Perseus and Medusa: Home Study

Here’s a copy of the myth Perseus and Medusa.

Here are 10 activities that can be worked through at home to increase understanding. They get progressively more difficult, with the final two tasks being more creative.

  1. Make a list of all the characters in the story and explain, in one sentence, their part in the tale.

2.  Who was Medusa? Was she always a monster? Explain how she came to be.

3. Why was Medusa such a dangerous foe?

4.   What sort of king was Polydectes? Use evidence from the story in you answer.

5.  How heroic was Perseus? In your answer you should consider:

  • The challenges and difficulties of his task.
  • The people he may have saved, including his mother.
  • The actions of Polydectes

6. Read the following extract from the story

The Gorgon stepped forward into the light. For a dreadful moment, Perseus was tempted to look up at her, to meet her eyes. But with all his strength he kept his head turned away and instead of looking at Medusa, he looked at her reflection in the shield. Now he could see her green skin, her poisonous red eyes and her yellow teeth, all reflected in the polished bronze. He lifted the sword.

“Look at me! Look at me!” the Gorgon cried. Still he kept his eyes on the shield. Now the reflection was huge, the teeth snarling at him out of the shield. The snakes writhed furiously, hissing with the sound of red-hot needles being plunged into water.

How does the writer make this part of the story feel tense and exciting? Use quotes from the extract in your answer.

7.  Read the following extract from the story:

Now Perseus saw the mouth of a large cave, yawning darkly at him. Holding the shield more tightly than ever, he climbed up the gentle slope and, taking a deep breath, entered the gloom.

How does the writer make the cave sound ominous and threatening? Use specific words from the extract in your answer.

8. “Perseus is the most heroic of all Greek characters.”

To what extent do you agree with this statement? You should consider his actions and compare them to other heroes in Greek mythology, such as Hercules, Theseus, and Achilles.

9. Creative Writing: Describe a terrifying monster. Think carefully about their appearance, their habitat and what else about them makes them so scary.

10. Creative Writing: Imagine you are Perseus. Write a letter to Danae, your mother, explaining how you managed to overcome Medusa. Remember, it is a long journey home to Seriphos, and shed will be keen to hear from you.

 

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