Sir. Gawain and the Green Knight - the Pearl Poet.

DW has put her mind into archetypes.  She is beginning to look at literature with a more attuned eye.  Today JV, AV, and DW sat for a discussion of the major 50 or so archetypes (looking to Western middle ages archetypes primarily).

We began the lesson with a discussion of symbols – math, science, business (logos), traffic, and alphabetic.

Moving from there to symbols in stories particularly in characters.

There are over 70 Youngian archetypes.  Some are rare in Western literary history.  Their titles may change over the centuries but their symbolism doesn’t.  Each archetype has a Light side and a Shadow side. In this list I have combined several and removed others.  This list is designed with a ten to 12 year-old’s understand of the world.

Addict (Barbarian, Glutton, Conspicuous Consumer, Gambler):  Struggle with will power and the absence of self-control.  Obvious examples in Greek mythology.

Advocate  (Defender, Legislator, Attorney, Environmentalist): Compassion in action, can have a hidden agenda.  Found more often in morality plays of this period.  (David, The Devil and Daniel Webster)

Artist (Weaver, Sculptor, Poet, Minstrel, Craftsman – weapon maker) or Athlete:  The intensity of their motivation is what makes this archetype. Either they are wise and see what others don’t observe or play the fool. Poets add the ability to find the essence of beauty and truth in humanity. This is not very common in western story. They bring a person to their true self through the story.   (David, Lady of Shallot, Gepetto, Starving Artist, Hare, Samson, Homer, Achilles, Peter)

Avenger (Avenging Angel, Savior, Messiah):  Working for the downtrodden and oppressed.  Often feeling that this is what God told them to do. In the “Light” version is often in Western writing rolled into the Knight.  (Hamlet)

Beggar/Orphan/Child (Homeless Person):  Someone without material resources.  Innocence is often a quality. Believing in folk stories for strength. Sometimes can communicate with animals. (Oliver Twist, Pauper in Prince and the Pauper, Moses, Peter Pan, Cupid, Cinderella, Snow White, Bambi, The Little Mermaid, Lazarus (the other one), Lassie, St. Francis, Pippi Longstocking, Alice, [note Merlin – child without a father]

Bully (Coward): Shows that the true inside of the person will come out. “Will you stand up to the challenge?”  (Giant in Jack the Giant Killer as the bully)

Destroyer (Barbarian, Mad Scientist, Killer): Intoxication by one’s ability to hurt (4 horsemen of the apocalypse)

Spy (Sleuth, Snoop, Investigator, Detective): Seek out knowledge and information to solve a quest. The “dark” version sells information and lie. (Sherlock Holmes)

Sidekick (Companion, Friend, Right Arm, Consort, Scribe, Secretary):  Loyal and unselfish. Betrayal is the worst thing for a sidekick. (Dr. Watson, Iago in Othello, Ezra, Joshua)

Servant (Indentured Servant):  Making ones self available to other willingly.  (Obadiah)

Slave: Complete absence of power and self-choice. (Monkeys in Oz)

Trickster (Shape-shifter, spell-caster):  Not very common in western literature.  Person who changes appearances for a variety of reasons.  Meld dream and waking states. (Wolf in Little Red Riding Hood, Fox and the Grapes)

Jester (Clown, the Fool, Court Jester, Dummy):  Making people laugh, Making people see things about themselves they don’t want to see. Crosses boundaries of social norms to speak to powerful people when others can not.  Presenting truth. (Don Quixote, the fool in King Lear, Sir Dagonet in King Arthur, “Coyote”)

Knight/Hunter/Soldier/Rescuer (Warrior, Liberator) – can become a Martyr:  Primarily associate with chivalry, courtly romance, protection of the princess, and going to battle for honorable causes.  Service and devotion to King and cause.  Loyalty and self-sacrifice are the knight great virtue.  (Knights of the Round Table, Joshua)

Martyr:  Both political and religious. Born from service and suffering. Suffering for the greater good. (Ghandi, Stephen and the saints)

Queen (Empress):  Representing power and authority in women.  Her court symbolizes her power. Is often portrayed as being sway-able. (Cleopatra, Mary (catholic),Guinevere, Snow-White)

King (Chief, nobles, ruler leader emperor):  Height of temporal male power and authority.  (Hamlet, Richard III, Priam)

Rebel (Anarchist, Revolutionary, Nonconformist, Pirate, Thief, Pickpocket):  Supports a group in breaking out of old tribal patterns and often fighting repressive systems. Sometimes just for self-gain.  (Jack of Jack and the Beanstalk, Peter Rabbit, Lucifer, Robin Hood, The Good Thief)

Tempter/Temptress – Don Juan, Seducer, Black Widow, Flirt, Enchantress:  Misusing power of attraction and pursuit to gain control of them.  In females it is often combined with killing the mate.  Not interested in looking for a mate. (Eve, Potpher’s Wife, true mermaids) “loathly lady”

Judge (Critic, Mediator, Arbitrator):  Balances Justice and compassion.  Provides constructive criticism. (Solomon)

Magician (Alchemist, Wizard, Inventor, Scientist):  Someone who produces results outside the ordinary rules of life. They can be a conduit to God or the Devil. (Merlin and Athena, sometimes Lucifer and Gabriel are examples)

Hermit/Scholar/Engineer/Guide/Mystic (Architect, builder, schemer):  Practical, earthy, hands-on knowledge, brings wisdom into a situation or give advantage to a person in need. (Nehemiah, Teresa of Avila, Hildegarde von Bingen)

Crone, Wise Woman/Guide, Priest (Guru, Evangelist, Preacher, Mentor, Tutor, Teacher):  Spiritual teacher, wisdom brought with age.  Student places implicit trust.  Religious expressions here have the official capacity to facilitate the making of spiritual vows. (Elijah/Elisha, Deborah, Eleazer (dark), John the Baptist)

Nurse/Healer (Counselor, Therapist): Serving others by helping them physically grow up or get better or spiritually heal. (Isaiah, Jesus)

The Lady:  Gracious, quite, obedient, pious, modest.

Maiden (Damsel, Princess):  On of the oldest female archetypes.  Beautiful, vulnerable, once rescued, she is taken care of lavishly.  Fear of going it alone.  Needs the Knight. “Damsel in distress” (Princess and the Pea, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, Cinderella)

Prince: Son of the ruler.  Often portrayed in modern settings as being innocent, explorer. Training to be king. (Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Beelzebub – meaning prince baal)

Mother  (Matriarch, Mother Nature, Mary in Medieval Literature):  Life-giver, source of nurturing and nourishment, patience, devotion.

Father (Patriarch, Progenitor):  Initiator of an event, people group. (Abraham, father God)


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