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SITUATION ARCHETYPES (w/ examples)
Transcript of SITUATION ARCHETYPES (w/ examples)
This motif describes the search for someone or some talisman which, when found and brought back, will restore fertility to a wasted land, the desolation of which is mirrored by a leader’s illness and disability. Jessie L. Weston’s From Ritual to Romance traces one facet of this archetype through the quests of Gawain, Perceval, and Galahad for the Holy Grail. More contemporary examples are The Lion King, Excalibur, and Idylls of the King. 2. The Task
To save the kingdom, to win the fair lady, to identify himself so that he may resume his rightful position, the hero must perform some nearly superhuman deed. The task is NOT the same as the The Quest. It is a function of the ultimate goal, the restoration of fertility (Arthur pulls the sword from the stone, Grendel is slain by Beowulf, Frodo must arrive at Rivendale). 3. The Initiation
This usually takes the form of an initiation into adult life. The adolescent comes into maturity with new awareness and problems along with new hope for the community. This awakening is often the climax of the story. (Huckleberry Finn, Stephen Dedalus, King Arthur, the hobbits) 5. The Fall
This archetype describes a descent from a higher to a lower state of being. The experience involves a defilement and/or loss of innocence and bliss. The fall is often accompanied by expulsion from a kind of paradise as penalty for disobedience and moral transgression, e.g., Adam and Eve, Lancelot and Guinevere, Paradise Lost 4. The Journey
The journey sends the hero in search of some truth or information necessary to restore fertility to the kingdom. Usually the hero descends into a real or psychological hell and is forced to discover the blackest truths, quite often concerning his own faults. Once the hero is at his lowest point, he must accept personal responsibility to return to the world of the living. A second use of this pattern is the depiction of a limited number of travelers on a sea voyage, bus ride, or any other trip for the purpose of isolating them and using them as a microcosm of society, e.g. The Odyssey, The Canterbury Tales, The Aeneid, The Fellowship of the Rings. 6. Death and Rebirth
The most common of all situational archetypes, this motif grows out of the parallel between the cycle of nature and the cycle of life. Thus, morning and springtime represents birth, youth, or rebirth; evening and winter suggest old age and death. 7. Nature vs. a Mechanistic World
Nature is good while technology and society are often evil, e.g., Walden, Mad Max, and The Terminator. 11. The Magic Weapon
The weapon symbolizes the extraordinary quality of the hero because no one else can wield the weapon or use it to its full potential. It is usually given by a mentor figure (Excalibur, Odysseus’ bow, Thor’s hammer). 10. The Ritual
The ritual is the actual ceremony the initiate experiences that will mark his rite of passage into another state. The importance of ritual rites cannot be sufficiently stressed as they provide a clear sign post for the character’s role in society as well as our own position in the world, e.g., weddings, baptisms, and coronations. 9. The Unhealable Wound
This wound is either physical or psychological and cannot be fully healed. This wound also indicates the loss of innocence. These wounds always ache and often drive the sufferer to desperate measures, e.g., Frodo’s shoulder, Lancelot’s madness, Ahab’s wooden leg. 8. The Battle between Good and Evil
This archetype is obviously the battle between two primal forces. Mankind shows eternal optimism in the continual portrayal of good triumphing over evil despite great odds. Examples are the forces of Sauron and those of Middle Earth in The Lord of the Rings, Satan and God in Paradise Lost, any western, and most cartoons.