Critical Approach: Archetypal

Rebecca Quias - 2/18/14 - Ms. Shanklin - A1

Archetypal- an approach that pertains to certain topics/themes that are reoccurring in texts, mainly focused on certain character types or myths that portrayed through symbols, narrative, or images

Question: How does the text explain the inner conflict between sin and virtue in a man?

Text 1: Things Fall Apart

In Things Fall Apart, the reader follows after Okonkwo, a man who seeks power and wishes to be seen as "strong" amongst his fellow village people, however with this idea in mind and his hunger for strength getting stronger, it ultimately leads to his downfall.

Throughout the text, Okonkwo clearly shows that he has a much softer side, but tries so hard to bury it with his need for strength. A clear example of this being his attachment to Ikemefuna. Despite seeing Ikemefuna almost as a second son, Okonkwo's fear of being seen as weak gets the better of him and he joins the murder of Ikemefuna. He even goes as far as to deal the final blow himself.

An inner war is formed out of this, which slowly drives him to his own demise from the moment he is a respectable man in his tribe to have taken a shameful death by taking his own life. This clearly shows and internal conflict between the good man Okonkwo could've been, yet he lets his darker, more fearful side to control him thus he is brought to his fall

Text 2: Oedipus Rex

Oedipus Rex is an Athenian tragedy that tells the story of the king Oedipus and his fall from power. