Study Guide

Perseus and Medusa

Introduction

Brave, handsome hero sets off to slay the evil, hideous monster. We're guessing you've seen a story a like this before – and you loved it. It's pretty much one of most popular plots there is. For real, like every single comic book, comic book movie, action move, or other summer blockbuster follows the same basic story. If the hero is the right kind of cool and the villain is the right kind of wicked, people line up around the street to watch the battle go down.

And this isn't a new thing. The ancient Greeks loved heroic stories. Take the story of Perseus and Medusa, for example. Clever young hero hunts down a dreaded, snake-haired monster? Yes, please. Perseus may have been the first of Greece's monster slaying heroes, but he definitely wasn't the last. Theseus kills the minotaur, Odysseus blinds a Cyclops, and Heracles wreaks havoc on a hydra, a hell-hound, and a giant boar among other monstrous foes.

People just can't get enough of watching ugly monsters get what's coming to them. We're guessing that's why the story of Perseus was used as the basis of both the 1981 and 2010 versions of Clash of the Titans, not to mention important chunks of the Percy Jackson series.

Best of the Web

Perseus and Medusa Resources

Websites

Theoi.com
This is a great source for all things ancient Greek. We're linking to the page on Perseus.

Movies

Clash of the Titans (1981)
The 1980s take on the myth of Perseus. The old-fashioned animation is kind of awesome.

Clash of the Titans (2010)
The most recent Hollywood production loosely based on the story of Perseus. The cast includes Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, and Gemma Arterton.

Video Games

Clash of the Titans
Here's the video game version.

God of War
Kratos, Mr. God of War, fights and defeats both Perseus and Medusa.

Historical Documents

Hesiod, Apollodorus, Ovid, and more…
Compare several ancient tellings of Perseus' myth.

Videos

The Showdown
Perseus vs. Medusa, according to the 2010 and 1981 films. This video compares the showdown scenes, not to mention the graphics, of both movies. (Spoiler: Medusa is not asleep.)

Animated Showdown
Perseus vs. Medusa, according to Russian animators.

2010 Movie Trailer
Nope, it's not faithful to the original myth, but it's still fun.

1981 Movie Trailer
Be sure to watch long enough to see the Kraken.

Books

Perseus: The Hunt for Medusa's Head
A graphic novel version of the tale.

Perseus by Geraldine McCaughrean
A novelization of the Greek myth that fleshes out Perseus' story for young readers.