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Archetypes. Carl Jung. Collective Unconscious Shared by all humans an unconscious “which does not derive from personal experience and is not a personal acquisition but is inborn” (Jung 289). Carl Jung. Archetypes contents of the collective unconscious

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carl jung
Carl Jung
  • Collective Unconscious
    • Shared by all humans
    • an unconscious “which does not derive from personal experience and is not a personal acquisition but is inborn” (Jung 289)
carl jung3
Carl Jung
  • Archetypes
    • contents of the collective unconscious
    • defined as primordial or “universal images that have existed since the remotest times” (Jung 288)
    • formed during the earliest stages of human development
how do archetypes operate
How do archetypes operate?
  • Jung found the archetypal patterns and images in every culture and in every time period of human history. They behaved according to the same laws in all cases. He postulated the Collective Unconscious to account for this fact. Mind is rooted in the Unconscious just as a tree is rooted in the ground.
the hero
The Hero
  • The Hero is a protagonist whose life is a series of well-marked adventures.
  • The circumstances of his birth are unusual, and he is raised by a guardian.
  • He will have to leave his kingdom, only to return to it upon reaching manhood.
  • Characterized by courage, strength, and honor, the hero will endure hardship, even risk his life for the good of all.
  • Leaves the familiar to enter an unfamiliar and challenging world.
the scapegoat
The Scapegoat
  • – An animal or more usually a human whose death in a public ceremony expiates some taint or sin that has been visited upon a community (e.g., Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery").  
the outcast
The Outcast
  • – A figure who is banished from a social group for some crime against his fellow man.  The outcast is usually destined to become a wanderer from place to place (e.g., Cain, the Wandering Jew, the Ancient Mariner).  
the mentor or sage
The Mentor or Sage
  • An older, wiser teacher to the initiates. He often serves as a father or mother figure. He gives the hero gifts (weapons, food, magic, information), serves as a role model or as hero’s conscience.
  • Obi-wan, Merlin, Albus Dumbledore, Gandalf
the devil figure
The Devil Figure
  • Evil incarnate, this character offers worldly goods, fame, or knowledge to the protagonist in exchange for possession of his soul
  • Will tempt, cheat, steal, lie, and destroy anyone or anything he comes into contact with
  • (e.g., Lucifer, Mephistopheles, Satan, the Faust legend).             
the shadow
The Shadow
  • This character is evil incarnate. Sometimes the devil figure has the potential to be good.
  • This person can be/ is usually saved by the love of the hero.
the trickster
The Trickster
  • The Trickster openly questions and mocks authority, encourages impulse and enthusiasm, seeks out new ideas and experiences, destroys convention and complacency, and promotes chaos and unrest
companions loyal retainers
Companions – Loyal Retainers
  • Somewhat heroic
  • Similar to a servant with hero like qualities
  • Duty: Protect the Hero
the shape shifter
The Shape Shifter
  • The shape shifter changes role or personality, often in significant ways, and is hard to understand.
  • That very changeability is the essence of this archetype.
  • His or her alliances and loyalty are uncertain, and the sincerity of his claims is often questionable. This keeps the hero off guard.
the star crossed lovers
The Star-Crossed lovers
  • A young man and woman enter an ill-fated love affair which ends tragically in the death of either or both of the lovers (e.g., Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story, Tristan and Isolde, Hero and Leander).     
  • Symbolic of fruition, abundance and fertility
  • this  character traditi-onally offers spiritual and emotional nourishment to those with whom she comes in contact
  • Examples: Mother Nature, Mother Country, alma mater 
the temptress
The Temptress
  • Characterized by sensuous beauty
  • This woman is one to whom the protagonist is physically attracted and who ultimately brings about his downfall
  • Calypso, the Sirens, Cleopatra 
the damsel in distress
The Damsel in Distress
  • A vulnerable woman who needs to be rescued by the hero.
  • She is often used as a trap to ensnare the unsuspecting hero.
the platonic ideal
The Platonic Ideal
  • This woman is a source of inspiration and a spiritual ideal, for whom the protagonist or author has an intellectual rather than a physical attraction  
the unfaithful wife
The Unfaithful Wife
  • A woman, married to a man she sees as dull  unimaginative, is physically attracted to a more virile and desirable man (e.g., Guinevere, Helen of Troy).     
the quest
The Quest
  • This motif describes the search for someone or some talisman which, when found and brought back, will restore fertility to a wasted land, the desolation of which is mirrored by a leader's illness and disability. 
  • Gawain, Perceval, and Galahad for the Holy Grail. 
  • Ahab's monomaniacal quest for the albino whale in Moby Dick is a variation on this archetype.    
the task
The Task
  • To save the kingdom, to win the fair lady, to identify himself so that he may reassume his rightful position, the Hero must perform some nearly superhuman deed
  • Odysseus must string the bow, Arthur must pull the sword from the stone, Beowulf must slay Grendel).    
death and rebirth
Death and Rebirth
  • From the parallel between the cycle of nature and the cycle of life. 
  • Morning and springtime represent birth, youth, or rebirth; evening and
  • Winter suggests old age or death. 
symbolic archetypes
Symbolic Archetypes 

Some of the more common archetypal associations are as follows: 

light darkness
  • Light usually suggests hope, renewal or intellectual illumination; darkness implies the unknown, ignorance, or despair   
fire and ice
Fire and Ice
  • Fire represents knowledge, light, life, and rebirth, while ice, like the desert, represents ignorance, darkness, sterility, and death.
water desert
  • Because water is necessary to life and growth, it commonly appears as a birth or rebirth symbol. 
  • anthropologists believe, that water is used in baptismal services, which solemnize spiritual birth. 
  • Similarly, the appearance of rain in a work of literature can suggest a character's regeneration or rebirth
  • Conversely, the aridity of the desert is often associated with spiritual sterility and desiccation   
heaven hell
  • Man has traditionally associated parts of the universe not accessible to him with the dwelling places of the primordial forces that govern his world. 
  • The skies and mountain tops house his gods
  • the bowels of the earth contain the diabolic forces that inhabit his universe
  • (e.g., Mount Olympus, the Underworld, Paradise Lost, The Divine Comedy). 
nature vs mechanistic world
Nature vs. Mechanistic World
  • Nature is good while technology is evil.

Red: blood, sacrifice, passion, disorder

Green: growth, hope, fertility

Blue: highly positive, security, tranquility, spiritual purity

Black: darkness, chaos, mystery, the unknown, death, wisdom, evil, melancholy

White: light, purity, innocence, timelessness (negatives: death, horror, supernatural)

Yellow: enlightenment, wisdom


3—light, spiritual awareness, unity (holy trinity), male principle

4—associated with the circle, life cycle, four seasons, female principle, earth, nature, elements

7—the most potent of all symbolic numbers signifying the union of three and four, the completion of a cycle, perfect order, perfect number, religious symbol