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Hero Archetype


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Overview of the Hero Archetype, as characterized by Archetypal Literary Theory. With referenced examples taken from film and pop culture.

Hero Archetype

  1. 1. The Archetypal Hero
  2. 2. What Do Luke Skywalker, Simba, King Arthur, Moses, Wonder Woman, William Wallace, & Optimus Prime all have in common?
  3. 3. ANSWER: They are all Archetypal Heroes
  4. 4. But what is an Archetype? And what does it have to do with Heroes?
  5. 5. Let’s start with the two guys who came up with the concept: Joseph Carl Jung Campbell
  6. 6. Archetype: A recurring pattern of images, situations, or symbols found in the mythology, religion, art, and dreams of cultures around the world.
  7. 7. Okay, so what exactly characterizes an Archetypal Hero then? –And what does this have to do with the characters mentioned?
  8. 8. Traits of the Archetypal Hero • Unusual Circumstances of Birth • Leaves Family and Lives With Others • Traumatic Event Leads to Quest • Special Weapon • Supernatural Help
  9. 9. Unusual Birth Often in danger or born into royalty…
  10. 10. Leaves Family Raised away from… -or separated from home
  11. 11. Traumatic Event The hero’s life is changed forever…
  12. 12. Special Weapon Only the hero can wield it…
  13. 13. Supernatural Help -The hero often has spiritual guidance
  14. 14. More Heroic Traits… • Proves self on Quest • Journey and Unhealable Wound • Atonement With Father • Spiritual Apotheosis
  15. 15. Proves Him or Herself The hero performs heroic feats…
  16. 16. Journey & Unhealable Wound Hero descends into a hell- like area and suffers wounding from an encounter with evil
  17. 17. Atonement With Father The hero either redeems father’s evil deeds or reconciles with father over wrongs done by the hero
  18. 18. Apotheosis Hero is rewarded spiritually at the end of his, or her life
  19. 19. Aha! –But not all of these characters have all of the characteristics!
  20. 20. That’s okay. -They don’t really have to… As long as a hero displays several of these characteristics, he, or she, is in the club!
  21. 21. Now, can you think of any other Archetypal Heroes?
  22. 22. References Davis, Bryan M. "The Archetypal Hero in Literature, Religion, Movies, and Popular Culture." 11 Oct 1997. Stephen F. Austin University. (07/07/2009). < Nilsen, Alleen P., & Donelson, Kenneth L. Literature for Today’s Young Adults, 8th ed. Boston: Pearson Education, Inc. 2009.