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Archetypes and The Odyssey

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Bret Davis

on 15 December 2014

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Transcript of Archetypes and The Odyssey

RL.9-10.3: Analyze how complex characters develop over the course of the text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme.

*Archetype characters--hero, villain, mentor, sidekick
* A character who aids or trains the hero

* Usually a wise old man or woman

* Represents the wiser and more godlike qualities within us.
The Mentor
The villain
* Typically heroes die and are reborn
--Sometimes this is a literal death (the hero stops breathing, etc.) and sometimes this is a symbolic death or a descent into the "underworld"

* Usually represents the hero's internal conflicts and greatest obstacle
--There is a focus on conflicts of fear, doubt, and distraction

* Inhabitants of the underworld are "dead" or "punished" metaphorically

* The hero grows stronger upon his or her return
Most epics feature an...
1. Unusual birth/prestigious origin (Important beginning)

2. Leaves to live with others

3. Has a special weapon only the hero can use

4. Has a helper
-Older, wiser person is a MENTOR
-Less capable person is SIDEKICK

5. Unique qualities

6. In pursuit of something of great value

The Tests
The AByss
Archetype---Images, characters, and symbols that reappear in storytelling throughout different times and cultures. They generally represent universal aspects of human experience.

Raise your hand if Archetype sounds like another word you know.
I can identify the elements of an Archetype in
The Odyssey's
and plot
(RL. 5)
What evidence exists in the following quote that suggests Odysseus is an epic hero?

"I am King Laertes' son, Odysseus.
Men hold me
formidable for guile (craftiness) in peace and war:
this fame has gone abroad to the sky's rim."
Pressed by the suitors, Penelope says she will marry the man who can string Odysseus's bow and shoot an arrow through twelve axhandle sockets.
"He picked one ready arrow from his table
where it lay bare: the rest were waiting still
in the quiver for [his] turn to come.
He nocked it, let it rest across the handgrip,
and drew the string and grooved butt of the arrow,
aiming from where he sat upon the stool.
Now flashed
arrow from twanging bow clean as a whistle
through every socket ring, and grazed not one,
to thud with heavy brazen head beyond."
Epic Hero
How do we see these qualities in a hero like Harry Potter?
...or Luke Skywalker
...Or Simba in "The Lion King"?
When Odysseus returns to his home, he disguises himself. Later he is visited by Athena.

"From the air she walked, taking the form of a tall woman, handsome and clever at her craft...There she said to him: Son of Laertes and the gods of old, Odysseus, dissemble (disguise yourself) to your son no longer now. The time has come: tell him how you together will bring doom on the suitors in the town. I shall not be far distant, for I myself desire battle."

What evidence suggests that Athena is a mentor to Odysseus?
* Person guilty/capable of crime or wickedness

* Represents problems humans want to eliminate
--Greed, Jealousy, Sloth (laziness), Revenge

* Opponent with whom the hero must struggle

* A negative force who breaks laws of nature or society
How is Cinderella's fairy godmother a mentor archetype?
How does Haymitch exemplify the mentor archetype in the following scene?
One popular archetype, The Journey, is often used to symbolize the trials we all encounter in life.
The word "odyssey" means journey.
How does the Joker break rules?
What problems might he represent?
How do other villains exhibit these qualities?
The Hero must perform some nearly superhuman deed to "win" love, position, his/her kingdom, or the safety of others.
How do these quotes illustrate underworld imagery?

“The eye of the sun can never/flash his rays through the dark and bring them light” (Book 11, lines 17-18)

“Three times I rushed toward her (Odysseus’ mother), desperate to hold her/three times she fluttered through my fingers, sifting away/like a shadow, dissolving like a dream” (lines 235-237)

“By god, I’d rather slave on earth for another man—some dirt-poor tenant farmer who scrapes to keep alive—than rule down here over all the breathless dead” (Achilles, lines 556-558)
What are stories, films, or myths where characters travel through an underworld?
Wesley and Buttercup ("The Princess Bride") fall in love after their "underworld" experience in The Fire Swamp.
What other task archetypes have you learned about from literature, film, and other media?
Explain what you know about each archetype and its purpose in epic storytelling. Students who were born in an even month answer the even prompts, students who were born in odd months answer the odd prompts.

