Archetypes Your guide to the patterns in literature.
Definition of Archetype • Archetype is a Greek word meaning “original pattern, or model.” • In literature and art an archetype is a character, an event, a story or an image that recurs in different works, in different cultures and in different periods of time. An example of an archetype occurs in the story of “The Flood.” Many different cultures have similar stories about the reasons for and the results of a flood. • Can you think of any stories or image patterns that have been repeated in movies, books, or even commercials?
The Earth Belonged To Them All • The archetype of “The Earth Belonged to Them All” focuses on the innocence and “Golden Age” that most cultures use in order to explain the origins of their civilization. • What do you think “The Golden Age means?” When you think of the word or the color gold, what kind of images do you think of?
Read the stories on the following slide about how different cultures interpreted the creation of the earth. Look for the similarities and differences in these tales. On your own, find another story explaining how the earth was created. You may use the Web or go to the library to find this story. After you have read some of these stories and myths about the origins of the earth, create your own myth about something that you have always wondered about.
The World Belonged To Them All http://www.mythinglinks.org/ct~creation2.html http://www.blackfeetnation.com/Home%20Page/creationstory.htm The Making of The Earth http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/blkftcreation.html#making The ages of Man: http://homepage.mac.com/cparada/GML/AgesOfMan.html#silver Scroll Down for Creation and Origin Myths http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/folktexts.html#c Creation myths
The God-Teacher • In another archetype, “The God-Teacher,” stories show the importance of a god or gods teaching man to survive on his own. “Yet it was unthinkable that the remote all-high gods would ever come into direct contact with lowly mortals to teach them what was right or wrong…The imagination had to build a bridge to connect the human world with the unapproachable divine world. An intermediary was needed, a link between heaven and earth…Myths about the god-teacher provided this divine sanction for the rituals and traditions people lived by. Such myths assured people that all their human activities stemmed from divine instruction”(Jewkes 70).
Read these myths. What is the lesson being taught here? How do these different gods go about teaching their individual lessons? Do you think these gods were successful? What do you think humans learned? The God-Teacher
The God-Teacher:Prometheus • http://messagenet.com/myths/bios/promethe.html • Do you think Prometheus is a hero or a victim? Why? What do you think about the punishment Zeus gave to him? Do you think that it was too harsh?
The God-Teacher:Dionysus • http://www.greekmythology.com/Myths/The_Myths/The_Wanderings_of_Dionysus/the_wanderings_of_dionysus.html • http://www.csun.edu/~hcfll004/dionysos.html • Dionysus is often referred to as the “Two-Faced God.” What does it mean to be two-faced? Have you ever experienced anyone acting two-faced towards you? When? • Why do you think Dionysus is referred to as “Two-Faced?” What are some clues given in the text to let you know? • How were the two myths about Dionysus different? How were they similar? Which do you think was more believable and why?
The God-Teacher:Snake • “Snake” by D.H. Lawrence • http://www.poemhunter.com/p/m/poem.asp?poet=8085&poem=169190 • Where does this poet suggest his snake is like an exiled god? • How is the snake a teacher? What does the speaker learn? • What connotations does a snake or serpent usually have? Why do you think that is? What other stories can you think of in which snakes play an important role? Do you think the snake is an archetypal character in itself? Why? Why not? • Choose three of the stories connected to this link and create a chart explaining the differences and similarities of the role of the snake in these stories. http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/snake.html
The End of Childhood • This archetype focuses on stories of both loss of innocence as well as the acquisition of knowledge. “What is the meaning of “lost childhood” or “falling down”? In life, it is called “growing up.” That time when innocence somehow fades away and is replaced by experience or knowledge of the world. But in the imagination , it is the opening of a forbidden jar, the eating of a forbidden fruit, the death of a loved one, the destruction of something beautiful…it is a story or an event that is a symbol of a universal human experience. When such imaginative stories or events are so common as to be used over and over by many cultures, they are called archetypes” (Jewkes 142).
End of Childhood cont. • “The fall from innocence is an archetypal event. It signifies the realization that we cannot hide from time. It is the discovery that all the potential for happiness that we feel in childhood is often not realized in adulthood” (Jewkes 142). • The word “childhood” in this archetype has two different meanings. What are the different meanings that you can attach to it?
End of Childhood Cont. • Think of an instance when you had to leave a part of your childhood behind because you acquired knowledge. When did this happen? What was the situation? How did you feel once you had discovered the truth? Did it make you feel more grown up or did you wish that you could still remain “innocent” to the truth? • What books or movies have you seen in which a loss of innocence is a theme?
The End of Childhood:Prometheus and Pandora’s Box • http://www.physics.hku.hk/~tboyce/ss/topics/prometheus.html • How is the story of Pandora like the biblical story of Adam and Eve? • Why do you think people would make a myth like this one about Pandora?
The End of Childhood:The Circle Game • http://www.jmdl.com/lyrics/TheCircleGame.cfm • What do you think the different stages in this boy’s life represent? • Which stanza do you think is most telling of the boy’s transition from childhood to adulthood? Quote the stanza. • Why do you think this song/poem is entitled “The Circle Game?” What do circles represent? Do you think of life as more circular or linear (linear means that it goes straight from one point to the next.)
The End of Childhood: Phaethon • http://www.loggia.com/myth/phaethon.html • http://www.hol.gr/greece/mythology/phaethon.html • What is Phaethon’s goal in this story? • How do you think Phaethon’s quest may be a search to find out who he is? • What does he discover? • Who is most at fault for Phaethon’s death? Why? • “Phaethon” by Morris Bishop • http://www.bundy223.net/~andyb/poems/apollo.html • Why is this poem titled “Phaethon”? What similar connections do you see between this poem and the story of Phaethon?
The End of Childhood: Athena and Arachne • http://www.goddess-athena.org/Encyclopedia/Athena/Arachne.htm • Do you think that Arachne got what she deserved in this story? Why? Why not? • What important lesson is taught here? What other archetype do you think that this story could fit into?
The End of Childhood: It Is Better To Die Forever • http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/blkftcreation.html#die • Do you think this myth was comforting to the people who told it? Why?
The Cataracts of Heaven • Though you might have heard the word “cataracts” in terms of clouding one’s vision, the word cataract can also mean a great flood. What is the story of the flood from heaven that you know? What did it result in? • “…there is one story pattern, or archetype, which tells [an abbreviation of] the entire imaginative story of the human race. It is the story of the “flood”—a cycle of birth, death, and rebirth (Jewkes 174).
Cataracts of Heaven cont. • “The flood in literature, then, has been imagined as a destruction that enables a new creation to take place. It kills in order to cleanse. It washes away the order of earth so that a new order can be established. Perhaps people have used the image of water in this dual way because water is an element that not only is life-giving and life-threatening, but also is one that can take on different forms: it knows the dark depths of the ocean as well as the light ethereal spaces of the heavens” (Jewkes 174).
Cataracts of Heaven cont. • Flood Myths from around the world: • http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/flood-myths.html • A Hard Rain’s A Gonna Fall • http://bobdylan.com/songs/hardrain.html • Flood Myths from the Phillipines • http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/flood-phil.html • Flood Myth from China • http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/chinaflood.html
Changes • Changes • “All stories and poems in this unit use the archetype of change, or metamorphosis. These stories and poems show that in the imagination people themselves can ‘become’ something else...In ‘reality’ we are subject to the changes of time, but we can imagine the changes that are not [subject to the changes of time” (Jukes 229).
Changes cont. • Apollo and Daphne • http://www.loggia.com/myth/daphne.html • Baucis and Philemon • http://www.online-mythology.com/baucis_philemon/ • Narcissus • http://www.online-mythology.com/baucis_philemon/ • Demeter and Persephone • http://www.arthistory.sbc.edu/imageswomen/papers/paolicchidemeter/demeter.html • http://www.cdc.net/~stifler/en111/archetype.html • Pygmalion • http://www.loggia.com/myth/galatea.html
Changes cont. • Aging • http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/type0173.html#grimm • The Stages of Life • http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/type0173.html
The Human Year • “In literature the rhythm of the seasons provides a store of opposing images that relate to emotions that swing back and forth in the human mind and heart… • Spring, the time of planting and growth is related in the imagination to youth, hope, courtship and love. • Summer, a time of ripening, is related to the maturing of relations, to comradeship and community, to fertility and passion.
The Human Year • Fall, the time of harvest, is related to reflection and declining vigor. • Winter, when the earth seems sterile, is related to death and emptiness” (Jewkes 302).
A Human Year • The Gettysburg Address • http://showcase.netins.net/web/creative/lincoln/speeches/gettysburg.htm • After Apple Picking by Robert Frost • http://www.bartleby.com/118/10.html • The Falling of Leaves by Yeats • http://classiclit.about.com/library/bl-etexts/wbyeats/bl-wbye-falling.htm • Demeter and Persephone • http://www.arthistory.sbc.edu/imageswomen/papers/paolicchidemeter/demeter.html
A Human Year cont. • Orpheus and Eurydice • http://classiclit.about.com/library/bl-etexts/wbyeats/bl-wbye-falling.htm • http://www.bulfinch.org/fables/bull24.html
Further Archetype Explanations • Examples of Archetypes, Literature© Deborah Rudd • Guerin, Wilfred L., et al. "Mythological and Archetypal Approaches." A Handbook of Critical Approaches toLiterature. NY: Harper & Row, 1979: 157-161. • Guerin et al.states that archetypes are universal symbols, motifs or themes that may be found among many different cultures. They recur in the myths of people worldwide. These symbols carry the same or very similar meanings for a large portion, if not all, of mankind . . . . certain symbols, such as the sky father and earth mother, light, blood, up-down, and others recur again and again in cultures so remote from one another in space and time that there is no likelihood of any historical influence and causal connection among them. (157)
Archetypal Symbols • Water: birth-death-resurrection; creation; purification and redemption; fertility and growth. • Sea/ocean: the mother of all life; spiritual mystery; death and/or rebirth; timelessness and eternity. • Rivers: death and rebirth (baptism); the flowing of time into eternity; transitional phases of the life cycle. . . . • Sun (fire and sky are closely related): creative energy; thinking, enlightenment, wisdom, spiritual vision. • Rising sun: birth, creation, enlightenment. • Setting sun: death.
Archetypal Colors • Colors: • Red: blood, sacrifice, passion; disorder. • Green: growth, hope, fertility. • Blue: highly positive; secure; tranquil; spiritual purity. • Black: darkness, chaos, mystery, the unknown, death, wisdom, evil, melancholy. • White: light, purity, innocence, timelessness; [negative: death, terror, supernatural] • Yellow: enlightenment, wisdom.
Important symbols and numbers • Serpent (snake, worm): symbol of energy and pure force (libido); evil, corruption, sensuality, destruction. • Numbers: • 3 - light, spiritual awareness, unity (the Holy Trinity); male principle. • 4 - associated with the circle, life cycle, four seasons; female principle, earth, nature, elements. • 7 - the most potent of all symbolic numbers signifying the union of three and four, the completion of a cycle, perfect order, perfect number; religious symbol.
Archetypal Symbols • Wise old Man: savior, redeemer, guru, representing knowledge, reflection, insight, wisdom, intuition, and morality. • Garden: paradise, innocence, unspoiled beauty. • Tree: denotes life of the cosmos; growth; proliferation; symbol of immortality; phallic symbol. • Desert: spiritual aridity; death; hopelessness. • Creation: All cultures believe the Cosmos was brought into existence by some Supernatural Being (or Beings). • Seasons: • Spring - rebirth; genre/comedy. • Summer - life; genre/romance. • Fall - death/dying; genre/tragedy. • Winter - without life/death; genre/irony. • The great fish: divine creation/life.
Jung’s Psychology of Archetypes • http://www.english.ilstu.edu/351students/sbgentr/repurposing/jungsarchetypes.htm
Archetypal Characters • http://www.dramatica.com/theory/theory_book/dtb_ch_4.html