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Anna Akhmatova, 1998 by Joel-Peter Witkin
O, banish me, my lord, but kill me not!
Kill me to-morrow: let me live to-night!
Nay, if you strive–
But half an hour!
Being done, there is no pause.
But while I say one prayer!
It is too late.
Shakespeare, Othello, Act V, Scene ii, 1622.
In Greek legend, sorceress Circe (pronounced Kirke) is the daughter of Helios, the sun god, and Perse, an ocean nymph. She is said to have been surrounded by beasts that could not be seen elsewhere. When others came to her palace, they saw the beasts, but only what they recognized, like lions, bears and wolves. The beasts acted as domesticated animals, showing their kindness by wagging their tails. Some say they were actually drugged victims of Circe.
All that live must die, passing through nature to eternity.
– Shakespeare, from Hamlet
When the blood dripped from Medusa’s head onto the plains of Libya, each drop of blood transformed into venomous serpents. The power of Medusa’s head is seen again when Perseus encountered the Titan Atlas. When Perseus asked Atlas for a place to rest for a short while, his request was refused. Knowing that he would not be able to defeat the Titan with brute force alone, he took out Medusa’s head, and Atlas was turned into a mountain.