What Do Simba, LukeSkywalker, King Arthur,Superman, Harry Potter, and Optimus Prime all have in common?
ANSWER:They are all Archetypal Heroes
But what is an Archetype?And what does it have to do with Heroes?
Let’s start with the two guys who came up with the concept: Joseph Carl Jung Campbell
Archetype:A recurring pattern of images, situations, or symbols found in the mythology, religion, art, and dreams of cultures around the world.
Okay, so what exactly characterizes an Archetypal Hero then? And what does this have to do with the characters mentioned?
TRAITS OF THE ARCHETYPALHERO • Unusual Circumstances of Birth • Leaves Family and Lives With Others • Traumatic Event Leads to Quest • Special Weapon • Supernatural Help
UNUSUAL BIRTHOften in danger or born into royalty…
LEAVES FAMILYRaised away from… HOME
TRAUMATIC EVENTThe hero’s life is changed forever…
SPECIAL WEAPONOnly the hero canwield it…
SUPERNATURALHELPThe hero often has spiritual guidance
Atonement With Father OTHER HEROIC TRAITSJourney and Proves self on Unhealable Quest Wound
PROVES HIM ORHERSELFThe hero performsheroic feats…
AHA! –BUT NOT ALL OF THESECHARACTERSHAVE ALL OF THE CHARACTERISTICS!
NOW, CAN YOU THINK OF ANYOTHER ARCHETYPAL HEROES?
SITUATIONAL ARCHETYPESThese are common themes that surround the Hero The Quest The Task The Initiation The Journey The Fall Death and Rebirth Nature vs. Mechanistic World Good vs. Evil The Unhealable Wound The Ritual
SITUATIONAL ARCHETYPES the HeroThese are a few of the common themes that surround The Quest: never easily accomplished and often includes near impossible challenges Example: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
SITUATIONAL ARCHETYPES the HeroThese are a few of the common themes that surroundThe Task: The Hero must perform some nearlysuperhuman deed. This is done to save the kingdom, win thegirl, or find himself Example: Only the rightful heir to the throne can complete the task of pulling the sword from the stone.
The Initiation: A right of passage, when the adolescent hero becomes and adult. Example: Arthur begins as a young boy, but in order to become king and must make some difficult choices and complete some difficult tasks.The Journey: Sends the hero on a search for some truth orinformation and forces the hero to discover many unpleasanttruths. Example: Frodo sets off from The Shire in order to find answers.
REFERENCESDavis, Bryan M. "The Archetypal Hero inLiterature, Religion, Movies, and PopularCulture." 11 Oct 1997. Stephen F. AustinUniversity. (07/07/2009). <http://www.tatsbox.com/hero?Nilsen, Alleen P., & Donelson, Kenneth L.Literature for Today’s Young Adults, 8th ed.Boston: Pearson Education, Inc. 2009.