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Mythic Structure

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Mythic Structure

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  1. Mythic Structure Based on Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces And Chris Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey

  2. Storytelling and Myth • Carl Jung • Strong correspondence between dreams and mythology • Both come from a deeper source in the “collective unconscious” of the human race. • Repeating characters such as young hero, wise old man or woman, shapeshifter, shadowy antagonist same as those who appear in our dreams.

  3. Storytelling and Myth • This is why myths and stories based on myths have a ring of psychological truth. • Deal with childlike universal questions such as: • Who am I? Where did I come from? What happens when I die? What is good? What is evil? What can I do about it? What will tomorrow be like? What is time?

  4. Hero’s Journey • Hero’s story is always a journey. • Leaves comforts of home to venture into a challenging, unfamiliar world. • Can be outward journey (actual place) • Inward journey (of the mind, the heart, the spirit.)

  5. Hero’s Journey • 12 Stages • Ordinary world • Call to Adventure • Refusal of the Call • Meeting with the Mentor • Crossing the First Threshold • Tests, Allies, Enemies • Approach to the Inmost Cave • Ordeal • Reward (Seizing the Sword) • The Road Back • Resurrection • Return with the Elixir

  6. Hero’s Journey • Act One • Departure and Separation • Ordinary world • Call to Adventure • Refusal of Call • Supernatural Aid (mentor) • Crossing the First Threshold

  7. Hero’s Journey • Act Two • Descent, Initiation, Penetration • Road of Trials (Tests, Allies, Enemies) • Ordeal (Meeting with the Goddess, Woman as Temptress, Atonement with Father, Apotheosis) • Reward

  8. Hero’s Journey • Act Three • Return (The Road Back) • Refusal of the Return • Magic Flight • Rescue from Within • Crossing the Threshold • Return • Resurrection (Master of the 2 Worlds) • Return with the Elixir (Freedom to Live)

  9. 1. Ordinary World • Taking hero from ordinary world (mundane) to special world. “Fish out of water” - Wizard of Oz, Trading Places, Star Wars.

  10. 2. Call to Adventure • Problem is presented. Can no longer remain in the comfort of the Ordinary World. • Star Wars - Princess Leia’s holograph. • Central question. Will Luke rescue the princess? • Will they fall in love?

  11. Refusal of the Call(Reluctant Hero) • Fear! Terror of unknown. • Need some other influence to convince her -- change in circumstances, more disruption, encouragement of the Mentor. (Star Wars- Aunt and Uncle killed)

  12. 4. Mentor • Introduction of Merlin-like character • Common in mythology and rich in symbolic value. • Bond between parent/child, teacher/student, god/man. • Coach in Rocky, Obi Wan/Yoda, Lou Grant.

  13. 5. Crossing the First Threshold • Hero commits to adventure. • Story takes off/ Central question is clear and looks hard to solve. • Turning point between Act One and Act Two. • Axel Foley decides to defy his boss’s order in Beverly Hills Cop.

  14. 6. Tests, Allies and Enemies • Begin to learn the rules of the Special World. • Saloons, seedy bars, Rick’s Café in Casablanca, Cantina in Star Wars (meets Han Solo and Jabba the Hutt). • Tests continue in Star Wars when Obi Wan teaches Luke about the Force.

  15. 7. Approach to the Inmost Cave • Hero at edge of danger where the object of quest is hidden. • The most dangerous spot in the Special World. • Crosses Second Threshold to enter this dangerous place. Approach. • Land of the Dead in mythology (Orpheus descending into Hell to rescue loved one), Arthurian stories - Chapel of Perilous, the chamber containing the Grail. Star Wars - ?

  16. 8. The Ordeal • Fortunes of hero hit the bottom - confrontation with greatest fear. • Star Wars - Trapped in giant trashmasher, ET - dies on operating table - death of a relationship in romance--things look bleak. Initiation.

  17. 9. Reward • Survived death, take possession of treasure, reap reward. Hero becomes hero. • “Sword” = knowledge, experience, understanding, reconciliation. • Star Wars - Rescue Leia, capture plans of Death star - keys to defeating Vader. • Return of Jedi - Reconciliation with Darth Vader/father.

