World literature i
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WORLD LITERATURE I. MAN, MYTH, MEANING A MYTHOLOGICAL/ARCHETYPAL APPROACH. Various definitions can be explored. A traditional explanation is that myth explains some phenomenon of nature, the origin of humanity, or the customs, institutions, and religious rites of a people.

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World literature i





What is myth

Various definitions can be explored.

A traditional explanation is that myth explains some phenomenon of nature, the origin of humanity, or the customs, institutions, and religious rites of a people.

This is a good working definition, but myth is far deeper. For the purposes of this class myth will be defined as an underlying TRUTH told in story form.


Carl jung and joseph campbell

These two individuals are GIANTS in the exploration of myth in the 20th century.

They opened a gateway to an understanding of human consciousness and the power of myth.

Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell

World literature i

CARL JUNG 1875-1961

World literature i


Campbell s four functions of myth

Campbell’s Four Functions of Myth

  • 1. The first is the mystical function…realizing what a wonder the universe is, what a mystery we are, and experiencing awe before this mystery.

  • 2. The second is the cosmological dimension, the dimension with which science is concerned--showing you what the shape of the universe is, but showing it in such a way that the mystery again comes through.

Cone nebula 2500 light years away

Cone Nebula 2500 Light Years Away

Function of myth continued

Function of Myth Continued

  • 3. The third function is the sociological one—supporting and validating a certain social order. The myths vary enormously from place to place. Sociological myths are important in validating social orders.

  • 4. The fourth function is one that everyone must try to relate to—the pedagogical function—of how to live a human lifetime under any circumstances. Myths can teach you that.

God creating adam michelangelo

God Creating Adam Michelangelo

Fall and expulsion from paradise

Fall and Expulsion From Paradise

Moses bringing the commandments

Moses Bringing The Commandments

World literature i

To return to Campbell’s point about myth being a teaching tool for learning how to live a human lifetime under any circumstances, this is exactly a major function of The Epic of Gilgamesh.

Jung archetypes and the collective unconscious

The term “archetype” appeared in classical antiquity (Plotinus, 3rd Century A.D.)

It originates from the Greek archetypos, a beginning or primal pattern.

These primal patterns reappear in human thoughts, actions, or desires constantly enough to be considered

A universal concept or gestalt.

Jung, Archetypes, and the Collective Unconscious

Collective unconscious

Collective Unconscious

  • Founder of analytic psychology, Jung developed the concept of archetype after analyzing his own dreams.

  • In them he found symbolic ideas that he also found in different religions and mythologies.

The deep pool of being

Jung developed the theory that these archetypes emanate from an area of mind

He called the “collective unconscious.”

He asserted that this region of mind is shared by all human beings.

According to Jung, these archetypes are instinctive primal, human patterns.


Forms of archetypes

There are far too many psychological archetypes to detail in this brief summary.

However, here are some of the more common ones that most people are familiar with.


Trickster or Jester

Anima and Animus

Creation myths

Destruction myths



Hercules and cerberus

Hercules and Cerberus

Luke skywalker

Luke Skywalker

Darth vader

Darth Vader

The hero s archetypal journey

He begins in ORDINARY LIFE.

He receives the CALL TO ADVENTURE and encounters a helper along the way.

Next he crosses the THRESHOLD OF ADVENTURE.

He has entered into the other world where he undergoes TESTS and meets more HELPERS.

Finally the hero realizes his PEAK EXPERIENCE.

He then takes FLIGHT to his OLD LIFE with a BOON.

The Hero’s Archetypal Journey

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