Carl Jung's Use Of Archetypes In Beowulf

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Archetypal philosophy has been around for centuries and is used across numerous cultures. Carl Jung, a close colleague of Sigmund Freud, defined the word archetype as “a figure… that repeats itself in the course of history wherever creative fantasy is fully manifested.” Archetypes can come in various forms: characters, images, and situations. Although the author remains unknown, it is obvious that he or she uses many different forms of archetypes appear in the story. Throughout the tale of Beowulf, the author distinctly illustrates various characters which embody the personality traits, ideals, and actions which reflect those of the hero and outcast archetypal characters. The role of the hero is fulfilled by both Beowulf and Wiglaf. As for…show more content…
Initially, the warrior is considered a hero because of his mighty triumphs against Grendel and his mother. Later, Beowulf redefines himself as a hero due to his leadership skills while being the king. The story says that Beowulf was so respected and feared as a leader that all other countries would not even dare to threaten him. Finally, at the end of the poem, Beowulf again displays his greatness at the battle against the dragon. Once considering Beowulf’s accomplishments, it is clear that his life centered around his heroic deeds. Adjacent to the definition of a hero, Beowulf’s downfall was caused by his failures. Although Beowulf was able to kill the dragon, he unfortunately sustained a deadly wound which brought him to the end of his life. His death then led to the potential destruction of Geat society. The tale hints towards this tragic ending when Wiglaf expresses his fears for the future. Following Beowulf’s death, Wiglaf predicts that the devastated country will be attacked by the currently stronger countries surrounding them. The physical and emotional characteristics, self-identity, and tragic downfall are each aspects which label Beowulf as a mighty archetypal

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