"Medusa come, so we to stone will change him!"

Head of Medusa
Public DomainHead of Medusa - Credit: Caravaggio

(Canto 9, line 52)

Medusa was the youngest and fiercest of the three Gorgon sisters, daughters of the sea god Phorcys. A direct look upon her face would turn a person into stone: a mythological explanation of this power tells that she once copulated with Poseidon in the temple of Athena, who cursed her for it, and also turned her hair into snakes. Eventually, she was decapitated by Perseus, but the magic never vanished.