perseus story - Acrisius married Aganippe and by her had a...

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Acrisius married Aganippe and by her had a daughter, the lovely Danae. But what he wanted even more was a son to succeed him on the throne; and so, anxious to learn if he would ever be blessed with one, he went to the oracle at Delphi. Apollo’s answer was as follows: “Hear my words, Acrisius, son of Abas! Though you will never beget a son to hand your kingdom down to, in his place there will rule a mighty hero to whom your daughter shall give birth. But know this: it is written by the Fates that this grandson of yours shall kill you.” When Acrisius heard the answer he was terrified. Only one thought now possessed him – how to escape his destiny. To do so, he would stop at nothing. His only problem was, how could he make sure that he would never have a grandson? Driven by fear, he built an underground prison with heavy bronze doors and there he shut up his daughter, Danae. To him, this seemed the perfect way of making sure she would not marry and thus never bear a child. But Danae was so beautiful that Zeus himself had fallen in love with her, and no jail, however strong, was proof against the desires of the ruler of gods and men. And so Zeus entered Danae’s dark prison, slipping through the chinks in the shuttered window in a shower of golden rain; and nine months afterwards the daughter of Acrisius gave birth to Perseus, son of Zeus. A few days later, Acrisius was passing his daughter’s cell when he heard a baby crying. Although he was sure his ears were playing tricks on him, he opened the bronze door and stood rooted to the spot with astonishment when he saw Danae clasping a baby to her breast. Frightened out of his wits, and unable to imagine for an instant that this infant might be the son of Zeus, his suspicions immediately fell – where else? – upon his hated brother, Proetus. This suspicion soon hardened into certainty, and with it his hatred for his brother swelled. To be revenged upon him, and at the same time rid himself of this mortally dangerous grandson, he decided to kill both his daughter and her child. But at the last moment, his nerve failed him and he held back. In the
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end, however, a cunning plan came into his mind, and his eyes gleamed craftily as he said: “Let the foaming waves swallow them up; let the fishes eat them. It will be Proetus’ loss, not mine. If he couldn’t kill me all these years, I won’t let myself sit and be killed now by his son!” And without further delay, he ordered his plan to be carried out. A short time after this, on Seriphos, an island which lies across the gulf from Argos, a fisherman named Dictys was pulling in his nets when he saw that a wooden chest was caught up in them. Seized with curiosity, he dragged on the ropes with all his might, and soon the chest was lying on the sand. It was a fine piece of workmanship, sturdily bound in bronze. The more Dictys looked at it, the more curious he became. Where had it come from, and what could be inside?
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This note was uploaded on 04/24/2011 for the course MYT 2230 taught by Professor Taylor during the Spring '11 term at University of Central Florida.

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perseus story - Acrisius married Aganippe and by her had a...

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