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Archetypes of Good and Evil An archetype is “_in Jungian .doc

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					                              Archetypes of Good and Evil


An archetype is “(in Jungian psychology) a collectively inherited unconscious idea,
pattern of thought, image, etc., universally present in individual psyches” (“Archetype”).
In other words, an archetype is a character, a place, or an event that happens frequently
enough in human society to be the standard of understanding literature or, as the
psychologist Carl Jung believed, human nature.

Examples of archetypes:

Character Archetypes
These are frequently made use of in film and in literature. I’ve given some examples of
each type from films or novels you may have watched or read.

Angel
      This one goes along with the devil as an opposing force. Angels are white, have
      wings, and usually wear haloes. Angels in films are frequently blonde; they are
      also usually handsome or beautiful. A notable exception is Clarence, the angel in
      It’s a Wonderful Life, who is endearing but silly –though he does have a heart.
The Brooding Hero
      Watch out, ladies. This is the handsome, clean-cut man, usually with a past,
      who seems mysterious and sexy because of his mysteriousness. This is still
      another sub-archetype of the Knight. The Brooding Hero is present in a lot of
      Gothic romances (Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights both present brooding heroes:
      Mr. Rochester and Heathcliff) and in many non-Gothic romances as well – Rhett
      Butler in Gone with the Wind and Fitzwilliam Darcy in Pride and Prejudice are
      two of this archetype. This archetype usually has a Past, several Flaws, and
      sometimes uses violence to get what he wants.
Cowboy
      A tough man who usually smokes, rides horses, and doesn’t display emotions
      frequently. Often dirty but still handsome (think ruggedly handsome here). The
      two most powerful archetypes of the film cowboy are John Wayne and Clint
      Eastwood. The cowboy is a modern archetype related to the knight.
Detective
      Like the professor and the Mad Scientist, detectives are viewed as emotionally
      removed, but extremely intelligent and observant. We usually picture Sherlock
      Holmes when we think of detectives: a pipe, tweed coat, and a bowler hat.
Devil
      Devils are scary beings. In classic literature and in paintings, devils are often
      black or red, horned beings with fiery eyes. Sometimes the devil is painted with
      wings, especially after the publication of Milton’s Paradise Lost, in which Milton
      refers to the devil as a fallen angel. In recent films the devil is portrayed as a
      handsome man, who can quote the Bible glibly, and is usually dark-haired and
      dark-eyed. Al Pacino in The Devil’s Advocate is a good example of this. (If you
      are of tender years or you are like me and can’t stand scary or gory films, don’t
      watch this one.)
Double
      This archetype happens when the personality of a character splits and the second
      personality becomes the opposite of the first. Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde is the most
      famous example of the Double.
Enchantress/Temptress
      Oh, yes, there are so many examples in literature and film of this female
      archetype. This archetype is based on the Christian Bible, with the story of Eve,
      the original temptress. Thanks a lot, girl. Couldn’t you have ignored the snake
      and left well enough alone? No, you had to make things difficult for the rest of
      us. These ladies are amoral, usually beautiful, and out to get you. Let’s see: the
      evil stepmother in Snow White (Fairy tales are chock-full of temptresses), Delilah
      from the Bible, Morgan Le Fay in the King Arthur legends, Lucy Steele in Sense
      and Sensibility, the White Witch in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Abigail
      Williams in The Crucible, etc. etc. etc. Usually this lady is using her power as a
      beautiful/sexual woman to get what she wants, when she even knows what that
      is. A lot of the time she’s just using her power to get more power.
Giant/Monster/Ogre
      Many cultures fear deformity. Many ancient cultures believed that if you were
      deformed or disabled, you were cursed by the gods and should be shunned. Our
      archetype of the Giant, Monster or Ogre usually includes loneliness (because
      they are shunned), uncontrolled rage or strength or violence, and a lot of times
      they fall in love with and protect a beautiful woman. Sometimes monsters must
      be outwitted by heroes (as in Jack and the Beanstalk or The Princess Bride).
Great teacher/mentor
      These characters are often very wise (like Gandhi) religious figures or flawed
      professors (Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society and Good Will Hunting). They
      are usually humble and inspiring. There have been many books and films
      produced lately with this particular archetype – Tuesdays with Morrie, and many
      good-teacher films like Freedom Writers.
Helping animals
      Lassie. Think Lassie. Or Silver, the Lone Ranger’s horse. These are selfless
      animals that help human beings for no reason other than that they’re selfless.
Hero
      Heroes’ archetypal qualities have changed over time to produce many different
      sub-archetypes. In the ancient world, a hero was someone like Gilgamesh or
      Odysseus (Ulysses), who survived dangerous situations and through whose
      mistakes we could learn. In medieval Europe, heroes were knights, who fought
      for honor and truth and protected women at all costs. In today’s world, heroes
      are wealthy, powerful, or noble, and greatly depend on qualities that individual
      people admire. Usually modern-day heroes defy the odds or instigate positive
      change; and while in ancient times heroes were usually men, now they can be
      men or women. Modern-day heroes might include Martin Luther King, Jr.;
      Tiger Woods; Mother Teresa; Princess Diana; Indiana Jones, Aragorn from The
      Lord of the Rings; Oskar Schindler, who saved a thousand people from the Nazi
      gas chambers, or Paul Rusesabagina, who saved more than a thousand people
      from the genocide in Rwanda in the early 1990s.
Innocent
      This archetype refers to anyone who cannot protect him or herself. Usually the
      Innocent are children (Red Riding Hood), women, or elderly people. The
      Innocent are also naïve and easily fooled, so they usually need someone to come
      rescue them. They do not recognize evil when it is in front of them. Melanie
      Wilkes in Gone With the Wind is an example of the Innocent. She has no idea
      what Scarlett O’Hara really thinks of her, and probably wouldn’t believe it even
      if Scarlett told her.
Jewel Thief
      This is a more modern archetype. Kevin Kline in French Kiss is a great example
      – a person who is debonair, cheeky, and breaks the law to get what he wants, but
      who also has some goodness in him somewhere which will catch up with him
      sooner or later.
Knight
      This medieval archetype of the armored man riding on the white horse has been
      recycled into many other archetypal characters. In modern literature, the knight
      is present in the Brooding Love Interest – think Rochester in Jane Eyre and
      Darcy in Pride and Prejudice. He comes along and rescues Our Heroine from the
      dire situation in which she finds herself. Interesting story twists happen when
      the knight himself is rescued by the lady. Lancelot in the King Arthur legends is
      the quintessential knight.
Mad Scientist
      Victor Frankenstein is the quintessential Mad Scientist – someone conducting
      experiments without morals. As Jeff Goldblum’s character in Jurassic Park says
      (paraphrased), the Mad Scientist is frequently so preoccupied with whether or
      not he can do something that he doesn’t stop to figure out if he should.
      American author Nathaniel Hawthorne liked to write about these guys – he
      thought they were evil because they had lost the balance between the mind and
      heart and had become all mind. Two of his short stories depict the downfall of
      mad scientists – “The Birth-mark” and “Rappaccini’s Daughter.”
Mother figure
      These archetypes are based on very ancient ideas about the Earth and its ability
      to sustain human beings. Because mothers do the same thing for their children,
      they were likened to Mother Earth and revered for those qualities of sustaining.
      In literature, mother figures are frequently chubby and good-natured, except
      when everything goes wrong and, as in the case of the stepmother, the natural
      relationship between mother and child is interrupted.
    Fairy godmother – Recognizes the good in the heroine and rewards it.
      Reverses seemingly permanent states of evil and unhappiness with gifts and
      support. The most obvious one is the fairy godmother in Cinderella.
    Earth Mother – More frequent in mythology than in literature, though Diane
      Lane’s character in Under the Tuscan Sun takes on a lot of qualities of the Earth
      Mother. She feeds her guests, supports everyone in their lives before she
      supports herself, and lives connected to the land.
    Stepmother – Usually a reversal of the mother figure – the opposite of true
      mother, stepmothers in many fairy tales are attempting to undermine their
      stepchildren to ensure the biological and financial success of their own children.
      Again, Cinderella is the perfect example of this.
      The Nurse – If you’ve read David Copperfield, Peggotty is the perfect example of
       the nurse. This is usually someone who takes the place of the mother figure, for
       whatever reason (in David’s case it’s because his mother dies).
Professor
       This particular archetype has two sub-archetypes: one is the very intelligent,
       emotionally cold, uncaring professor who dislikes displays of emotion and
       prefers to discuss logic only. Examples: Dennis Quaid in Smart People, Mr.
       Spock from Star Trek. The other sub-archetype is the Nutty/Absentminded
       Professor, who is so caught up in his experiment that he doesn’t realize there
       will be consequences – and who is removed from the world and common sense,
       but who escapes being a cold fish because of his sense of playfulness and
       willingness to experiment with absolutely anything.
Psychiatrist
       Sigmund Freud is the most obvious archetype here. The highly intellectual,
       analytical man in tweed with a pipe who asks embarrassing questions and makes
       assumptions about character based on theories. The character of Frasier Crane
       pokes fun at this archetype, because although Frasier embodies most of these
       qualities, they work against him and he is unsuccessful in his quest for
       intellectual analysis.
Robot
       This is a very modern archetype, only dating from about the 1950s. The robot
       has immense logical abilities but limited emotional intelligence (“Archetype”).
       Data from Star Trek is a good example of this – at least he is until he gets his
       emotion chip.
Sacrificial Redeemer
       This is someone who dies for the benefit of humanity or to save others. In films,
       the sacrificial Redeemer is usually the center of a heart-rending (or vomitous)
       scene in which he/she gives up her/his life for someone else. A vomitous
       example of this would be the death scene in Titanic, where Jack Ryan is giving
       up his life so that Rose can live. (A much, much better scene of this type with
       Leonardo DiCaprio in it, BTW, is the death scene in Blood Diamond, which I
       would highly recommend to anyone and everyone.) Another example is in The
       Last of the Mohicans (film version with Daniel Day-Lewis), where Uncas dies to
       save Alice – but is unsuccessful because she kills herself after his death.
Samurai
       No, by this I do not mean Tom Cruise. I mean the real samurai, who were
       charged with the protection of Japan for centuries. But, like the knight
       archetype, they are trained in war, show little emotion, and must protect the
       weak, elderly, and women.
Scapegoat/Sacrificial Victim
       The Jewish people are the most famous example of scapegoats in Western
       history. Not just because of the Holocaust, either – they have been persecuted
       long before WWII. The scapegoat is an archetype referring to the stereotypes
       we frequently make about other groups of people – those groups are usually
       blamed for our problems and made to pay in various ways. During the Civil
       Rights movement in the United States, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X
       were both scapegoats of those who favored segregation. In the Balkan wars of
       the early 1990s, the different sides of that war blamed the other sides for the
       violence and genocide occurring in the former Yugoslavia. In Rwanda in 1994,
       there were groups who blamed the Tutsi tribe for the problems of the country
       and for the Rwandan president’s assassination – and this, like the Holocaust,
       resulted in mass genocide.
Secret Agent
       Bond James Bond. Need I say more? Very handsome, educated, takes enormous
       personal risks, has a Way With Women, etc. Rolls his car in the ditch without
       scratching his face or messing up his hair. Another example of an archetype
       related to the Knight.
Serpent
       Serpent – this one goes back far into time, beyond the story from Genesis about
       the serpent and the tree. With the notable exception of the Celts, most cultures
       have some archetype about snakes that is negative. Even the Celt-descended
       British feared something called a “fire serpent” or dragon. In recent years, there
       has been some research about Snake as representing the old pagan mythology
       about the Earth Mother, and the patriarchal cultures giving Snake a bad name
       because of those beliefs. Sir Hiss in Disney’s Robin Hood is a comical portrayal of
       this archetype – he works for the evil Prince John.
Storyteller
       For this one, the archetype is usually that of an older person speaking or reading
       to younger people. Authors of literature like to play around with this archetype
       by making the storyteller untrustworthy in some way (Edgar Allan Poe was
       fond of making the storyteller crazy, and only letting us know about it halfway
       through the story). In films, the storyteller often acts as a narrator – the
       grandfather in The Princess Bride, for example, is a storyteller. Another common
       way to portray storytellers is to have the adult version of a character tell the
       story about when they were younger – Jim Carrey’s character in Simon Birch is a
       good example of that.
Trickster
       American Indian mythology is replete with trickster types, but other mythology
       has the trickster too. Sometimes this character, who is usually very cunning and
       takes advantage of the Innocent, is a temptress; but sometimes it’s an animal
       figure that’s threatening, like the serpent in Genesis or the Big Bad Wolf in the
       Three Little Pigs. The trickster is, unlike the temptress, usually only tricking
       people for his own amusement. Sometimes the trickster gets played on himself,
       and he ends up feeling foolish, but this doesn’t stop him continuing to play
       around with people’s lives. (Coyote in American Indian myth is one of these.)
Witch
       Related to the temptress/enchantress, witches have been reviled for centuries.
       In the 15th and 16th centuries, witch hunts were held in Europe and in the
       Americas to find and kill suspected witches. Often a woman simply had to be a
       widow, and if a widow knew anything about herb lore, that was one of the signs
       she was a witch. There was a treatise published by the Catholic Church called
       the Malleus Malificarum, or The Witches’ Hammer, which was essentially an
       instruction booklet on how to identify, torture, and kill witches. An archetypal
       witch is a crone, a hag, a really ugly woman who has magic powers and who uses
       them for her own purposes, usually evil ones. Some theories about why witches
       are considered so evil go back to the church’s efforts to stamp out paganism, that
all women were considered evil because they were descended from Eve, and that
the world was divided into people who were good and people who were evil
(original sin).

Some prototypical witches are the Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz, the
witches in Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, and the White Witch in The Lion, the
Witch, and the Wardrobe. Some atypical portrayals of witches include Glinda the
Good Witch in The Wizard of Oz, the Owens sisters in the film Practical Magic,
and Morgaine in The Mists of Avalon.

				
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