Reclaiming Medusa – A look at otherness in storytelling

When we read Greek and Roman mythology, we are given the perspective of the gods or mortals that worship them. Chimera, the Medusa, Cerebus, the Minotaur – all of these creatures share a common trait – they are “monsters” and they share a common fate – they are killed by heroes proving themselves to the please the gods. The Greeks told the stories honestly, they did not want to insult or displease the gods; it would not occur to write the story from the perspective of the Minotaur as it is knows it is being hunted by a hero trying to prove himself. His crime was being born different.

Perspective is everything in a story, the words we use to describe our characters create empathy or hatred in the heart of the reader. As an educator, I have watched our nation’s focus on inclusiveness change dramatically in just under twenty years teaching and even more since I was an elementary student. When I was a child, we learned how the Europeans bravely colonized the great wilderness that was North America. Now, we teach how these same Europeans were brutal and cruel to the people they encountered here. Where we once understood that history is written by the winners, we now know the importance of including the story of the others, even the villain. The more we can understand the villain, the victim, the hero, and the bystander; the more we can understand ourselves, our motives, and strive to be better to others.   

In mythology, it is hard to find a perspective as overlooked is the story of the monsters. We have encountered figurative monsters in our lives and some of us have been monsters in our own stories. Working with Medusa and her family has opened my eyes to how much changing the storyteller transforms my understanding of myself and humanity in general.

Changing the roles in the story, making Medusa my hero, has empowered me to change my own story. Before I started working with the gorgon, I thought of the monsters in the myths like the common Greek citizen thought of them – as creatures to be disposed of because they were dangerous. This mindset seems to have carried over into Western civilization’s treatment of their other created monsters – the indigenous people that lived in the places.


  1. Nice. I think it’s great folks are revisiting formerly forbidden Goddesses. Medusa, Kali, etc.

    I don’t know. But I have thoughts. I think Medusa and the Gorgons might be the remnants of a religion conquered and absorbed by Greece. I have a bloated blogpost you can read here. It’s a TLDR, I know.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. TracyMarrs says:

      I look forward to checking it out. Thanks for giving some thoughts for ruminating.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No pressure, you’re welcome.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. TracyMarrs says:

        No worries, none felt. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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