but also if that same woman that you seem to be attracted to gives you piercing eyes and snarling lips you would feel a certain insecurity of why she is doing so. At many different points in our lives we encounter women in different day to day situations, every person alive has been born by a woman including Jesus Christ himself. Women can get a bad label put upon them with Medusa as a character to emulate women characteristics, this is why it is not wise to judge anyone based on preconceived ideas made by people from the past based on pure fictitious stories. ” How can one reasonably define and then analyze Greek women, when we are dealing with diverse women who lived in a changing and varied set of circumstances (e.g., in terms of social class and gender relations) and in populations that span more than a thousand years and that inhabited a large geographical space, from Asia Minor (the Ionian coast) to Southern Italy and Sicily, and from North Africa to Thrace and Macedonia?” (Felson 128). This captures the perspective that some women have, its easy to find it infuriating to be labeled anything near what medusa represents.


  This new era of Medusa is much worse than the original less menacing Medusa, as time goes on each new take at medusa offers a glimpse into the true fears of the author who gives her a unique look either more frightening or more seducing character traits. Depending on who the audience is aimed to be, will influence the way they want Medusa to be portrayed such as in a provocative manner like this image depicts . While others try to portray a horrendous side to her like so and use imagery to make an already powerful and deceitful woman even more frightening like so,using these tactics really entices the targeted audience to pursue the authors story with nail biting suspense because they enjoy seeing their own fears in these type of monsters. Whether your monster of choice is by choice or fear it sometimes can enlighten us to some deeper secrets of ourselves, as a cultural monster Medusa has been dragged down through the centuries as a monster with a purpose, to wipe out men and never let another man touch her or even so much as look upon her with lust or curiosity. This was not always the case for Medusa, for she has a beginning and it is much different than anyone would imagine unless you search to her true ancient origins of when she began and how she became known as Medusa the monster woman with serpents as her hair.


 Medusa was a sister of 3, Gorgons whom were very beautiful to the human eye and even to the other gods, Athena the god of war was jealous of Medusa because Poseidon the god of the sea, raped Medusa in Athena’s temple which enraged Athena causing her to invoke the serpents and death stare upon Medusa for any man to ever lust upon her again should face a horrible death. Many people never knew this about Medusa and automatically assume that she just had an unreasonable hate towards men so much so to never have eye contact with another including any gods who might try and rape her again. With a past like that it’s easier to understand Medusa and her wicked powers, they were meant for protection against not only god like rapist but also unwanted male companionship. Who is to say she isn’t a lesbian and chooses to only have companionship with other women, it never mentions once that the rape was consensual, or that Medusa was ever attracted to any man. Getting labeled as a man killer is no small feat, it in fact is punishable by death in some parts of the United states, but Medusa is misunderstood, she is the victim in the reality of her true story. Now all men who have to deal with her until someone is able to sever her head off is doomed to stoned death with just a glance, that is if her serpent hair doesn’t kill you first.

  When it comes to getting a bad deal of cards Medusa takes the win, she was a beautiful gorgon at first with lustful beauty as her strength and gorgeous hair. To becoming one of the most infamous men killers of all time through no intention or malice of her own, she was in a sense destined to fill this role and she was not stopped until Perseus comes and kills her with his wise decision to use a mirror to not look at her directly and is able to sever her head in that manner. Perseus is shown to be the half god half man all men want to be, able to take down any monster including Medusa and using her head in battle with the powers still in-tact. One can start to see the implications this might infer towards men and uncontrollable scary women, that if you trick them you can have them as a trophy and use that trophy to your advantage as a form of training or experience for any future encounters. “By the seventh century BCE, artists began to portray the whole body of Medusa, rather than just the head. Around this time, too, we find the first Greek literary narrative of Perseus slaying a ferocious, monstrous Medusa in Hesiod’s Theogony. However, if we take into consideration a broader chronological spectrum of iconography, we find ferocious female figures dating to the early Neolithic period. “(Robbins 37). Medusa is not the only woman who has a bad history, but she is the most talked about through history with unforgettable characteristics, regardless of how you perceive the present forms of Medusa or the past forms of her one thing is for certain, she is not going to go anywhere anytime soon and she will continue to evolve into an even more attractive feminine monster or a scarier and more frightening version.




                                                              Annotated Bibliography


Dexter, Miriam Robbins. “The Ferocious and the Erotic.” Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion (Indiana University Press), vol. 26, no. 1, Spring 2010, pp. 25–41. EBSCOhost,


This journal is about the origin of medusa, and how what we know now of her is misconstrued information. It has many cases of where medusa was transformed from her origin to a different mold to fit their description. She originally was called a gorgon, and had three sisters, after each use of her story through the centuries she became known only with her snake hair and as a deadly woman.


Felson, Nancy R. “Appropriating Ancient Greek Myths: Strategies and Caveats.” Studies in Gender & Sexuality, vol. 17, no. 2, Apr. 2016, pp. 126–131. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/15240657.2016.1172922.


This article is about how the nature of a woman is constantly being used as a negative and a fierce deity that can’t be controlled. Using the stories of how and why medusa was beheaded from the beginning by comparing herself the Athena in beauty. It has many highlights of how the authors use medusa’s female qualities to become horrible and monstrous.


Mack, Rainer. “Facing Down Medusa (An Aetiology of the Gaze).” Art History, vol. 25, no. 5, Nov. 2002, p. 571. EBSCOhost,

This article is about medusa and her true meaning without having to take away from who she has always been. Medusa is used today and for the most part as a way to ward off unwanted guest or even enemies, her very name brings terror to whoever believes she exists for she is capable of turning anyone into stone. With powers such as hers she is seen as a force to be reckoned with and this article goes in depth on her powers and different methods of intimidation.