"Not for a moment dare we succumb to the illusion that an archetype can be finally explained and disposed of. Even the best attempts at explanation are only more or less successful translations into another metaphorical language. (Indeed, language itself is only an image.) The most we can do is dream the myth onwards and give it a modern dress. And whatever explanation or interpretation does to it, we do to our own souls as well, with corresponding results for our own well-being. The archetype — let us never forget this — is a psychic organ present in all of us."
The Archetype as a Link with the Past ' Carl Jung, Collected Works
Carl Jung developed the concept of character archetypes as models of people, behaviors or personalities. Jung theorized that the psyche is composed of three parts: the ego, the personal unconscious and the collective unconscious.
Archetypes come from the realm of the collective unconscious. The collective unconscious is a sort of psychic pool which is common to all humanity; we draw from this pool, for example, when we create elements of our culture such as artwork, religious symbols, or folk tales. Since archetypes are from the unconscious, they can only be recognized by examining (by others, or thru thorough self-analysis) their manifestations thru behavior, art, myths, religions, or dreams.
Those archetypes that form the main structure of each individual's psyche are the self, the persona, the shadow, anima/animus, and the ego.
- Self is the union of conscious and unconscious in an individual.
- Persona (mask) is how we present ourselves in various situations and to various people.
- Shadow is the "dark side", the unconscious and often repressed drives, desires and instincts.
- Anima/Animus is the representation of the opposite gender in our subconscious. Our experiences with the other sex (parent, sibling, lover) get filed here as well.
- Ego is the "I", our representation of ourselves (which may or may not be how others perceive us).
Archetypes come into play in other forms as well.
- Figures include great mother, father, wise old man/woman, devil, god, hero, trickster.
- Events include birth, death, marriage, separation
- Motifs include creation, deluge, "deal with the devil", apocalypse
- Nature includes fire, ocean, river, mountain
- Themes include quest, journey, initiation, fall
- Symbols include mandala, animals (fish, owl), astronomical objects (moon, sun)
Take each of your characters and describe the 5 main structure archetypes for him/her. Pay particular attention to the shadow and the anima/animus. What is driving them? What are they repressing? How have their past relationships with the opposite sex (even if it has no bearing on the plot) affected their psyche?
Have you used any common symbols to give depth to your story? Is the main character particularly drawn to water, have a friend who is a "trickster", use a symbol which means something in particular? A star tattoo, a religious symbol on a wall, a particular color? What is the underlying archetypal theme in your story?
Jungian Outline, Clifton Snyder
Carl Jung Wikipedia
Holy Grail Of the Unconscious (NY Times)
Adjectives for the day: jactancy, jannock, jejune, jocose,