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Heroic Myth Perseus. Introduction to Heroic Myth ► Humans are the protagonists, not gods ► Narrative about events in the human, not divine, past ► “Hero”

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Presentation on theme: "Heroic Myth Perseus. Introduction to Heroic Myth ► Humans are the protagonists, not gods ► Narrative about events in the human, not divine, past ► “Hero”"— Presentation transcript:

1 Heroic Myth Perseus

2 Introduction to Heroic Myth ► Humans are the protagonists, not gods ► Narrative about events in the human, not divine, past ► “Hero”  Homer: noble-born male who’s alive  Later: noble figure from the distant past.

3 Folktale Motifs and Heroic Myths Partly divine birth Miraculous birth and childhood Great strength is a benefit and menace A friend Falls under enemy’s power of spell Breaks a taboo Is tempted Responsible for friend’s death

4 Folktale Motifs and Heroic Myths The quest Help from gods Return home and is domesticated Rewarded for his efforts Great funeral

5 Legends of Perseus Danaë and the Shower of Gold

6 ► Lynceus (the one spared) in Argos after Danaüs ► Hypermnestra ► His son Abas has twins  Acrisius, rules in Argos  Proetus, rules in nearby Tiryns (Poetids- madness) ► Acrisius has a daughter, Danaë, but wants sons

7 Danaë and the Shower of Gold ► Oracles says Danaë will have a son, but that he will kill him (Acrisius) ► Zeus’s “rain shower” impregnates her ► Set adrift in a wooden box ► Dictys at Seriphos ► Polydectes  Tricked Perseus into going on a quest for the head of a Gorgon


9 Poor Danae ► Danae was the daughter of Acrisius. An oracle warned Acrisius that Danae's son would someday kill him, so Acrisius shut Danae in a bronze room, away from all male company. However, Zeus conceived a passion for Danae, and came to her through the roof, in the form of a shower of gold that poured down into her lap; as a result she had a son, Perseus. When Acrisius discovered Perseus, he locked both mother and son in a chest, and set it adrift on the sea. The chest came ashore at Seriphus, where Danae and Perseus were welcomed. Later, King Polydectes of Seriphus fell in love with Danae and tried to force himself on her; he was eventually killed by Perseus. AcrisiusZeusPerseus AcrisiusZeusPerseus

10 Danae and Perseus set adrift

11 Perseus, the Gorgon Slayer

12 Graeae and Perseus ► Medusa was one of three terrible sisters called Gorgons. They had leathery wings, brazen claws, and writhing poisonous snakes in place of hair. Anyone who looked at them turned to stone. But Perseus was helped by the gods. Athena lent him her brightly polished shield, and Hermes gave him a magic sword. Perseus came to the land of night where the three Gray Sisters (the Graeae) lived. They had only one eye and one tooth among them. They refused to help Perseus, but he stole their eye and returned it only when they told him where to find the Gorgons.

13 Perseus, the Gorgon Slayer ► Gorgons  Stheno  Euryalê  Medusa (the only mortal Gorgon) ► Help from the Graeae-shared on eye, Perseus stole it.  “Where can the Gorgons be found?”

14 Medusa

15 Perseus the Gorgon Slayer ► Magical implements-nymphs  Cap of Hades  Winged sandals  The kibisis-special leather puch  Extra sharp sword  Highly polished bronze shield  Using invisibility snuck up and killed Medusa by cutting off her head while looking in the shield.

16 Perseus ’ gifts from Nymph

17 Slaying Medusa ► With winged sandals that enabled him to fly, the helmet of Hades that made him invisible, and a bag in which to conceal the head, he set out again and finally found the three Gorgons asleep. He put on his cap of darkness and flew nearer. Alighting, he looked into his shining shield, thus avoiding a direct look at the Gorgons. With one stroke of his sword he cut off Medusa's head.

18 Slaying Medusa

19 Perseus with Medusa ’ s Head

20 Perseus the Gorgon Slayer ► From the body of Medusa, who was pregnant by Poseidon  Pegasus, later tamed by Bellerophon  Chrysaör ► Perseus frees his mother from Polydectes’s aggression with the head of Medusa

21 Pegasus

22 Rescuing Danae ► Perseus continued home and rescued his mother by turning Polydectes and his supporters to stone at the sight of Medusa's head.

23 Perseus and Andromeda


25 ► Cepheus’s daughter, Andromeda, about to be sacrificed to a sea monster, because of the rash boast by her mother, Cassiopeä  Perseus given Andromeda and the kingdom for having freed her ► Phineus, to whom Andromeda had been betrothed, killed with his men by the head of Medusa

26 Andromeda Saved

27 Andromeda ► beautiful daughter of King Cepheus and Queen Cassiope of Joppa in Palestine (called Ethiopia) and wife of Perseus. Cassiope offended the Nereids by boasting that Andromeda was more beautiful than they, so in revenge Poseidon sent a sea monster to devastate Cepheus' kingdom. Since only Andromeda's sacrifice would appease the gods, she was chained to a rock and left to be devoured by the monster. Perseus flew by on the winged horse Pegasus, fell in love with Andromeda, and asked Cepheus for her hand. Cepheus agreed, and Perseus slew the monster. At their marriage feast, however, Andromeda's uncle, Phineus, to whom she had originally been promised, tried to claim her. Perseus turned him to stone with Medusa's head. Andromeda bore Perseus six sons and a daughter. Perseus

28 Perseus kills Phineus

29 The Death of Acrisius

30 ► Perseus returns to Argos ► Acrisius flees (it is fated that Perseus will kill him) ► At a sports contest in Thessaly, Perseus accidentally kills him with a stray discus ► Trades Argos of Tiryns with Megapenthes, a son of Proetus ► Perseus also builds Mycenae

31 The final chapter ► Can ’ t escape the Fates! ► Mycenae founded by Perseus, later ruled by Atreus and then Agamemnon ► Perseus ’ grandson Heracles

32 The Death of Acrisius ► After a long rule, Perseus and Andromeda become constellations, where their story can be seen ► Perseus Perseus ► Perseus Cartoon Perseus Cartoon Perseus Cartoon

33 Perseus and Folktale

34 Perseus

35 ► Perseus’ tale is nearly a child’s fairy tale ► Closest we have to a folktale ► The form of the girl’s tragedy for Danaë

36 Perseus and Folktale ► Prohibition  Can’t marry ► Seclusion  Locked in a chamber ► Violation of the prohibition  The shower ► Threat of punishment or death  Set adrift in a box ► Liberation  Save by Dictys

37 Perseus and Folktale ► Perseus’s story somewhat like Gilgamesh’s  More emphasis on the quest ► Extraordinary birth; his own strength a threat to his family; impossible labors with divine help; rewarded in the end with a kingdom and wife ► Differences: no taboo, no male friend

38 Perseus and Folktale ► Perseus devoid of internal struggle and personality  These are adult themes and not a part of folktale ► Perhaps the Perseus story circulated as oral tales (for children?) before it was written down

39 End

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