heroes journeys myths and epics
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Heroes, Journeys, Myths, and Epics. An Introduction. Characteristics of an epic…. A physically impressive hero of national or historical importance A vast setting involving much of the physical world, and sometimes the land of the dead

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Presentation Transcript
characteristics of an epic
Characteristics of an epic…
  • A physically impressive hero of national or historical importance
  • A vast setting involving much of the physical world, and sometimes the land of the dead
  • Action such as a mission or quest taken in search of something of value
  • Evidence of supernatural forces at work
  • Glorification of the hero at the end
  • Rooted in a specific culture or society
what is a myth

What is a myth?

Myths are stories about supernatural beings. In early times, they were handed down orally from one generation to another.

myths attempt to explain
Myths attempt to explain…
  • NATURE and its processes:
    • Where did earth come from?
    • What about the heavens? (Sun, moon, stars, etc.)
    • The seasons? (Climate, rain, etc.)
    • Geography? (Oceans, mountains, forests, etc.)
  • MAN and historical events:
    • Where did man come from?
    • His life? (Birth growth, reproduction, death)
    • His victories? (Glory in battle)
    • His defeats? (Misfortunes)
    • His end? (Rewards and punishments)
    • Reality of the human condition
  • GODS:
    • Where did the gods come from?
    • How many are there?
    • What do they have power over?
    • What are their roles?
    • What are their powers and weaknesses?
what is an archetype

What is an archetype?

It is an original model after which other similar things are patterned – these are found in every culture all over the world.

situational archetypes
The Quest

The Task

The Initiation

The Journey

The Fall

Death and Rebirth

Situational Archetypes:
the quest
The Quest

Search for someone or an object which,when found, will restore peace or balance to a society

the task
The Task

Part of the quest that serves as a test – hero will usually have to perform some super-human deed

the initiation
The Initiation

Usually an initiation into adulthood or some role the hero must take on

the journey
The Journey

SPIRITUAL journey hero must go through in search of truth – it is a spiritual or psychological awakening

the fall
The Fall

Descent from a higher to a lower state of being – usually involves loss of innocence, banishment, or death

death and rebirth
Death and Rebirth

Shows cycle of nature and life

the hero many traits
Unusual circumstances of birth

Leaves family or land

Event leads to quest

Has special weapon only he can wield

Gets “supernatural” help

Must pass test

Usually has a journey and an unhealable wound

Experiences atonement with parent(s)

Glorified at the end of the quest

THE HERO: Many traits!
major character archetypes
The Initiates

The Mentor

The Hunting Group of Companions

The Friendly Beast

The Evil Figure with the Ultimately Good Heart

The Devil Figure

The Transgressor

The Destroyer

The Trickster

The Scapegoat

The Outcast

The Creature of Nightmares

Major Character Archetypes:
other character archetypes
The Earth Mother

The Innocent

The Temptress

The Platonic Ideal

The Amazon Warrior

The Damsel in Distress

The Threshold Guardian

The Shadow

The Star-Crossed Lovers

Other Character Archetypes:
symbolic archetypes1
Light vs. Darkness

Water vs. Desert

Heaven vs. Hell

Fire vs. Ice

Nature vs. Mechanistic World

Good vs. Evil

Father vs. Son

Unhealable Wound


Supernatural Intervention

Magic Weapon

Symbolic Archetypes:
color archetypes

Color Archetypes

Yes, writers of literature and film choose colors for a reason!

  • Positive associations:
    • Light, innocence, purity, virginity
  • Negative:
    • Death, terror, supernatural, blinding truth


  • Positive associations:
    • Knowledge, intelligence
  • Negative:
    • Evil, sadness, chaos, mystery, death


  • Represents hope, happiness
  • Associated with the sun
  • Positive associations:
    • Love, artistry
  • Negative:
    • Blood, sacrifice, disorder
  • Positive color associated with serenity, truth, spiritual purity, peace
  • Positive associations:
    • Life, rebirth, growth, hope, fertility
  • Negative:
    • Death, decay
  • Positive color made from red and yellow; symbolizes hope and passion


  • Earth tones positively represent nature


  • Associated with power and royalty
numeric symbolism

Numeric Symbolism

Yes, these can mean something, too!

significant numbers
One: complete unity

Two: symbolizes duality (night/day, sun/moon, etc.)

Three: associated with Holy Trinity, light, unity

Four: associated with the circle, life cycle, seasons, elements, earth, nature

Seven: signifies the union of 3 and 4, which signifies perfect order

Significant Numbers: