Archetypal Criticism In Literature

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CHAPTER II Archetypal criticism
The roots of archetypal criticism

Archetypal criticism is a type of literary criticism that focuses on particular narrative patterns, archetypes, motifs, themes or characters that recur in a particular literary work or in literature in general.
Archetypal criticism has its basis in the application of concepts developed in psychoanalysis and in mythology to the study of literature. The main tendency of this approach to criticism resembles to the early conception of form in Western thought.
Collective unconscious lays beneath the personal conscious and personal unconscious. As Jung said, the collective unconscious is ‘‘a storehouse of knowledge, experiences, and images of the human race. It is a racial memory,
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Archetypal criticism is also concerned with how patterns of culture, beliefs, tradition, and inborn images affects literature. It renders the idea that certain symbols represent the same ideas no matter the place or time.
Writers use symbols in their works in order to strike readers’ unconscious. This kind of symbols recur often enough in literature to be recognizable as an element of one’s literary experience as a whole.
Archetypal criticism also deals with symbolism of nature and the cosmos. There must be universality in literature, anthropology, psychology.
It originated in the 1930s and 1940s, and continued to flourish in the 1950s and 1960s. Psychological and anthropological studies of the late 19th century and early 20th century lighted the beginning of this criticism. Information provided from the findings of past cultures influenced many prominent writers.
Moreover, authors used in their writings the idea of myths from the Greek and Roman
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To recognize the collective unconscious is to become self-actualised. The anima or animus is the archetype through which we can communicate with our collective unconsciousness. This archetype is responsible for the love in our lives.
The anima is represented by the female aspect present in the collective unconscious of every man and the animus represents the male aspect that exists in the collective unconscious of every woman.
The anima may appear as a witch, a young girl or even the earth mother, every time an intuitive or spontaneous character. The animus may be personified as a certain male, a sorcerer, a wise old man, every time a rational, logical character.
The self is the psychic centre or the soul of the individual. The whole archetypal system of the unconscious, the personality and individual’s ego make up the self. The self is symbolized by the circle, the cross or the mandala figures. The ego represents the conscious mind developed after birth. The shadow is the dark side of the ego, the evil that individuals are capable of, an amoral side, neither good nor bad, an animalist characteristic, and the part of us that we are not used to admit
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