Every person holds the same general image of what a hero is. That image may change slightly, however, the value of a heroic person in one’s life remains the same whether or not the hero is worthy of their title. For instance, Jason is known by many as an inspirational, and courageous man who saved many lives through his actions whereas in reality he is a pig headed, cowardly, pretentious narcissist who accomplished next to nothing over his long life. The definition of a hero is: A person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. By these standards, Jason lacks heroic merit. Jason is frequently misconceived as a hero, and he is idolized for the wrong reasons. He is viewed by the public as heroic when he is actually impulsive, very dependent, and over all a simple, regular man.
Jason is known for obtaining the Golden Fleece which he contributed no more than moral support to. When Jason and the Argonauts made it to the fleece, Jason discovered that the fleece was being guarded by a gigantic dragon. The daughter of the king, Medea, took pity on Jason and decided to help him. In the veil of night, “Medea soothed the hissing dragon” (Graves .544) and allowed Jason to retrieve the fleece. If it was not for Medea, Jason would not have been able to attain the fleece. Later on, Jason returned home with the fleece, and instead of confronting the king, as he had been instructed to do, Medea, “Spoke up and undertook to reduce the city single handed.” (Graves .555) and Jason obliged. Thus, Jason has been falsely awarded with the acknowledgement for the completion of many daunting tasks.
Over the years, the public has made it appear as though Jason was a noble role model to the public when in truth, he was without imperial characteristics. Followed by the Argonauts escape of Colchis, the former location of the fleece, Jason and Medea were joined in marriage. They stayed legally bound for more than 10 years before Jason grew skeptical and, “Jason deserted Medea for the daughter of King Creon of Corinth” (Medea). After a long and successful marriage he doubted his wife when a simple bump in the road came along. He decided he was ‘more qualified’ to rule the kingdom of Corinth and he even went as far as to say that “The Corinthians have learned to have more respect for me than you” (Graves 558). Jason was apprehensive and threw away his marriage instead of fighting for it. He lacked determination and the cost was his wife.
Jason has been portrayed as a courageous, adventurous man whereas in realty, he was a cowardly slacker. Not only did Jason allow his wife to take care of his dirty work and kill Pilas for him, he then, “fearing Acastus’s vengeance, resigned the kingdom to him” (Graves 556.) Jason was not willing to deal with his own issues so he put Medea up to the task and then proceeded to decline the kingdom. Finally, he was reminiscing in his ‘past glories’, (Graves 560) when he grew depressed, and was going to hang himself from the prow of a ship. This was a very cowardly way to go about dealing with his issues. Instead of facing his ghosts, he was going to join them. Before he had the opportunity to end his life on his own terms, he was crushed by that very prow, making up his decision for him.
Jason is an ordinary person who does not deserve all the attention he has received. He was incorrectly labeled many years ago, and is still being referred to with a contradicting title. In short, Greek Mythology has defined a hero as a person who is adored by the public, giving the title to just about anyone with minimal criticism. Greek Mythology’s idea of what a hero means is so broad that it has lost its meaning. A person's image of a hero depends on the events they have experienced in their life, as well as the role models they have encountered. Due to the fact that no two people are the same, there will always be people who society considers “heroes” whether or not they deserve the title.
- Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Medea.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 28 Mar. 2016, www.britannica.com/topic/Medea-play-by-Euripides.
- Graves, Robert. The Greek Myths. Penguin Books, 2017.