The myth of Medusa has been interpreted in many ways but my personal favourite is the following:
Medusa was born astonishingly beautiful. She attracted the attention of a great number of men, one of which being”The God of the Oceans” Poseidon. Medusa, however had turned him away as she had taken an oath of chastity in order to serve the virgin goddess Athena in her temple. Poseidon, being an arrogant God, persisted ultimately attacking and raping Medusa in her place of worship and tarnishing Athena’s sacred temple. The Gods stood by Poseidon and accused Medusa of seducing him.
A “crime” this severe should have been punished with death however Athena, being the Goddess of Wisdom, was aware of what truly happened to Medusa, unfortunately her hands were tied. Zeus was the ruler of all Gods and Poseidon’s brother, Athena was in a quandary, there was nothing she could do to punish the true criminal for what he had done to her beloved disciple and thus had to make it look, in the eyes of the Gods, that she was punishing Medusa fairly. Athena turned Medusa into a Gorgon with snakes for hair and eyes that could turn anyone who looked too closely into them to stone. This pleased the Gods greatly, for what better “punishment” than to strip her of her beauty.
In the end Athena protected Medusa by giving her the gift of life and a way to protect herself.
She gave her the power to never be at the mercy of anyone again. She gave her power.