Women in Mythology

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In myths the classical hero is consistently male, but in underworld myths females tend to have a larger or primary role. Jung emphasized the importance of the women the hero encountered during his adventures: they represent the anima, or the female part of the male psyche. This figure is an opposite-sex archetype essential to the development of a complete and mature personality. Women in underworld myths are often portrayed as either “Mother Atonement”, a goddess or a temptress (189), although these are the main roles of women in underworld myths there are also women who portray a heroic role closer to that of a man. The first myth is the story of Psyche; Psyche loses her husband Cupid and must perform a series of tasks to win him back. The role of Psyche is similar to that of a male role in a traditional heroic archetype because she must complete a series of tasks in order to test her, and show her worthiness to Cupid. It is different because this myth does not contain each part of separation and departure, trials and victories or return. This story includes “the call to adventure”, which is when Psyche loses cupid, “the road of trials” where Psyche must complete her many tasks and “crossing the return threshold” where she wins Cupid’s love back. The role of the woman, Psyche, in this myth and in general is significant because she plays not as much of a hero role but has to endure the process that a hero would take, she also plays neither a seductress nor a Mother Atonement role in comparison to other mythological women such as the Lady of Tubber Tintye or the virgin goddess Diana. The second myth is The Prince of the Lonesome Isle. All of the women, minus one, in this particular myth play the roles of temptresses. The first thirteen women the hero comes across are the most beautiful women he has ever laid eyes on, each more beautiful than the previous, each continuously tempting the prince to stay but he leaves them nonetheless. The last woman in the myth,...
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