Forsaken: A Modern Retelling of the Medusa Myth

Author: Megan Brown
Major: Creative Writing
Approved: Fall 2017
Status: Completed

The myth of Medusa is an elusive one, about a girl transformed into a monster and cast into the arena with the best the Greeks could offer.  But what was she thinking?  Who was this girl before she was Poseidon’s lover and Athena’s scorned priestess?  Who was she after a curse cast her out from society and made her anathema?  Modern and ancient versions of this story cast her in one mold, a monster who kills for pleasure and revels in the fact that she can slay any man with a look.  Is there more to the story? In my retelling, Medusa carries her humanity with her, even after she’s cursed to be a monster. She grieves the statues she creates. The works asks what it means to be human in a world controlled by gods?  This project will see the completion of a novel following Medusa through her life and filling in the places that myth doesn’t cover.  It explores her psychology and questions the nature of monstrosity.

Mythology often favors the male perspective.  Men fight battles and slay monsters, women are saved or kidnapped or curse.  Men act, women are acted upon.  This narrative seeks to bring some autonomy to Medusa as a female character in a male dominated world.  It allows her to tell her own story, as she lived it.  The narrative focuses on women and the relationships they share, as priestesses at a temple to the goddess Athena, and sisters, enduring monstrous transformations in the wild, unable to interact with society.  Some would label it a feminist rendering, but I simply endeavor to give Medusa a voice she has long been denied.  I seek to give her a voice as strong as her deadly gaze.