What Is the Story of Medusa?

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According to the English Department of Vanderbilt, Medusa was a very beautiful, positive woman in Greek mythology who was raped and beheaded by several different Greek gods. When her head was removed, a Pegasus flew from her body, representing the birth of beauty.

According to popular Greek mythology, Medusa was the daughter of Phorkys and Keto, born of Oceanus and Gaea, and one of the three Gorgon sisters. She was also the only mortal Gorgon sister. Devoted to a life of celibacy because of her devotion and priestesshood to Athena, she was eventually wooed by Poseidon and married him. She was harshly punished by Athena, who made every strand of golden hair into a venomous snake. Her skin turned green, and her eyes turned red.

Upon her transformation, Medusa fled her home and never returned. According to Greek mythology, she fled to Africa and created a hotbed of reptiles as infant snakes dropped from her hair. Athena cursed her with Medusa's infamous stone gaze, which turned any person Medusa looked at into stone. Perseus eventually killed Medusa, bringing an end to her agony. He later mounted her head on the shield of Minerva, where it retained its power and turned foes to stone.