What is archetypal criticism?the idea of carl jung. clear explaination. pls

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wannam's profile pic

wannam | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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Archetypal criticism as it applies to literature is a form of criticism "that interprets a text by focusing on recurring myths and archetypes." Rather than looking at the other aspects of the literary work itself, this type of criticism focuses on just the archetypes present. Archetypes are "an original model of a person, ideal example, or a prototype upon which others are copied, patterned, or emulated." With regards to literature, this usually refers to ancient models like those from myths. However, you asked specifically about Carl Jung who was a psychologist. In this case, archetypes are usually referring to a specific behavior exhibited by a certain type of person rather than a literary example. Archetypal criticism isn't often used as a form of literary criticism now days. It was most popular during the 50's and 60's; this would have been the later part of Jung's lifetime (actual his last remaining years since he died in the early 1960's). His work, along with other psychologist and philosophers created the ideas behind archetypal criticism.
olgasandorova's profile pic

olgasandorova | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

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Archetypal criticism is a form of criticism based on the psychology of Carl Jung. He argues that there are two levels of the unconscious: the personal and the archetypal.

Archetypes are the unknowable basic forms personified in recurring images, symbols, or patterns which may include motifs. These motifs can be recognizable character types such as the trickster or the hero, symbols such as the apple or snake, or images such as crucifixion.

Archetypal criticism argues that archetypes determine the form and function of literary works that a text's meaning is shaped by cultural and psychological myths. For example, for the myth critic Northrop Frye, an archetype is "a symbol, usually an image, which recurs often enough in literature to be recognizable as an element of one's literary experience." Frye elaborates taxonomy of modes, symbols, myths, and genres, establishing a complex and comprehensive correspondence between the basic genres -- comedy, romance, tragedy, and irony -- and the myths and archetypal patterns associated with the seasonal cycle of spring, summer, fall, and winter.


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