Perseus: the Movie

by Diane Fahey

Diane Fahey

Andromeda was ordered by the oracle to be exposed to the monster, and she was accordingly tied naked to a rock; but Perseus delivered her, changed the monster into a rock, by the exhibition of the Medusa's head, and married her. This marriage was opposed by Phineus, to whom she had been betrothed; but he, after a bloody battle, was changed into stone by Perseus.
— J. Lemprière
Females. He doesn't like them.
Some need to be searched out and destroyed.
Like Medusa. Others exist to aid him in his quest —
mindless nymphs who outfit him with winged sandals,
‘dome of darkness’, and head-sized wallet. So now, take-off!
First thing, the Graeae (those dim
caricatures), are blackmailed for information
then have their one eye thrown into the lake. Plop!
Perseus feels terrific. Onward to where he turns invisible
in the Gorgons' cave, creeping by stone animals and men,
watching it all on his shield
like portable TV. One swipe of his sickle and
he too is a stone-maker, later to create museums,
mausoleums, with a gesture. Next the age-old drama
of dragon, naked lady, and iron-clad man with huge lance
i.e. the Andromeda scene…
It's long-distance love-at-first-sight for Perseus
who ties up the marriage contract before saving her.
Afterwards he's so hungry he has to stop himself from
eating her: lucky she's worth a million or he might have!
Also (don't forget!) he loves her.
‘You're so vulnerable,’ he croons adoringly.
But what she is, is half-dead by now and aware
worse is to come. Andromeda gets dressed, puts on
her make-up and crown. Having been promised to another
(is only she good at arithmetic?)
she knows there'll be trouble, hopes they'll
kill each other. In fact, at the wedding, Perseus
petrifies his rival by raising Medusa's head. But here,
let's stop the reel so Andromeda can question Medusa.
She peers at her curved image in a silver casserole lid.
‘First, who are you?’
‘I'm the Serpent Goddess of the Amazons —
among other things. That will do for now.'
‘What does he want?’
‘To turn men into stone. To turn women into jelly.’
‘Is there any way out of this?’
‘Change the script. Start deciding what will happen.’
The icon fades. Andromeda turns to find, in another
the face of a woman who is thinking hard: as, to be frank,
she must, to get out of that plot, this poem. She weaves
her way past human chess pieces, leaves Perseus
staring with blank eyes at his frozen world.
Then, sunlight.

Listening to a far sea

Last updated August 18, 2022