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Archetypes in Text, Film and Song

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Emily Hubbard

on 8 July 2014

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Transcript of Archetypes in Text, Film and Song

The Archetypal Approach focuses on recurring figures, patterns, images and motifs that determine the form and function of literary pieces.

This approach can be extended to include film, music, myths, ads and the Bible.

There are universal symbols like:
What is it?
The Breakfast Club
The renowned coming of age film “The Breakfast Club” centers around five students, each from a different clique within their high school, sharing a common Saturday detention confined to their school’s library.
Uses stereotypes to better our understanding of archetypes
Involves themes such as rebellion, archetypal characters and one of the major archetypes, metamorphosis.
Meet the Club
Disney's Hercules
Hercules follows the major archetypes almost identically. It represents the golden age, the god-teacher, end of childhood, cataracts of heaven and metamorphosis.

Hercules plays the role of the hero. At the very start of Hercules' journey he was taken away from his parents as a infant and placed in the home of complete strangers. He follows a journey to gain back his powers and live with the Gods.

The satyr Phil (Philocetes) acts as Hercules mentor since he was responsible for training and preparing the hero for future trials.

Hades represents the devil figure because of his instilled hatred towards his brother, Zeus, ever since he was given the job to watch over the dead. This causes Hades to make it is personal goal to oppose Hercules (the hero) in every step along the way.

Meg is the damsel is distress. She ultimately distracts Hercules from achieving his goal by having to be saved.

Archetypes in Text, Film and Song
Archetypes are evident in different films, songs and stories, such as Hercules, The Breakfast Club, The Death of Koschei the Deathless and Picture by Kid Rock.
Major Archetypes
The Golden Age
-Hercules starts out with a narrator explaining the golden age with extraordinary heroes like Zeus, who defeated the evil Titians and brought the world from chaos to peace.

-The “good guys” are the gods and goddesses who on mount Olympus in the sky.
Hades who is the “bad guy” lives on the earth and in it.

-Zeus gives Hercules god-like gifts of survival that will help him live his life on earth even though Hades minions took most of his powers away.

-The point of the golden age is that god creates the perfect world, humans ruin it, then they strive to achieve that perfect world again. Hercules helps regain the golden age by becoming a true hero and fighting the bad deeds of Hades.
The God-Teacher

-offers the possibility of a golden age
-acts as role model

-responsible for training
End of Childhood/ Innocence

-Realization of evil

-When Zeus tells Hercules that he is actually a god and when he is taken as a a baby and turned part mortal.

-When Hercules is taken as a baby, turned mortal and a random family finds him.
Cataracts of Heaven
-Shows death and rebirth in nature and that Gods are the superior beings.

-Zeus explains to Hercules that only Gods can live on mount Olympus. Zeus also controls the weather, which is something that humans cannot achieve.

-Hercules’s girl meg (damsel in distress) dies under the control of Hades. All the evil in the movie can kill a human with just a snip of a string.
-Designed to provide humans with the feeling of freedom and power. This can be metaphorically or legitimately. It’s the need to a better life.

-Hercules lost his power when Meg was captured and still managed to save cities from the titans that were let loose by Hades.

-To show that you don’t need powers to be a hero. All you need is a heart and ambition.

