The Study of ARCHETYPES English II Mr. Sands
What is an archetype? • an image, character, story, symbol, situation, or pattern that has been used since the earliest times to represent a universal idea throughout all human cultures • a universal symbol (a symbol is a concrete object used to represent an abstract idea)
Who’s responsible for this? • The word is derived from the Greek “archetypos,” meaning “beginning or original patter from which later things are made.” • The term was first used by the psychologist, Carl Jung. • Jung spent much time studying people’s dreams as well as myths and legends from around the world. • He recognized similarities in the types of symbols and stories that humans recalled. These similarities led him to the conclusion that a “collective unconscious” existed – a collection of inherited stories and images that exist in the subconscious of every human being.
…but what does that all mean? • Basically, Carl Jung determined that people everywhere can recognize the same symbols, or the same archetypes, because they are concrete representations of universal human experiences.
Why study archetypes? • The study of archetypes can help you make the leap from literal to symbolic interpretation of a work of art, whether it be literature, a painting or a film • You’ve been studying archetypes throughout your entire life. You just didn’t know it!
THE HERO Characterized by self-sacrifice, heroes will endure separation and hardship for the sake of their people Must pay a price to attain their goals Common Characteristics: Born and raised in a rural setting away from cities Is of mysterious origin or becomes orphaned at an early age and is raised by animals or a wise guardian Has a mentor or teacher Loves and admires a beautiful lady Must go on a journey, learn a lesson, change in some way Is special, one of a kind Is helped by divine, supernatural forces Struggles for something valuable or important Has a loyal band of companions Is prepared to fight or die at any moment Archetypes: People
The Hero’s Journey • The Call to Adventure • Refusal of the Call/Acceptance of the Call (by force, chance, mistake or choice) • Supernatural Aid • Crossing the threshold or defeating the guardian of the threshold • Rebirth of the Hero: hero emerges with a new sense of self, a belief in him/herself • The Task: the action which heroes must perform in order to save the people • The Initiation: ordeal undergone by the hero in order to attain full status/maturity • The Fall: the hero’s loss of innocence or high position, hubris causes the fall, humility results in the end • The Journey: representative of the journey of life, this is the hero’s path through danger, hardship, ordeals, and other tests of strength, maturity, wisdom on the way to the goal • The Return: hero uses new wisdom to restore order and peace to the land
Archetypes: Concepts/Ideas • Father-Son Conflict = In this relationship, the tension is built due to separation from childhood or some other source when the two meet as men • Star-Crossed Lovers = Two characters engaged in a love affair fated to end tragically for one or both due to the disapproval of society, friends, family or some tragic situation
Current Archetype Trend • Recently, in film, it is very trendy to mock or satirize archetypes • For example, movies like “Shrek”, “The Princess Bride” and “Enchanted” all take fairy tale concepts, characters, places and situations and exaggerate them for comedic affect
Now let’s see how many examples you can come up with… You see, you’ve been studying archetypes since you started reading, watching TV/movies and you didn’t even know it!