I have to do a project on the avenger archetype. Do you know any well-known works if literature in which the avenger archetype is present?it can be any works of literature as long as it is...

I have to do a project on the avenger archetype. Do you know any well-known works if literature in which the avenger archetype is present?

it can be any works of literature as long as it is well-known, an explanation with your answer would be great too!, thank you so much!

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I'm actually going to suggest two types of avenger archetypes for you.  An archetype, of course, is a stereotype or model, a recognizable type of character.  The concept of an avenger is one who comes in (maybe even swoops in) to right a great wrong.  On the positive side, that avenger may come in to right a wrong and see that justice is upheld.  On the more devious side, that avenger may commit destructive acts in order to do the very same thing. 

With that in mind, consider Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird as a positive avenger.  He was asked (appointed, actually, by someone who knew he would do it) to defend a Black man in the South in a rape trial.  The evidence of his innocence is overwhelming, and Atticus defies all the customs and mores and traditions and prejudices and practices of the day to defend this innocent man, despite his color.  He is seeking to avenge Tom Robinson's name, reputation, and life in the face of overwhelming and unjustified prejudice. 

Consider Captain Ahab in Moby Dick as a negative avenger.  He wanted to kill and destroy Moby Dick, the white whale.  The white whale had been wreaking havoc in the sea, maiming or killing all who came in contact with him--including Ahab himself, of course, as he lost a leg to the beast.  Ahab pursuedthis whale single-mindedly, seeing him as the embodiment of evil and violence.  There is also an element of vengeance, but the acts of the monster whale were directed at many and his death would have benefited many. In the end, of course, more men are killed, including Ahab himself.

Hope that gives you start on your assignment. If you happen not to be too familiar with either character or story, I've included several enotes links below which might help. 

In both these cases, the avangers are not victorious; however, they pursued their just causes in single-minded attempts to right wrongs.

 

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