  18. 10. Road Back • Not out of woods yet. • Deal with consequences of confronting the dark forces. Great chase scenes here. • Luke and Leia pursued by Vader. Moonlight bicycle ride in ET. • Decision to return to the Ordinary World. (Turning Point to Act Three)

  19. 11. Resurrection • Purification, Rebirth, Cleansing before returning to the Ordinary World. • Almost replay of Ordeal. Final shot of Death and Darkness. Final test. • Final battle scene in Star Wars movies. • Beverly Hill Cop - Axel Foley rescued by Beverly Hills police.

  20. 12. Return with the Elixir • The Return to the Ordinary World has meaning because of the Elixir hero brings back - treasure, lesson learned, knowledge, love. • ET - friendship, Star Wars - end of Vader, peace. • Journey must be repeated if no Elixir.

  21. Hero’s Journey • Heroes introduced in ORDINARY WORLD, where • They receive the CALL TO ADVENTURE. • They are RELUCTANT at first (REFUSE THE CALL), but • Are encouraged by a MENTOR to • CROSS THE THRESHOLD and enter Special world, where • They encounter TESTS, ALLIES, AND ENEMIES.

  22. Hero’s Journey 7. They APPROACH THE INMOST CAVE, crossing a second threshold 8. Where they endure the ORDEAL. 9. They take possession of their REWARD and 10. Are pursued on THE ROAD BACK to the Ordinary World. 11. They cross the third threshold, experience a RESURECTION and are transformed by the experience. 12. They RETURN WITH THE ELIXIR, a boon or treasure to benefit the Ordinary World.

  23. Mythic structure of Horror Films • “Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid.” • Plays with our fears for one effect: to terrify, horrify and sometimes just gross out the audience. • Audience expects to experience a horrifying journey. Relish a good scare.

  24. Mythic structure of Horror Films • Root of horror: Powerlessness • Sometimes not the known monster but the Shadow that cannot be apprehended. • Force of chaos must be defeated.

  25. 3 Types of Horror Stories • Man battles outside monster - vampires, diseases, aliens, sharks. • Man creates the monster - Frankenstein, The Fly. • Man is the Monster. Man confronts the dark side of his nature. - Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Halloween, Silence of the Lambs.

  26. Silence of the Lambs • Screenplay by Ted Tally • Based on book by Thomas Harris • Directed by Jonathan Demme • 1991 • Starring Jody Foster and Anthony Hopkins

  27. Silence of the Lambs • Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Brilliant. Cunning. Psychotic. In his mind lies the clue to a ruthless killer. - Clarice Starling, FBI. Brilliant. Vulnerable. Alone. She must trust him to stop the killer.

  28. The Journey • Ordinary World - FBI Academy Clarice aspires to work for jack Crawford in the FBI’s Behavior Science Division after graduation - her Outer Problem. She worshipped her father, a town marshal, and felt abandoned when he was murdered. Her Inner Problem is to come to terms with his death.

  29. The Journey • Call to Adventure - Convince convicted serial killer Hannibal Lecter to fill out a questionnaire - help catch Buffalo Bill • Refuse the Call (Reluctant) - Clarice is enthusiastic until warning from Crawford “Don’t want Hannibal Lecter in your head” • Mentor - Crawford encourages but warns her. Lecter is a Shadow Mentor • Cross the Threshold - On case to solve Buffalo Bill murders.

  30. The Journey • Tests, Allies and Enemies - Test - locate the “Your Self Storage” Discovers a car and headless mannequin plus man’s head in a jar. More tests - autopsy, finds insect pupa in victim’s mouth. Allies: entomologists find clue - rare Death’s Head Moth.

  31. The Journey 7. Approach Inmost cave (cross second threshold) - Catherine Martin is kidnapped by Buffalo Bill. Stake are raised, Crawford and Clarisse need to make a deal with Lecter--a room with a view in exchange for a profile of Buffalo Bill. Lecter accepts on condition that Clarice answers his questions (quid pro quo). She must allow Lecter to get into her mind. She accepts and tells of her father’s death.