The Death of Koschei the Deathless
“The Death of Koschei the Deathless” is a short story and Russian fairy tale collected by Alexander Afanasyev. The story is about Ivan Tsarevitch who defeats the evil and immortal Koschei to save the princess Marya Morevna. The common themes of good versus evil and the rescuing of a damsel in distress are central. The story follows the archetypal monomyth pattern and contains archetypal symbols and characters.
When going to visit his recently married sisters, Ivan Tsarevitch comes across Marya Morevna, a warrior princess who he marries. When Marya goes to war, she warns Ivan not to open the door to the dungeon of their palace. Despite her warning, Ivan opens the door and finds Koschei the Deathless in chains. Koschei asks Ivan to bring him water in twelve buckets (twelve being a significant number in the bible), but this gives Koschei back his strength and he escapes. Koschei then kidnaps Marya Morevna. This is Ivan’s call to adventure and the beginning of the monomyth plot pattern.
Ivan crosses the threshold out of his palace and leaves to chase Koschei. Ivan enters the belly of the whale as he catches up with Marya and her kidnapper. Ivan flees with her while Koschei is gone. However, Koschei’s magical horse warns him of Marya’s escape and he catches up with them. On Ivan’s third rescue attempt, Koschei cuts Ivan into pieces and puts the pieces into a barrel, which he throws into the sea.
The meeting with the goddess takes place when Ivan goes back to and is motivated by Marya after his rebirth. She tells him that Koschei’s horse is magical and Ivan needs to get one from the Baba Yaga in order to defeat Koschei. Marya gives him a handkerchief that will help him cross a river of fire to get to the house of the Baba Yaga. The fire is symbolic of danger and the crossing of the river over the bridge indicates a transition into the last part of Ivan’s journey. Baba Yaga is another character in “The Death of Koschei the Deathless” that is very common to Russian folklore. She is an archetypal crone and trickster. Baba Yaga tells Ivan to watch her horses for three days and tries to trick him, but he steals a horse, an animal that represents power, victory, and freedom. This part of Ivan’s journey is the last adventure in his road of trials.
It is also significant that the three brothers in law are one of a few things in this story that come in three, as the archetypal rule of three that suggests that things are more interesting and effective when they come in threes.
Supernatural aid comes from Ivan’s three brothers in law, who can shape shift into a falcon, an eagle, and a raven, respectively. Here, Ivan experiences an archetypal death and rebirth. His brothers in law sprinkle his body parts with water, which is a symbol of life. The types of bird that they can shape shift into are also significant, as the eagle represents strength and protection, the falcon represents healing, and the raven represents creation.
Ivan’s apotheosis occurs when goes back to Marya and rescues her once more. This time, when Koschei catches up with them, Ivan’s horse strikes him in the head, killing him. Ivan rides away with Marya and this is the ultimate boon. Ivan and Marya experience the magic flight back to their home on the magical horse. They cross the return threshold of their palace and they celebrate their freedom to live now that Koschei has been destroyed., completing the monomyth cycle
Although the “The Death of Koschei the Deathless” is not an especially well known fairytale and is from a very different part of the world, the universal themes of overcoming evil and the conquering power of love appear across cultures and geography.
At 7:06am Claire, John, Brian, Andrew and Allison file in for their Saturday detention.
They are to write an essay on who he or she thinks they are. They must not leave till 4pm.
All five students, undoubtedly with nothing in common, fight, argue and ignore one another as they desperately wait for 4pm to come.
The students wish to represent themselves in a certain way; most don’t convey who they really are.
Their personas are meant to hide their true selves from the outer world. Each teen represents themselves in a very specific way and plays a very specific role within the caste system of their school.
Although archetypes should not be mistaken for stereotypes the teens exemplify certain archetypal roles.
Is What You See Really
What You Get?
Allison: The Basket Case/Loner
Andrew: The Athlete/Jock
Brian: The Brain/Nerd
Claire: The Princess
John: The Criminal
Archetypal Characters
Allison- The Orphan/Every Person
Andrew- The Hero
Claire- The Innocent
Brian- The Sage
John- The Rebel
Themes: Rebellion
The characters are trapped within their stereotype, their households and more literally a library in which they are not allowed to leave. The library acts as a more physical representation of their problems.

Their principal, Mr. Vernon, a static character, acts as the antagonist throughout the film and represents the very thing that the teens each despise; authority, judgment and oppression.

By defying Mr. Vernon the teens are able to rebel in their own way.
Major Archetype
Refers to an overall transformation
The “change” or transformation can be physical, emotional, mental, spiritual or social
TBC conveys a metamorphosis of the characters on an emotional, social and mental level
John lives in an abusive household in which he tries to escape by creating a world for himself outside of the abuse.
Claire is shy and unwilling to reveal information about herself and her life. Her parents are financially well-off prompting her desire to be perfect.
Brian lacks confidence and he finds confidence and validation in academic praise.
Allison's parents are unconcerned with her well being. She is desperately lonely and tries to protect herself with strange behavior.
Andrew's life is not his own, but his fathers. His father is more concerned with Andrew's athletic career than with his state of mind.
Archetypes Found Within Songs
Iron Age:

last of the 4 stages of human race, characterized by danger, corruption and toil
Universal Archetype:

relates to situation happening all over the world

a couple goes through a tough downfall after splitting
male figure drinks away his memories and thoughts of her
finds it difficult to move on with her picture beside him
Picture -- Kid Rock & Sheryl Crow
Appearance vs. Reality
They unexpectedly meet and act as if they're doing just fine without one another, but in actuality it hurts to be apart from each other
The Fall
"Been fueling up on cocaine and whiskey, wish I had a good girl to miss me.
Lord I wonder if I'll ever change my ways"
Death and Rebirth

"I found your picture today,
I swear I'll change my ways
I just called to say I love you, come back home."
"Living my life in a slow hell,
Different girl every night at the hotel
I haven't seen the sun in three damn days"
Works Cited
The Breakfast Club. Dir. John Hughes. Perf. Molly Ringwald, Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy,
Anthony Michael Hall, Emilio Estevez. Universal Pictures, 1985.

"Kid Rock Ft .Sheryl Crow Picture Lyrics." YouTube. YouTube, 1 Aug. 2010. Web. 07 July 2014.
Hercules follows the major archetypes almost identically. It has the golden age, the god-teacher, end of childhood, cataracts of heaven and metamorphosis. Hopefully after seeing this presentation you can see how major archetypes are not only evident in Hercules but a lot of common movies that you watch also.
"Hercules - Original 1997 Trailer (Walt Disney)." YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 7 July 2014.
“The Baldwin Project: The Red Fairy Book by Andrew Lang.” The Baldwin Project: The Red Fairy Book by Andrew Lang. Yesterday's Classics, 2000-2012. Web. 07 July 2014.
Archetypes are common in your everyday routine through movies, songs posters and even people you see around you. Archetypes are evident in different films, songs and stories, such as Hercules, The Breakfast Club, The Death of Koschei the Deathless and Picture by Kid Rock.
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