Heroes, Legends and Superstitions

Topics: Hero, Joseph Campbell, American football Pages: 5 (1811 words) Published: May 10, 2007
Heroes, Legends, and Superstition

The ideology about heroes is that, a hero (male) or heroine (female) is an eminent character archetype that typically symbolizes key traits dignified in the originating culture. Heroes are common in every culture, not just in folkloristic societies. You can find heroes and anti-heroes in every society and culture. They may have different meanings in each culture but they are still present. A hero in one culture could be considered an anti-hero in the next one.

What was shown to be obvious about cultures in the readings is that a hero is prevalent in almost everything. As Joseph Campbell has shown in his work, The Hero with a Thousand Faces is that in cross-cultural studies of myths of ancient people all of the diverse stories that were told is that they are all telling the same small number of myths but in a slightly different language. This language meaning the different ways that these cultures have shown their myths. Our society today may not understand it and vise versa. With these myths Campbell found that there was an archetypal plot line within the myths which remained consistent from one culture to the next. Many of the ancient hero myths came up with a common factor for a plot line and the archetypal story.

"Campbell showed that the story always began with an Everyman just living his hum-drum life. Suddenly and unexpectedly, either by chance or by choice, Everyman is either pulled out of his ordinary life or chooses to leave his ordinary life to launch into a great adventure, whose ending he cannot know at the beginning.

The adventure, according to Campbell, then goes through several specified stages. The hero will journey into a dark world where he meets various forces or entities which he has to deal with. Along the way he encounters a teacher who gives him the instruction in new skills he will need to learn to successfully achieve his goal. No later than his part of the journey the hero becomes consciously aware of what that very specific goal is.

Striving for his goal, the hero is challenged to his limit, reaching a peak culminating experience, what Campbell calls a "supreme ordeal." The result is that the hero "gains his reward" and is forever changed by the experience. He often gains some new powers and sets off with them. Eventually the hero reemerges to his society with these new abilities bringing a boon to his society which somehow restores that society." (http://www.karmastrology.com/rek_hero.shtml)

The basis around this quote was for George Lucas' Star Wars saga. "Luke Skywalker was simply retelling of the worlds oldest myths for a new generation." (http://www.karmastrology.com/rek_hero.shtml) The journey that a hero must go through is and can be a vigorous and long passage. Whether it is Luke Skywalker, a football player of a New York policeman, they still have to work towards being this hero.

Adolph Bastian first projected the idea that myths from all over the world appear to be constructed from the same "elementary ideas." That is when Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist, named these elementary idea "archetypes," which he believed to be the building blocks not only of the unconscious mind, but of a collective unconscious. In other words, Jung believed that everyone in the world is born with the same basic subconscious model of what a "hero" is, or a "mentor" or a quest," and that's why people who don't even speak the same language can enjoy the same stories. Jung developed his idea of archetypes mostly as a way of finding meaning within the dreams and visions of the mentally ill." (http://www.jitterbug.com/origins/myth.html)

Campbell's involvement was to obtain this thought of archetypes and utilize it to plan out the common underlying structure behind religion and myth. Campbell summed up all of this by saying "All religions are true, but none are literal." That is, he concluded that all religions are really...
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