What are the most important aspects of the mythological and archetypal approaches? How are they related to the psychological approach?

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The archetypal approach to literature often includes the use of myth to explain the common images and life experiences of different cultures. For example, many cultures have creation stories that involve a god, frail humans, corruption, salvation and rebirth. According to the archetypal approach, there are so many of these stories because elements of spirituality are ingrained in our collective unconscious.

The archetypal approach favors Carl Jung's ideas on the collective unconscious, a big, cosmic reservoir of knowledge that often manifests in dreams, myths or other cultural symbols.

The psychoanalytic approach to literature champions Sigmund Freud's ideas on the unconscious mind, repressed sexual and other emotional needs that can often be uncovered by dream analysis.

So, the archetypal approach tends to explore the psychology of groups of people and the psychoanalytic typically deals with individuals. The archetypal approach is associated with Carl Jung and the psychoanalytic approach follows the ideas of Sigmund Freud. (Mythological approach.)

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The mythological and archetypal approaches assume there are certain symbols, motifs, and character types that transcend all cultures: these types and symbols are universal and, therefore, appear in the literature of all cultures. The mythological and archetypal approaches stand outside of history to isolate those strands in literature that seem independent of a particular culture. For example, a common myth or archetype would be the Cinderella story: all cultures, from the simplest to the advanced, tell some version of this same story, just as all cultures tell quest narratives and trickster narratives.

Psychological criticism, especially Freudianism, likewise argues that a universal unconscious which transcends any particular culture can be found encoded in literature. For example, since, according to Freud, all young boys experience an Oedipal crisis, we can find this encoded in the literature of different historic periods and cultures, for example, in both the Greek tragedy Oedipus Rex and, many centuries later, in the Shakespearean tragedy Hamlet. In contrast, Marxist theories of literature reject the mythic to interpret literature as reflecting the context of the particular culture that produced it.

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