1. The Epic Hero

2. The Mentor

3. The Sidekick

4. The Villain

5. The Calling

6. The Threshold

7. The Tests

8. Into the Abyss

9. Atonement

10. The Return

"O hear me lord, blue girdler of the islands, if I am thine indeed, and thou art father: Grant that Odysseus, raider of cities, never see his home: Laertes' son, I mean, who kept his hall on Ithaca. Should destiny intend that he shall see his roof again among his family in his father land, far be that day, and dark the years between. Let him lose all companions, and return under strange sail to bitter days at home."
The quote below was when Polyphemus, Poseidon's son, asks Poseidon to curse Odysseus.

Why might Poseidon be considered the villain of "The Odyssey"?
Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure a text, order events within it (e.g., parallel plots), and manipulate time (e.g., pacing, flashbacks) create such effects as mystery, tension, or surprise.

Hero Cycle--The Calling, Threshold, Tests, Abyss, Atonement, and Return
Analyze the representation of a subject or a key scene in two different artistic mediums, including what is emphasized or absent in each treatment (e.g., Auden’s “Musée des Beaux Arts” and Breughel’s Landscape with the Fall of Icarus).
* A character who assists the hero

* Usually a less capable character who might be goofy
or clutzy
--They ALWAYS provide the hero with something necessary
to complete the journey

* Provides comic relief.
The Sidekick
When Odysseus is on the island of Calypso, Zeus sends Hermes to her with a message.

"Then he instructed Hermes, his faithful son: ‘Since you are ever our messenger, Hermes, tell the nymph of the lovely tresses of our resolve, that enduring Odysseus shall return without help of gods or mortal men, but with great suffering he shall come, on a close-knit raft, on the twentieth day, to Scheria’s rich soil, the land of the Phaeacians, kin to the gods. They will honour him from the heart, as if he were divine, and send him on board ship to his native land, gifting him piles of gold, and bronze and garments, more than he could ever have won from Troy if he had reached home safely with his fair share of the spoils. This is the way he is fated to see his people again, his vaulted palace, and native isle.’"

What evidence suggests that Hermes is a sidekick to Zeus?
How is Donkey a sidekick archetype?
How does Haymitch exemplify the mentor archetype in the following scene?
invites the hero into the adventure
offers the hero the opportunity to face the unknown and gain something of physical or spiritual value
They may choose willingly to undertake the quest, or they may be dragged into it unwillingly
Often have a guide or a “helper” throughout the journey.

The Calling
The threshold
Is the "jumping off point" for the adventure.
Once past the threshold, however, the hero enters the unknown, a world filled with challenges and dangers.
The mentors and helpers can assist and point the way, but they cannot complete the journey for the hero.

What in this quote indicates Odysseus is "home"?
Dear nurse Eurycleia then followed what he’d said.
She brought fire and sulphur, so Odysseus
purged the house and yard completely. Eurycleia
went back through Odysseus’ splendid home to tell
the women what had happened and to order them
to reappear. They came out holding torches,
then gathered round Odysseus, embracing him.
They clasped and kissed his head, his hands, and shoulders,
in loving welcome. A sweet longing seized him
to sigh and weep, for in his heart he knew them all.

The Return

* The hero discovers their gift, which has been bestowed upon them based on their new level of skill and awareness.

The Atonement
* Are "at-one" with our new self.

* Incorporated the changes caused by the Journey and we are fully "reborn."

(Odysseus:) 'Keep your joy in your heart, old dame; stop, do not raise up the cry. It is not piety to glory so over slain men. These were destroyed by the doom of the gods and their own hard actions […].' (22.411-413)
After 20 years of trying to get home, what is Odysseus' gift going to be?
What journey is Odysseus on?

Where do you think the word "Odyssey" comes from?
Who was Luke Skywalkers'mentor and his sidekick?
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