Archetype Notes

A very old imaginative
pattern that appears in
literature across
cultures and is repeated
throughout the ages.
Two Famous Psychologists and
Their Theories
Sigmund Freud
“Personal Unconscious”
-VSCarl Jung
“Collective Unconscious”
Sigmund Freud, German Psychologist
 He hypothesized that
archetypes exist in the
personal unconscious,
which is based on
personal experiences.
 The personal
unconscious is individual,
not universal. It is
learned, not instinctive.
 This “Personal
Unconscious” theory by
Sigmund Freud claims
we are born into this
world as “clean slates.”
 This theory claims all
human behaviors are
“programmed” into us by
our environment (fairy
tales, nursery rhymes,
children’s games, etc. )
Carl Jung, Swiss Psychologist
 He believed that beneath an
individual’s unconscious, lies
the “collective unconscious”
of the human race.
 The “CU” has pre-existing
 The “CU” is not individual,
but universal; and is
instinctive, not learned.
 He believes human minds at
birth contain “inherent
predispositions” to perceive
in categories archetypes.
 In other words, Jung
believes that when a
newborn baby
smiles, its smile is a
universal, archetypal
behavior. When a
newborn baby
suckles, frowns,
cries--all of these
instinctive behaviors
are archetypal.
More archetypal Behaviors…
 In fact, most young
animals (including
humans) have an inborn
urge to relate to some
sort of mother figure.
 So, simple inborn, primal
instincts such as hunger,
reproduction, the need
for a mother-figure, and
anger are all part of the
wide range of behaviors
which fall within the
category of archetypal
Carl Jung Overview
 According to Carl Jung, we are born with
 Different cultures “dress them up and put
different clothes on them”…but the core image
and energy is the same archetypal images.
 Our daily life is experienced as archetypal
Personal Unconscious versus
Collective Unconscious
Sigmund Freud maintained the personal
unconscious is a personal experience that
has been forgotten or repressed.
Carl Jung maintained the collective
unconscious has never been conscious,
but is the part we share with all of
humanity: proof of its existence can be
found in the study of the similarity of
dreams, delusions, myths, religion,
stories, stereotypical ideas, etc.
Archetypes: Primary and Enduring
Patterns Basic to Literature
 These recurring patterns are found in
situation (plot). Ex. The battle between good
and evil.
 These recurring patterns are found in
characters. Ex. The hero or the damsel in
 These recurring patterns are found in
symbols. Ex. Light often symbolizes
goodness while darkness is often associated
with evil.
Archetypical Characters
 Damsel in distress- vulnerable woman who
needs to be rescued
 Outcast- banished from a social group
 Hero- mysterious/unusual birth
-returns to kingdom after
reaching manhood
-loses favor with the Gods
Five Elements of the Hero
 Quest: the hero quest which the archetype has set out
on; may not realize he/she is on such a quest until it is
too late to retreat
 Fear: usually the motivating factor for undergoing the
quest; also the principal danger that lurks in the
shadow of the archetype
 Dragon: represents the major problem/obstacle of the
quest; must be overcome for the quest to be
 Task: must accomplish in order to succeed at the
quest; failure can lead to becoming the dark shadow or
dark self
 Virtue: succeeding at the quest earns the hero these
rewards of self, such as the princess, the castle, etc.
Mentor-Pupil Relationship
The mentor
teaches the
initiate often
by example,
the skills
needed to
survive the
quest and rule
Loyal Retainers
 They are
somewhat like
 They are heroic
 Their duty is to
protect the hero.
 They reflect the
nobility of the
Star-Crossed Lovers
Two lovers whose
union ends sadly
or tragically in
the death of one
or both of them.
Ex. Romeo & Juliet
 Good vs. Evil
 The death of a hero
 Boy wins girl
 The quest or odyssey for something greater
 Dead and Rebirth
 Examples of Nature vs. Machines
A place where people never die
Hoarded treasure
Fountain of Youth
o Good triumphs over evil
Love conquers all adversity.
The past as a more perfect time
Never Give up!
 Forest- place where rules do not apply
 Heaven – allows character to see clearly/gain sight
 Garden – place of beauty, safety and restraint
 Caves/tunnels/underground- represents a journey into
the subconscious.
 Rivers- crossing a boundary or border, passing of time
 The Task- what the hero must perform
 The initiation- an experience which creates an
awakening or awareness.
 The unhealable Wound- either physical psychological
 The ritual- actual ceremony that marks the right of
Symbolic Archetypes
 Light/darkness- light suggests hope,
renewal, intellegence
- Darkness implies unknown, despair,
or ignorance
 Water/desert- water is necessary to life &
growth. Ex. Rebirth
-desert is associated with bareness
and death