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Archetypes in Literature

            Many of history's epics revolve around the classic struggle and journey of one man's destiny. Homer's Odysseus, King Arthur and his knights of the round table; this storyline has been classified as heroic symbolism with the defining action being character traits. These traits are better perceived by the human psyche as archetypes; Identified by psychologist Carl Jung as unconscious representation of an original model that is recognized universally; although just a prototype. .
             Archetypes provide a deep psychological structure for meaning and understanding that are actualized when brought to the conscious level by an archetypal image. Archetypal images are the center stone for archetypes and place a concrete value on the archetype itself. .
             The purpose of this paper is to explore Jung's archetype in society and culture based on the classic portrayal of a hero, by reviewing traditional literature and contemporary films, Jung's identification of an archetype and archetypal images can become understood. Archetypes can better be understood as a generic brand. By this the term "hero" becomes a generic form of characteristic traits and behaviors that are portrayed and universally accepted as "heroic." The concept of a hero is none other than an archetype, while the character himself, capable of producing a personality is the archetypal image. Archetypes, more than the archetypal image itself are crucial for any basic understanding of a narrative or symbol. Without the archetype a hero is simply a man struggling as means to an end. Jung regards this thought process as instinct derived from a previous collective experience that is inherited and found among an individual's unconscious. The heroic archetype is only one of the many archetypes that are regularly found within every culture in every era, up to present day. When the title hero is reared, almost instantly does the unconscious provide knowledge about a character we know absolutely nothing about.

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