Perseus encountered a sacrificial woman set upon by a horde of monsters while returning with Medusa's head. Though one hand was occupied, he immediately rescued her and felled the menaces without so much as a backwards glance. Word soon spread of his many great deeds, and he was hailed as a great hero, basking in the adoration of many.
In Greek mythology Medusa was a monster, a Gorgon, generally described as having the face of a hideous human female with living venomous snakes in place of hair. Gazing directly into her eyes would turn onlookers to stone.
In Greek mythology, Perseus, the legendary founder of Mycenae and of the Perseid dynasty of Danaans, was the first hero. His exploits in defeating various archaic monsters provided the founding myths of the Twelve Olympians. Perseus beheaded the Gorgon Medusa and saved Andromeda from the sea monster Cetus. Perseus was the son of the mortal Danaë and the god Zeus. He was also the great grandfather of the famous hero, Heracles, also a son of Zeus.
Medusa was beheaded by the hero Perseus, who thereafter used her head, which retained its ability to turn onlookers to stone, as a weapon until he gave it to the goddess Athena to place on her shield.