In the Greek mythology, Perseus was a very important hero. He was praised for doing many humanly unimaginable heroic acts like clever beheading of Medusa whose head was alleged to turn people into stones. Perseus is one of the highly celebrated heroes in the Greek history. His achievements are common fables shared by generations. His mother was locked in a bronze dungeon by his father, King Arkisios, to avoid her conceiving as the Oracle alleged that her son would take over his power. In the chambers, she was impregnated by Zeus in a golden shower and, on realizing her giving a birth, her father set a demise voyage for them to land in Seriphos island.
Upon growing up, king Polydektes ordered him to bring the head of Medusa and with the help of the gods he obtained the necessary paraphernalia. These included a magical sword, helm, and a winged pair of sandals. He approached the sleeping Medusa with his eyes turned away and beheaded her. By doing so, he did an act that many had tried in vain. Medusa was known to turn people into rocks during a face-to-face encounter.
His other heroic action was rescuing Andromeda from a chain on his way back. She was set as a sacrifice to the sea monster for an alleged claim that her mother was more beautiful than the Nereid. Perseus’ successful decapitation of the sea monster led to his marriage with Andromeda though not without resistance from Phineas.
On his way to Seriphus, Perseus stopped to take part in some competitions at Larisa, but the discus thrown went totally askew and hit an aged man, killing him instantly. He learned that the man was his grandpa King Acrisius and the prophecy of the Oracle came to pass. Upon reaching Seriphus, he met Dictys, the man who saved his mother and him ashore. He had turned Danae into his maiden and this infuriated Perseus. He stormed the city and asked all those who respect him to raise their eyes. Those who objected were Polydectes’ allies and Medusa’s head turned them into rocks. This way, Perseus became the king.
Just like other mythological heroes, Perseus’ genealogy made him a mortal and a son of a god. His ability to form the Peloponnesian city in Mycenae made him a leader of the Greek forces in the Trojan war. He also became the legendary great grandfather to the Persians. His heroic deeds made him recognized in the society as an immortal and a constellation in the northern sky was named after him.
What Perseus Learnt from the Experience
There are many lessons that readers can learn from the experience of Perseus and other characters in the Greek mythology. Greek myths reveal a world that was full of heroes, monsters, daring journeys, and amazing feats. Exploring these popular tales equips readers with the ability to understand poetic allusions and literature portrayed in the ancient Greek daily life. Most of these stories teach about morality by delving easily into the matters of human psyche that the world can understand better. In addition, the Greek mythology connects history and science by directing readers’ eyes to stars as heroes become depicted in constellations.
As one of the most celebrated Greek heroes, Perseus’ exploits in defeating monsters are found all over the story from his early life till his death. The Greeks considered him as a hero because he was able to overcome a lot of temptations and challenges in his life. First, king Ackricius, his grandfather, denied him guardianship due to the Oracle’s prediction that he would come to kill him. At this tender age, everyone would have expected that they would be overcome by the sea when they were set to die in the high seas. Readers come to understand that the gods were with Perseus and the Oracle’s prediction could not be overturned when he and his mother were rescued by Dictys. The mother and son were taken to king Polydectes who provided them with an asylum till the boy grew up. Perseus learnt how to be respectful to those who helped him in the time of need like Dictys.
Things that Perseus Did
On growing up, he realized oppression that the people experienced from antagonistic goddesses and made a resolution to deliver the people from the bondage. Medusa was one of the three Gorgon siblings, but she was the finite being. However, she was a monster with snakes on her head in place of hair. She kept her face beautiful, but the rest was monstrous and anyone who gambled to look at her was turned into a stone. Thus, Perseus had a hard job to rid the society of her menace. Together with nymphs, he asked Hermes and Athena to help him in fighting her and they provided him with winged sandals to fly with and a cap that made him invisible. In addition, he was offered a magic sword and a reflecting shield to avoid looking at Medusa directly. His bravery and persistence bore fruit when he managed to behead Medusa at last. This was an indication to the defeat of the gods of oppression.
In another incidence, Perseus liberated Andromeda from the sacrificial place. It was normal in the old Greek era to appease gods with a human sacrifice. This involved offering a living human being to the deity. Occurrence of these sacrifices relates to recognition of human blood as a sacred force of life. Bloodless deaths were used in ancient Greece to commune with the gods and participate in divine life. Perseus’ passion to help the humanity drove his decision to rescue Andromeda from being offered as a sacrifice by killing the monster. This action brought to an end the process of sacrificing humans to appease the gods for wrongs done by other people. In this case, the queen claimed that she was more beautiful than the Nereid and this was a punishable felony from the gods’ perspective.
The Greek people considered Perseus as a hero for managing to escape tribulations that most experienced soldiers had been unable to survive. For instance, many soldiers loyal to the king failed to decapitate Medusa and ended up being turned into a peace of rock. This was a problem that had troubled king Polydektes and his kingdom for a long time. After successfully managing to kill Medusa and taking her head with him, Perseus used it to finish Polydektes and his soldiers, thus delivering the people from the oppressive rule.
As he grew up, Perseus became wiser from his journey to find Medusa. He learnt that he was a chosen one by the Oracle. This alerted him of the impending danger of would-be opponents who wanted to maintain the status quo. He had to learn about weaknesses of Medusa and devise a way to approach her successfully. Contribution of Hermes gave Perseus an insight of what others were not able to learn about her. He helped Perseus to tap the powers in his head and use it to his advantage as it helped him kill the monster that wanted to kill Andromeda.
When I was a teenager, my group left for a scouts and guides camp in the mountains. The event was expected to take the whole weekend and the group was divided into different teams with shared activities. I was in a group of four, two girls and two boys, and our task was to gather the woods for the night’s bonfire. Other teams had their duties as well. So, we went deep in the woodlands about a hundred meters from the camp to a steeply sloping space with plenty of dry branches. Soon, as we had gathered enough, we heard a strange frightening sound similar to purring of a cat. I was atop the hill when everyone went helter-skelter. The girls screamed, running back to the camp, but unfortunately Vic, my friend, trampled in twigs and fell. From my position, I could tell that he had injured his foot.
Being the only one at his rescue, I climbed down the tree and walked towards the beast shouting. My aim was to distract it to give Vic a chance to rise. The bear noticed me and turned for me, but could not reach me fast as it was downhill. When Vic managed to rise, I screamed to him to go back to the camp and to leave me. I had noticed he was bleeding and it could have been worse for us. I was left on my own with the beast standing on my way and heading towards me. I picked a wet branch in an attempt to scare the bear and shortly rangers arrived. They found me dodging my way with the beast with twigs and I had to retreat atop the tree to give it a chance to get back to bushes. I was liberated and the team leader praised me for endangering my life to protect my teammates.
What I Learnt from the Journey
The Perseus’ story is very important as it teaches the humanity about the need to respect each other and fight for what is right. The journey of Perseus illustrated that it is possible to move from the state of being despised to a state of being respected. It teaches readers on the importance of humility and sacrifice. Despite being idealized many years ago, themes in this story are still relevant in the modern society. Just like Perseus, the incident made me believe in myself and I became resolved to always help others in time of danger.