By: Lillian
Do trials and adversity make us who we are? Young Jason had many adversities and adventures that he conquered. Adversities and trials helped Greek heroes become who they were. His tale, like many others, consisted of battles, quests, enemies, friends, love, life, betrayal and death. Also like many others, his story began with betrayal.


Jason is the hero of the story of The Golden Fleece and The Argonauts. He was the son of King Aeson and Queen Alcimede. Jason’s parents were the King and Queen of Iolcus of northern Greece. Jason had an uncle named Pelias. Pelias envied King Aeson the throne so he took it by force. Nobody is for certain if Pelias killed King Aeson or exiled him. Either way, Aeson was no longer in the picture. When Pelias over took the throne of Iolcus, Jason, who was an infant at the time was whisked away to Mt. Pelion where he would be raised into a heroic warrior by Chiron the Centaur. This would prepare him for the challenges ahead.

The Beginning
When Jason grew to be a fine young man he decided to set off to Iolcus. With help from Hera, he wished to take back his throne in a peaceful manner. Of course Pelias did not want to give up the throne so he made a proposal to Jason. If Jason went on a quest to find the Golden Fleece which Pelias desired, then he would step down from the throne. Jason eagerly agreed to this deal.
The Quest
After Jason accepted the quest to earn his rightful place on the throne, he collected a group of 50 heroes to go with him. This group included many famous heroes such as Atlanta, Orpheus, Heracles and the Boreads. The goddess Athena helped the heroes with the construction of the ship they sailed which was called the Argo. Jason and the group of heroes were from then on known as the Argonauts.

Jason and his group of heroes first landed among the kingdom of the Doliones. Their King Cyzicus welcomed them. When the King was hosting them he told the Argonauts about their next stop, Bear Mountain. But Cyzicus forgets to mention the Genieses, who were monsters that lived there.

When the Argonauts arrived at Bear Mountain, most of the crew went into the forest to search for provisions while only a few stayed to guard and maintain the ship. The Genieses who were 6 armed giants saw there were only a few men guarding the Argo so they took the opportunity to raid the ship. The men guarding the Argo were able to hold off the Genieses until the rest of the Argonauts came to the rescue. The Argonauts destroyed most of them and were able to set sail and escape.
After their incident with the Genieses, during the night the Argonauts boat somehow managed to drift back to Doliones. However they were not received with the same welcome as before. The Doliones mistook them for pirates and thieves, and they started fighting. It was not until the morning light that the Doliones understood what they had done. Men were killed on both sides. The Argonauts stayed for the burials and then soon left.

After leaving Doliones for the second time Jason and the Argonauts arrived at the court of King Phineas of Bithynia. Though King Phineas was blind he was able to see the future. The Argonauts soon found out that Phineas was being punished by Zeus. King Phineas strikes them a deal. If they helped free him from the torture of two harpies, he would look into the future and tell them where they would need to go to find the Golden Fleece. So Jason and the heroes fought off and chased the harpies away. In return King Phineas tells Jason how to get to Colchis (where the fleece is).
The Journey from Bithynia to Colchis was very exciting for the Argonauts. They had to sail through smashing rocks, chase away birds with feathers like arrows, and get past the Amazons. Few men were lost during these occasions. But finally they made to the court of Kin Aeetes in Colchis.

When Jason and the Argonauts first arrived in the Land of Colchis the King at first received them in a friendly manner. That was until he discovered that Jason wanted to steal the Golden Fleece from him. King Aeetes was outraged! So he came up with a plan saying, if Jason was able to complete various tasks then he would be granted with the Golden Fleece. But of course King Aeetes made sure that these tasks were impossible.

In order to obtain the Golden Fleece, Jason had to tame two wild fire-breathing bulls. Then Jason had to harness them to a stone plow and plow a huge field. In the field Jason had to sow dragon’s teeth like a seed. When this happened warriors would jump out of the ground. Jason would have to fight off and kill these warriors. If this was accomplished Jason would then have the opportunity to seize the Golden Fleece from the sleepless guard dragon. Jason had to do all of this in a day’s time.
Fortunately for Jason, King Aeetes daughter Medea fell in love with him. Medea was a devoted sorceress to Hecate, the goddess of magic. So Medea used her powers to help Jason only if he would marry her, promise his fidelity, and her home with him. Jason agreed to this arrangement.

Medea gave Jason potions to tame the fire breathing bulls and put the dragon to sleep. She also instructed him to throw a stone into the crowd of warriors. Throwing the stone would confuse them and the warriors would fight each other. Jason did all that he was told to do and he was successful in stealing the Fleece. Jason, Medea, her younger brother Absyrtus, and the Argonauts fled.003.JPG

The Return Home
When King Aeetes found out about Jason’s deception and Medea’s betrayal he was infuriated. Quickly he put together a crew and chased after them. Medea saw this so she killed her little brother and threw him into the sea. King Aeetes stopped to collect his son and grieve for him. The Argonauts were able to sail home. When Jason returned home (in most versions) he overthrew Pelias and took his rightful place on the throne. Jason and Medea had two children together. But soon Jason fell out of love with Medea and fell in love with another girl. Medea became outraged. She murdered their two children and his lover then fled for Athens. Jason died an old and sad man.

A Hero
In Greek mythology and in these latter days Jason is depicted as a hero. But what makes him a hero? He went on this quest for his own purposes. He did not save any one while on this quest. So what makes us think he is a hero? Maybe it is because he fought monsters and restored his honor. Or maybe it is because he overcame his trials and adversities
In conclusion Jason was a hero. He defined who he was when he went on the quest for the Golden Fleece. His character was defined by the challenges he went through and how he overcame them. He had a hard life. Jason survived not only battles but love and enemies as well. Jason’s tale will forever live in our history.

Works Cited

"Jason." Infoplease. Columbia University, 2007. Web. 4 Dec. 2011. <http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/ent/A0826022.html>.

"Jason and the Argonauts, Greece, Greek Mythology." In2Greece.com - Travel Guide to Greece Greek Islands History Mythology and Maps. V. E. K Sandels. Web. 17 Dec. 2011. <http://www.in2greece.com/english/historymyth/mythology/names/jason.htm>.

"Jason." Encyclopedia Mythica: Mythology, Folklore, and Religion. 3 Mar. 1997. Web. 14 Dec. 2011. <http://www.pantheon.org/articles/j/jason.html>.

Wright, Anne. "Great Quests." Mythology. Armonk, NY: Sharpe Focus, 2008. Print.

Ardagh, Philip, and Stephen May. Norse Myths & Legends. Chicago: World Book, 2006. Print.