Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Jason, a Greek prince whose father has been driven from his throne. Jason is commanded to regain the throne, but to do so he must bring back the Golden Fleece for the usurper, his uncle Pelias. Jason bravely sets out and brings back the Golden Fleece. Although Pelias refuses to keep his promise, he dies that same night, leaving the throne to Jason.
Pelias (PEE-lee-uhs), Jason’s cruel uncle, who usurps his brother’s throne and plots to kill Jason. When Jason brings back the Golden Fleece to Iolcus, Pelias does not want to fulfill his bargain and give up the throne, but death takes him the same night.
Chiron (KI-ron), a centaur. He is Jason’s foster father and tutor.
Herakles (HEHR-uh-kleez) and
Orpheus (OHR-fee-uhs), Jason’s companions on the quest for the Golden Fleece.
Argus (AHR-guhs), another of Jason’s companions on the quest for the Golden Fleece. He builds the ship Argo for Jason.
Zetes (ZEE-teez) and
Calais (KA-lay-uhs), sons of the North Wind, companions of Jason.
Phineus (FIH-nee-uhs), the blind king of Salmydessa, saved from the Harpies by Jason.
Æetes, the king of Colchis, who agrees to give up the Golden Fleece if Jason can accomplish deeds beyond mortal skill and strength.
Medea (mih-dee-uh), a princess of Colchis. She falls in love with Jason, aids him in gaining the Golden Fleece, and returns with him to become his queen in Iolcus.
Bibliography (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Bacon, Janet Ruth. The Voyage of the Argonauts. Boston: Small, Maynard, 1925. Excellent study of the story of Jason and the golden fleece. Follows the Argonauts through their extended history with literary evidence and illustrations. Excellent interpretations of the myth, including maps of voyage and art illustrations.
Deforest, Mary Margolies. Apollonius’ “Argonautica.” Leiden, The Netherlands: E. J. Brill, 1994. Extensive bibliography and detailed index. Examines the significance of the Golden Fleece in the myth of Jason as well as relationships between the characters. Symbolic comparison of Medea to the golden fleece.
Graves, Robert. Greek Myths. Rev. ed. 2 vols. London: Penguin Books, 1973. Cites the sources and various interpretations of the themes involved in the myth. Excellent companion to the historical study of the myth through literature. Details most of the major Greek myths and identifies the history and relationships of the gods and heros.
Pinsent, John. Greek Mythology. New York: Peter Bedrick Books, 198. Includes a number of Greek art illustrations and interprets the meaning of the myth through the symbols found in literature and art.
Severin, Tim. The Jason Voyage. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1985. Follows the voyage of the Argonauts with a twentieth century crew. Captures the atmosphere and time of Jason’s voyage. Provides excellent archeological details, evidence, and explanation of the origins of the myth. Final chapter examines the reasons behind the timelessness of the legend of the golden fleece.