5. Perseus and the Gorgon Medusa

Perseus's grandfather - Akrisios - goes to the Oracle to ask how long he has to live. The Oracle replies that he will die at the hands of his grandson - Perseus. Akrisios decides to take matters into his own hands. He puts Perseus and his mother - Danae - into a crate and throws them into the sea. But the crate is rescued by a fisherman and Perseus and his mother find themselves on the Isle of Seriphos at the court of King Polydectes. Polydectes takes a fancy to Danae and is determined to marry her. When Perseus tells Polydectes to leave his mother alone the King agrees - but only if Perseus can fulfil his challenge.

So it is that Perseus finds himself challenged to defeat the Gorgon - a monster called Medusa - a task that Polydectes believes to be impossible since the Oracle has prophesied that Medusa can never be defeated.

Hermes intervenes with the information that Medusa's whereabouts can only be determined by talking to the Three Grey Sisters - so off go the two of them. The Three Grey Sisters only have one eye between them - which they use in turn - and Perseus is able to turn this to his advantage to discover the location of Medusa.

When they arrive at their destination Hermes suddenly flies back to Olympia. Perseus think Hermes is abandoning him, but Hermes has actually gone to get a sword and shield.

Anyone who looks Medusa directly in the face is turned instantly to stone - so Hermes is intending Perseus to use the shield to see the reflection of Medusa only. Hermes returns to find Medusa about to attack Perseus. It's time to put the plan into action...and if they're successful they'll still have to deal with King Polydectes. And what too of the prophesy that Perseus will kill his grandfather?

Perseus and the Golden Medusa - transcript to print/download (pdf)

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