The Archetypes Of Humanity Essay Research Paper

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The Archetypes Of Humanity Essay, Research Paper Every culture of the world has its stories. Whether large or small, technologically developed or ancient, nomadic or settled, every population on Earth has a unique mythological tradition and special history. Despite the great variety that can be found among these tales, there are certain characteristics that repeat from story to story. Psychologist Carl Jung called these characteristics archetypes. Archetypes, he said, are universal, and that ?there are as many archetypes as there are typical situations in life? (Hall 42). All over the world, these archetypes appear in different forms (Campbell 51). ?Endless repetition has engraved these? into our psychic constitution? said Jung (Hall 42). Jung?s archetypes are biologically

rooted; they are an expression of the human body within the psyche. The human body, being identical all over the world, reflects inwards in the same fashion throughout. (Campbell 51) Specifically, three archetypes appear quite conspicuously in literature, mythology, and religion: the conflict between ambition and the sublime, the green man, and the quest of the hero. The conflict between the ambition and the sublime may involve two men, who, while superficially very similar, differ in their fundamental approach to life (Spivack iii). The green man is a nature expert who involves himself with the outdoors, with growth, regeneration and life. He is, in some situations, the ?fertility shaman? (Absher 21) who is a combination of the magic and birth archetypes found in many cultures

(Hall 42), though this is not always the case. A quest is the staple of the hero, and psychologically represents a renewal and rebirth, in which the hero leaves a culturally satisfactory, yet incomplete state, in search of something more meaningful (Richards 100). These three archetypes can be found in such diverse sources as the Bible, Aztec mythology, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the Faust and Merlin legends, Babylonian epics, and uncounted other texts. The nature of the conflict between the ambitious and the sublime is fundamental; they are intrinsically opposing, two sides of the same coin. The ambitious character seeks knowledge and power for his own personal gain and attains it by controlling and altering nature to suit his needs. He is the farmer, the city builder,

and the man who negotiates his duty. (Quinones 23) Perhaps the earliest example is Cain of the Old Testament, brother of Abel and son of Adam. Cain was a farmer and city builder, and the first murderer (Genesis 4). The act of farming is one that involves subduing the land, and taming it to the will of the farmer (Quinones 23). In this way Cain sought to control nature, to possess the power of nature. Even the name ?Cain? is Hebrew for ?to possess? (Achtemeier 149). Cain?s competition with his brother Abel is of the simplest nature: Who does God like better (Campbell 105)? Once it become clear that God prefers Abel, Cain uses the Machiavellian approach; that is, he eliminates the competition (Machiavelli 62). This is consistent with the ambitious nature of his existence as an

ambitious man. His sublime counterpart is Abel (Quinones 22), his brother. The sublime character trusts in God or nature, he exists within nature and takes advantage of the natural food supply by foraging, hunting, and herding animals. His usage of the natural food supply is characteristic of his trust in nature; food will be provided for him. (Absher 6) He is content with his position in the great scheme of the universe (Absher 21). Abel satisfies all of these requirements. Instead of farming as his brother does, Abel is a herder (Genesis 4). He exists in nature (Quinones 23), for when Cain murders him, the Earth cries out to God for revenge (Genesis 4). Since the nature of God is sublime (He is a power too vast for normal forms of life to comprehend [Campbell 222]), it is