Love is Worth Fighting For: A Little Life Lesson from Perseus and the Medusa

 

I took this picture at the Getty Museum in Westwood on Saturday. It is a photo of a painting (from the first decade of the 1700s) by Sebastiano Rici, and depicts Perseus holding the head of Medusa in combat against Phineus and his not-so-merry band of men. Phineus, a failed suitor to Perseus’s bride-to-be, Andromeda, crashes their wedding, Dustin Hoffman style, but unlike Hoffman, doesn’t end up with the girl, but is turned to stone by Perseus holding before him and his men Medusa’s creep face. The ending of The Graduate  seems to be echoing the disrupted and chaotic wedding of Perseus and Andromeda, but with Phineus victorious:

All that cross swinging in the film above recalls the waving around of the Medusa’s head by Perseus, doesn’t it? I suppose that the moral of the story is this: Don’t let anybody get between you and the one you love. And if they do, consider wildly swinging before them a Freudian energized taboo symbol that frightens all opposition into stony silence. And if that doesn’t completely ward them off, go to Plan B: run like hell, hand in hand. Everybody has a right to their own choice of who to marry, right? (Opponents of gay marriage, are you listening?) Anyway, here’s a scene from Clash of the Titans, showing how Perseus got Medusa’s head in the first place:

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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3 Responses to Love is Worth Fighting For: A Little Life Lesson from Perseus and the Medusa

  1. Valerie says:

    Very interesting comparison – I must watch The Graduate again soon.
    Good luck.

  2. santitafarella says:

    Thank you.

    —Santi

  3. Anonymous says:

    thanks a lot. God bless

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