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The Value of Archetypes in Literature

            Archetypes are prevalent throughout literature similar to the way they have been since the beginning of time. There are countless numbers of myths, legends, and novels in the world today, however all pieces of literature have the same way of implementing archetypes. Similar images, characters, and symbols reappear in literature throughout different periods of time and represent different aspects of the change in human culture. Taking elements from The Odyssey and The Once and Future King, this pattern can be spotted. Although these masterpieces are from different authors with different styles of writing, the literary archetypes are strangely similar. The reason archetypes have continued to persist throughout the progression of time is so that readers can get a better understanding of a piece of literature in terms of human interaction, the conflicts in it, and relate to the characters.
             Odysseus from The Odyssey and King Arthur from The Once and Future King are the best character examples to use for the readers to identify and understand the repetitive appearance of the Hero's Journey archetype in literature. .
             One simple similarity is that both Odysseus and King Arthur would not have been able to complete their quest or " journey" without the help and aid of some guides in giving advice or direction. This phase of the Hero's Journey archetype is known as the supernatural aid for the hero. Odysseus gains help from Aeoles with the bag of winds, from Hermes with the ship, and from his sons to gain back the throne and his wife. "The adverse winds in leathern bags he braced, Compress'd their force, and lock'd each struggling blast. For him the mighty sire of gods assign'd " (Homer 279). Identical to every other journey of a hero, in any piece of literature, King Arthur from The Once and Future King also gains aid and advice from different guides throughout the novel. With the help of King Pellinore's "joust", Merlyn's various teachings and trials, and the dedication of the Knights of the Round Table, Arthur gets multiple steps closer to finishing his quest of hero and wanting to make Camelot the ideal settlement.

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