Archetypal Characters

Topics: Odyssey, Odysseus, Archetype Pages: 2 (649 words) Published: June 2, 2012
Mythology P1
Archetypal Characters
As humans we make mistakes, but the real power is learning from our mistakes. Often we can learn from others mistakes that way we don’t have to feel the pain ourselves to understand why we shouldn’t do something or be a certain way. Also we can learn from history and past mistakes that lead them into bad times and disputes. From literature we learn morals and lessons through the characters position. “We live with our archetypes, but can we live in them?” rightly said by Poul Anderson. An archetype is a universally understood symbol or pattern of behavior. Homer is the author of two great epics in world literature. Some people also regard Homer to be a group of story tellers. Homer’s epic The Odyssey presents several archetypal characters that can offer lessons about human behavior, and we can especially see this idea when we look at the characters of Odysseus, Telemachus, Penelope, and Antinous. Odysseus’s character is an archetype for someone who has been away from home for a long time and is returning from war. Throughout his adventure, he faced many hardships that prove that he is an archetypal hero. Being an archetypal hero, Odysseus needs to possess three traits that hold considerable importance. Odysseus returns home after twenty years of wandering. His cunning mind helped the Greeks win the Trojan War. An example of his unique intelligence is when he and his crew were trapped inside the Cyclops cave. When asked his name by Polyphemus, Odysseus smartly replied: “Nobody–that’s my name.” He is a good example for the new generation when they live away from their parents or are in college and can’t return home until graduation. Odysseus also represents hubris when he tells Polyphemus his name, which cost him few more years of suffering. Telemachus’ character is an archetype for a person raised by a single parent who then needs a mentor to help him complete the rite of passage. Childhood is the most...
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