Let’s get specific.
The myth of Jason and the Golden Fleece is Greek in origin.
Basically, Jason returned to his homeland to claim the throne from his father. When he arrives, he discovers that the throne has already been taken over by his uncle, who sends him of a seemingly impossible quest. Jason is sent to obtain a magical golden fleece that is guarded by a dragon that never sleeps. On the way, he and his band encounter all sorts of challenges, eventually arriving at their destination. When they get there, Jason puts the dragon to sleep with a potion, grabs the fleece, and heads home. Thus reclaiming his throne.
I think that there’s a couple of cultural values demonstrated in this myth. First, we have the heroes’ journey, which is in, well, a lot of myths. But that’s not just it. It’s not just a journey. Both main characters have a part to play as metaphors. There’s all these little hurtles slowing Jason’s progress to his main goal. Sort of like taking all of our steps to adulthood, all the terrible things every person has to go through in order to become an adult member of society (like pimples and mood swings.) Then the dragon himself, a great terrible thing that never sleeps and threatens Jason’s very life. Here we see a nearly overpowering evil, something almost insurmountable. But he find a smooth and inventive way around it, using the potion to put the dragon to sleep (a little trickster in there too, I suppose.) Jason overcoming and winning the day is a very direct motivational tool. It’s hardly veiled at all, nearly screams, ”If you work hard and are brave, devoted, and smart, you will win in the end.) Very good vs. evil.
The dragon could be many different things to many different people. But I don’t think it’s something small like an annoying coworker or stubbing your toe. I think he represents the larger, harder to deal with, life changing challenge we face. Jason is the ideal person what we would like to be, or who we think we should be and what we are striving to achieve.
Sarah Ockershausen Delp
P.S.- My husbands name is Jason and our Yorkie is names Dragon, just saying 🙂
J. Scott, Salvator Rosa, his life and ti (New Haven and
London, Yale University Press, 1995)