Medusa is of course, the Greek myth’s female monster with wings, scaly body and claws, and snakes for hair. She is mortal with a beautiful human face. She has two sisters like her who are immortal. The myth states that anyone who looks at her turns to stone. As with many of the female monsters in Greek myth, Medusa was turned into a monster for punishment; she was vain and bragged about her beauty one time to many. The gods were angered and zapped her.
Perseus ultimately slays her; he cuts off her head but does not view her directly; he uses his shield as a mirror and looks into it. She is sleeping at the time of her death. I have to wonder how heroic his act really is. In essence, he slaughters a sleeping, helpless woman, lying in the bosom of her family for protection. The immortals had already punished her enough; did they have to have her murdered, too? Different, yes, but how ugly was she really? The gods and goddesses of Olympus were still jealous enough and angry enough to put a hit on her.
Thereafter, Perseus carried the image of Medusa’s head on her shield.
I draw comparisons with Medusa and Erzebet. Both are subject to “myth” and the ruling religions require their persecution and destruction. Jealousy and anger play a factor in the fates of both, and both are subject to “overkill” beyond their punishment.
Actually, there are many good versions of the Medusa story; she even makes appearances in Clash of the Titans. Joseph Campbell, Thomas Bullfinch, Sir James Frazier, all have written credible accounts of the Greek myths. For my money, I’ll take Edith Hamilton and Mythology any time. When I read and reread her, I always detect a little sympathy for the monster.
Actually, I have to say, I felt sorry for Medusa.