  32. The Journey • Ordeal - Dr. Chilton reveals that the FBI’s deal is bogus, ruining the relationship between Clarice and Lecter. Resurrection - Clarice give Lecter back his drawings and stands up to him, demanding the truth. Lecter gives some information, but demands one more Ordeal - forces her to tell about her nightmare of the spring lambs an dhow saving Catherine would silence the screaming.

  33. The Journey Clarisse presses Lecter to reveal Buffalo Bill’s name, but Chilton interrupts. Clarice breaks free, grabs case file from Lecter’s outstretched hands. His fingers linger on hers. THIS IS A VERY TENSE ORDEAL! - SHE TOUCHES DEATH AND HE SETS HER FREE. • Reward - Buffalo Bill knew his victims. • Road Back - Discovers diamond shaped darts in dress, phones Crawford. He already knows identity of Buffalo Bill. She is asked to stay to find a connection between Buffalo Bill and latest victim.

  34. The Journey 11. Resurrection - FBI looks in wrong spot. Clarice stumbles upon actual home and sees the Death’s Head Moth, leading to Clarice’s resurrection sequence. Clarice pursues Buffalo Bill into house, discovers Catherine, finds skinning room, lights go out. Surrounded by darkness and death, clarice is unaware that Gumb pursues her with infrared goggles. He taunts her, points gun at her. Clarice hears the metallic click of gun, turns and shoots--Resurrection complete.

  35. The Journey • Return with Elixir - Several Elixirs • Case is solved • Buffalo Bill is dead • Catherine is rescued • Clarice graduates • Earns Crawford’s respect • Mentor Crawford tells Clarice her father would be proud. • Phone call from another proud Mentor - Lecter • Lecter tells Clarice she is safe (Elixir of Life)

  36. Archetypes • Characters that populate the world - ancient patterns of personality that are the shared heritage of the human race. • Change throughout a story

  37. Facets of the Hero’s personality • Classic archetypes = facets of personality. • Higher self, shapeshifter, threshold guardian, trickster, shadow, herald, allies, mentor. • Plus Good Mother, Wicked Stepmother, Witch, Fairy Godmother, Prince, etc.

  38. Nature of archetypes • What psychological function or part of the personality does it represent? • What is the dramatic function in a story?

  39. Hero • Greek - “To protect and to serve.” • Self-sacrifice • Psychological Function: • Ego • Part of personality that separates from the mother, distinct from the rest of humans • Heroes start as all ego and learn to transcend the illusions of ego.

  40. Hero • Dramatic Function: • Window into the Story • We are invited to identify with the Hero, to see the world through her eyes. • Universal qualities, emotions and motivations.

  41. Hero • Growth • Hero learns or grows in the story. • Main character is the one who learns the most. • Action • Hero is most active person in the script. • Should perform the decisive action of the story, taking the most risk or responsibility.

  42. Hero • Sacrifice - “making holy” • Sacrifice is the true mark of the Hero. • Willing to give up something of value on behalf of an ideal or a group. • Dealing with Death • Confrontation with death at heart of the story (real, threat of death, symbolic death). • Hero models how to deal with death. • Martin Luther King, Gandhi

  43. Hero • Heroism in other characters • Not just in main character • Obi Wan becomes hero when he sacrifices himself to save Luke. • Character Flaws • Interesting flaws make us human help audience identify with protagonist. • Give character somewhere to “go”. • Hero restored to “wholeness”.

  44. Varieties of Hero • Willing/Unwilling • Gung ho hero vs. doubtful, hesitant, passive, needing motivation.

  45. Varieties of Hero • Anti-hero • Outlaw from viewpoint of society, but person who audience sympathizes with. • Two types • 1. Characters who behave like a hero but are cynical or flawed (Bogart in Casablanca, James Dean in Rebel without a Cause, Sean Penn in Dead Man Walking) • 2. Tragic heroes who we don’t like or who aren’t admirable - often brought down in story. (Macbeth, Al Pacino in Scarface, Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest)