ARCHETYPES Archetypes are instinctive patterns recur in art across cultures recur in art across time Today, archetype means original model or pattern Archetypes Figures or patterns that recur in works of art from generation to generation. Timeless and Universal! Signs, symbols and archetypes: what’s the difference anyway? Don’t confuse archetypes with other signs or symbols. SIGN A word or physical sign which represents one object. initials: U.S.A., CIA, ECA traffic signs trademarks: “Just do it,” “I’m lovin’ it.” A sign is meaningless in itself; it gains meaning through use. Symbol An object that stands for something else. Can be a letter, a character, or a sign. •the American flag •a police badge •the Greek letter delta These objects are specific to a culture, a community, some times a specific novel. Take for instance a snake . . . TIME & SPACE MACHINE We can put the snake in a time and space machine and send it to ANYWHERE or ANYWHEN—ideally—and most people would agree on what that snake means or represents. This is a two-dimensional joke: Snakes have no legs to kick with, or opposable thumbs with which to attach a sign. Snakes are EVIL! Heracles with the snake - Greece The Rainbow Snake Aido-Hwedo QUETZLCOATL is in charge of the primal waters where all life was created. The Seven-Headed Serpent Lotan from Canaanite myths, which served as a symbol of the seven deadly sins. Shesha, the world serpent In Hindu mythology, Shesha spews fire to destroy all creation Apep, the chaos serpent At first, Apep was the Egyptian Sun god. When he was replaced by Ra, he became very angry. Apep became a symbol of evil. Medusa - Greek Jormungandr (Norse) will eventually bring about Ragnarok (the end of the world) Where can we find archetypes? Mythology Literature Art Religion Movies Comic Books Songs Three types of archetypes are. . . archetypal plots archetypal characters archetypal symbols ARCHETYPAL PLOTS Cosmogony (Creation story) Tragedy (The hero dies) Comedy (The hero marries and lives happily ever after) Monomyth of Initiation (Hero’s Journey) Be careful when looking at art, literature, film . . . LIFE through an archetypal lens. HERO CYCLE Revolves around a character who leaves home • often an ordinary person, but may have had a special birth/birthright •Is guided by a supernatural aid •The hero suffers a number of trials * Temptress * Monsters / Villains •The hero triumphs in the end • usually returns home and shares knowledge or a gift Notice that the hero is assumed to be male because one of his many “trials” is overcoming a temptress. TRAGEDY •Revolves around a person of importance, not a commoner •Horrible things happen to the main character and those he/she loves •The hero (and others) die(s) in the end COMEDY •Revolves around normal or common people •Includes some form of mistaken identity and a block •The hero and his love get married in the end ARCHETYPAL CHARACTERS Hero Shadow Star-crossed Lover Trickster Herald Threshold Guardian Shape shifter Mentor THE ARCHETYPAL MAN HERO Young, handsome, muscular, courageous Mysterious or divine birth Strong (sometimes beyond normal men) Neither a fool nor perfect Usually follows the hero cycle Archetype of the Hero •Willing to sacrifice on behalf of others •Flawed •Types: Willing, unwilling, antihero, group oriented, loner, catalyst, and tragic LUKE SKYWALKER Aragon KING ARTHUR MENTOR/Wise Old Man Older than hero Spiritual and moral Intelligent Sometimes has special powers Guide or instructor for the hero Often a former hero MERLIN GANDALF OBI WAN KENOBI The Shadow -Represents energy of the dark side -The mask that can be worn by any character -Gives the hero a worthy struggle Star Crossed Lovers Two people who fall in love However, their love is unfulfilled Society will not allow them to love Romeo and Juliet Tony and Maria Orpheus and Eurydice Jack Twist and Ennis del Mar One type of Shadow-- The Villain: Physical appearance varies Age varies Adversary for the hero and/or heroine Kevin Spacey as LEX LUTHOR DARTH VADER THE JOKER Lord Farquaad The ultimate Shadow:THE DEVIL Usually offers a trade or exchange Manipulative and deceptive Often physically attractive and well- dressed Satan is . . . Al Pacino in The Devil’s Advocate THE TRICKSTER He is a god; yet he is not. He is the wise-fool. He rebels against authority, pokes fun at the overly serious, creates convoluted schemes—that may or may not work—and is sometimes his own worst enemy. He exists to question, to cause us to question, and not to accept things blindly. LOKI - Norse In Native American mythology, Coyote is a buffoon, a creator, a trickster, and a hero. WILE E. COYOTE A subset of the Trickster: The FOOL May have some physical defect--fat, cross-eyed, big nose Relieves tension Often a side-kick or ally Humorous and bumbling Speaks the truth that no one else will. C3PO & R2D2 MERRY AND PIPPIN The Herald Issues a challenge to the hero Can be positive or negative The Mythological Herald: Hermes Threshold Guardian Guards the gate Keeps the unworthy out Can be good or evil--lieutenants or villains Are not always human ARCHETYPAL FEMALE CHARACTERS The Mother Figure (Parents may be threshold guardians.) Birth, life, fertility Warmth, protection, security Nourishment Marge Simpson The Shape shifter Changes physically or mentally Often female Femme fatale The reader cannot tell if this character is good or bad. May dazzle or confuse the hero. A subset of the Shape shifter: The Crone or Witch Old, ugly Mysterious Intelligent Plotting or conniving Jadis from The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty Sadly, the witch is the equivalent of the wise man. Women don’t get to be smart—and certainly not smart and pretty—without also being evil. Another Shape shifter Option:The Temptress Older than the maiden, younger than the mother Beautiful, usually dark- or red-haired Deceptive and underhanded Expert at seduction Calypso Megara from Hercules The Maiden or Virgin Young, beautiful Often helpless Innocent Saved by hero Cinderella ARECHETYPA L SYMBOLS (metaphors/ similes) •Water = Birth •Night = Death •Light = Good •Dark = Bad Can you see anything problematic about archetypes? Anything that suggests that dark is bad and light is good can be dangerous in the wrong hands, and it does not represent all cultures. COMMON ARCHETYPAL SYMBOLS WATER The mystery of creation Birth-death-resurrection Purification and redemption Fertility and growth Sun Creative energy Law in nature Consciousness (thinking, enlightenment, etc.) Passage of time and life Father principle The Rising Sun Birth Creation Enlightenment Hope Setting Sun=Death The Moon: the female principle COLORS RED Blood Sacrifice Violent passion Disorder GREEN Growth Sensation Hope Fertility BLUE Usually positive Truth Religion Security Religious purity BLACK Chaos Mystery The unknown Death Primal wisdom The unconscious Evil Melancholy WHITE Light Purity Innocence Timelessness Also death, terror, the supernatural CIRCLE Wholeness and Unity EGG Fertility and the Mystery of Life GARDEN Paradise Innocence Unspoiled Beauty Fertility TREE Growth Generation & regeneration Inexhaustible life Immortality Death DESERT Hopelessness And we cannot forget the character who runs the show in most mythology . . . OMNIPOTENT, OMNISCIENT DEITY Sources: Edith Hamilton Carl Jung Joseph Campbell Toni McNaron How do you apply archetypal criticism to a text? Most stories have at least a couple of archetypes. It’s hard to find stories without them in either the plot, characters or symbols. Look for subverted archetypes, places where the author created an archetypal setting, plot, symbol, or character only to turn it on its head. This can make a story fascinating! Subverted Archetype The female hero: Wonderwoman!
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