The Transformation Of Medusa In King Lear

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Medusa was once the considered the most beautiful woman in the entire world. When she proclaimed her beauty as far superior than the Gods, the Goddess Aphrodite struck her with a terrible curse. Medusa went through a metamorphosis, becoming a hideous beast with snakes for hair and a stare that turned men into stone. The story is seen as a cautionary tale of hubris, and the infinite power of the Gods. Some believe that Medusa’s transformation is actually a blessing, a blessing which kept her away from undesired male attention, and give her a way to fight back, a power rarely granted to the female sex.
In King Lear the women are equated to monsters and beasts; traditionally these comments are seen as insults. Examining the tragic play, King
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The transformation of Regan and Goneril from maidens fair to hideous creatures is in the first act, when the two women lie in order to get what they want, their father’s land. This is the “figurative death” (CENTAURS) of Lear, as he is demasculinized and stripped of power. Once the women become monsters and figuratively kill their father it is far easier to inflict violence upon them. The final act of the play, strife with death and violence, the dead corpses of Regan and Goneril are placed on display in front of a group of men, their death’s violent and gruesome. Murdered by her sister, Regan was brought out after being poisoned, and Goneril who then felt so guilty she stabbed herself. Once the bodies are displayed, Albany, the husband of Goneril, exclaims, “Seest thou this object” (V.iii.285). The dead bodies of two women are considered a single object. The violence inflicted upon them is gruesome, but as they were malevolent characters nobody cares. Helen of Troy suffered a similar fate, a woman regarded for her striking beauty caused a war over her affection, once this war begun she was proclaimed as the instigator, thus turning her into a monster. Once she was this monster, raping her became easy for the men who felt wronged by the battle. In Francesco Primaticcio’s painting The Rape of Helen men surround the Helen, ripping off her clothing, carrying her from her home (Primaticcio). She is the cause of their suffering, and therefore it is acceptable to commit austericities to her. Because she has been stripped of humanity and immortalized as the cause of this great war, and the inciting incident of the Fall of Troy, anything done upon her flesh is irrelevant and not a crime. Hurting a monster is easier than hurting a

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