What are the early signs of greatness and preparation for future greatness in Ovid's myth of Perseus?

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Jamie Wheeler eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Perseus was destined for greatness as soon as he was born.  He was half-immortal, being the son of Zeus and Danae.  But there was trouble for both the newborn and his mother.  Acrisius, Danae's father, was so incensed at his daughter's giving birth that he locked both mother and child into a chest and threw them into the sea.  Zeus appealed to Poseidon, who rescued them.  Perseus, therefore, has always had the help of the gods to overcome obstacles and be successful.

Later, Perseus does prove his strength and bravery, and indeed, his greatness, when he is commanded by King Polydekes to bring back the head of Medusa.  This adventure is one of his first feats, and hints at the promise that the young man holds.

Later still, Perseus will show that his early success was no flash in the pan. Perseus also kills the sea monster that was holding Andromeda prisoner, brings her home and marries her.  Although Pesues has the benefit of being half-immortal from the beginning, and therefore protection from the gods, he does prove his mettle throughout his life.   

Read the study guide:
The Metamorphoses of Ovid

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