English II Honors
27 April 2012
Archetypes on Much Ado about Nothing
Archetypes are defined as universally understood symbols, terms, or behaviors. They are often used in stories to define characters and influence the reader. In David Lindenfeld’s article, “Jungian Archetypes and the Discourse of History,” Carl Jung is accredited with saying that archetypes are like plastic sets of dispositions whose specific manifestations are shaped by culture and situation (217). In Much Ado about Nothing, three types of archetypes can be clearly seen. These are symbolic, characteristic, and situational.
Situational archetypes are archetypes that portray irony in certain situations. In Much Ado about Nothing, two examples of situational archetypes are clearly seen. These are the task and the ritual. The task is a goal that the characters are attempting to pursue at some point in the story. In act 2, scene 1, lines 375-380, Don Pedro generates the ultimate task of making Benedick and Beatrice fall in love with each other. Another task is presented by Claudio and Don Pedro, who are determined to make Hero fall in love with Claudio by allowing Don Pedro disguise as Claudio and win Hero’s love (1.1. 311-318). The last major is task is imposed by Don John, which is to break up the marriage of Claudio and Hero (2.2. 4-8).
The ritual is the actual ceremony that the initiate experiences that will mark his rite of passage into another state. In Much Ado about Nothing, four examples most clearly exemplify this archetype. One can be seen when Don Pedro and his friends arrive at Messina, a party is thrown in order to celebrate their arrival (1.1. 93). It can also be perceived when Claudio and Hero are marrying, so they attend a church in order to make the union official (4.1. 64-66). Another instance of a ritual is when Hero passes away she is given a funeral; in order to pay their respects (5.3. 94-95). The last main instance where a ritual can be...
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