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Archetypes and Heroes: The Introduction (Continued Again) Feraco Myth to Science Fiction 16 September 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "Archetypes and Heroes: The Introduction (Continued Again) Feraco Myth to Science Fiction 16 September 2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 Archetypes and Heroes: The Introduction (Continued Again) Feraco Myth to Science Fiction 16 September 2009

2 Situations Within a Story  The following situations are common to most heroic legends, and usually appear in something approaching the following order  The first two roughly correspond to the Departure, the third and fourth to the Initiation, the fifth to the Road of Trials, and the final four to the Innermost Cave  That said, the order can shift, particularly when the storyteller modifies the archetypal structure  A Road followed by a Fall, followed by another Road and Fall before ending with a victory and returning home

3 The First Two Situational Archetypes  The Quest  What the hero must accomplish in order to restore peace, order, and normalcy to a troubled land  Usually a search for something – a talisman, for example  Often paired with the Journey, where the hero goes in search of some truth or revelation that will save his land  The Task  The nearly superhuman feat(s) the hero must perform in order to fulfill his quest

4 The Next Two Archetypes  The Initiation  For a younger hero, a moment of maturation; for a reluctant hero, a moment of commitment  An increased awareness of the problems, challenges, and stakes involved in what lies ahead  The Ritual  The actual ceremonies (training, departure, etc.) the initiated hero experiences that mark his rite of passage into a new world  Hardens the hero’s role within his society

5 The Next Two Archetypes  The Trials  The challenges a hero faces as he approaches his goal  The Fall  The descent from a higher state of being to a lower one  The corruption of values or drive – for younger heroes in particular, a loss of innocence, faith, or trust  The loss of comrades  Often a punishment for a transgression, not always on the hero’s part

6 The Big Archetype  Death and Rebirth  What came before (the hero prior to this point) no longer persists  What comes after (the hero post- transformation) proves key to victory  This motif mirrors the life cycle that dominates nature – young, strong and vigorous rising to power  Watch carefully to see when this takes place; winter indicates old age and death, whereas spring indicates renewal and youth

7 The Last Two Archetypes  Battle Between Good and Evil  While some contemporary stories enjoy blurring the line between the two, the pitting of these polar opposites is a very old trope – the clash of one primal force with another  Our insistence on uncompromised good triumphing over evil even against all odds – again, something that’s fading in a more cynical age – seems to paint a picture of humans as optimists  The Unhealable Wound  A loss – either physical or psychological – that cannot be resolved, at least not fully  This can either occur within the hero (physical, emotional, spiritual) or without (losing someone)

8 Some Common Characteristics  The hero must go on a journey, learn a lesson, change in some way, and return home  The hero is born and raised in a rural setting, somewhat at a remove from civilizations and greater society  The hero has mysterious origins, or his parents are lost at a young age, leaving him to be raised by relatives, a wise guardian, or even animals  The hero is special/unique; he may represent or embody his entire culture or nation  The hero is naïve, inexperienced, or reluctant  The hero encounters monsters – or monstrous men

9 Some Common Characteristics  The hero has a mentor – sometimes strange, usually wise, and not always human  The hero also often receives help from divine or supernatural forces, and enjoys the company of a guide or guides  The hero yearns for a beautiful woman – sometimes from afar, and at other times in close proximity  She can serve as a guide or an inspiration  The hero often crosses a body of water, travels across a great plain or pass, or traverses a bridge – all of which serve to unequivocally separate him from his past  The hero struggles for something valuable and important

10 Some Common Characteristics  The hero goes through a rite of passage or initiation, an event that marks a change to a more mature understanding of the world  The hero undergoes some type of ritual/ceremony after his initiation  The hero has a loyal band of companions (to whom he can give stirring speeches)  The hero engages in tests or contests of strength, skill, and will – physical and mental challenges that force him to draw on his endurance and resourcefulness while allowing him to show pride in his excellence  The hero suffers an unhealable wound; this is sometimes an emotional or spiritual wound from which the hero never completely recovers  The hero returns to the land of his birth in disguise or as an unknown

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