Three Archetypes and Three Themes of Lit. & Film: 3 Archetypes:

Three Archetypes and Three Themes of Lit. & Film:
This course will focus on these 3 Archetypes and 3 Themes in our films and stories:
3 Archetypes:
1. The Flawed (or wounded) Hero (also known as the Anti-Hero)
The Flawed Innocent (this may include the naïve innocent, the corrupt “innocent,” or the wise fool)
3. The Lost & Depressive Narcissist
Note: There are no “superheroes” and no “super-models” in literary fiction or serious films.
3 Themes:
1. The Struggle for Intimacy – how characters connect, or fail to connect, with themselves,
their environments, and others to find meaning in their lives.
2. The Unconscious Outer Drama (the Projection of our Demonic Shadows onto others).
3. The Conscious Inner Drama (This happens when a flawed hero develops a “Creative
Inner Container” to own, fully feel, and integrate anger, fear, rage, shame, or other painful
Note: an archetype is an original pattern or model of which all characters under this type or category are
representatives of the original. For example, the ancient Greek hero Odysseus is an archetype of many modern
heroes and anti-heroes. Likewise, Greek goddesses such as Hera, Aphrodite, or Artemis are archetypes for
certain types of modern women who embody similar traits.
It is important to keep in mind, however, that, any archetype can easily degenerate into a crude and oversimplified stereotype whenever we choose to see him (or her) as only the embodiment of a few, selected traits
rather that the complex, mysterious, and often contradictory human being that each of us actually is.
Works of art often embody these three archetypes and themes (as well as many others) in all sorts of
combinations. For example, an anti-hero may also be an innocent or a complex figure struggling with
inner demons. Or, he (or she) may embody all of the traits listed above. Likewise, a character that we
term “innocent” may, in fact, have a demonic side that is either unconsciously projected onto others
or “owned,” fully felt, made conscious, and therefore integrated as part of himself.
An innocent is not necessarily a hero but can potentially become one by consciously owning his or her
“shadow” material in a heroic (and usually painful) struggle to contain and withstand the opposing
forces and tensions that can easily become destructive when unconsciously projected onto another.
Note: all of us have an unconscious shadow. The shadow is a term that refers to all those traits and
flaws that are part of our actual wholeness but that we simply cannot stand about ourselves. When
we deny and reject these inner qualities and behaviors, what usually happens is that we project them
onto people we don’t like and have strong negative and judgmental feelings about.
Great films and stories are often creative containers for transforming dark and destructive traits and
urges into something noble and life affirming.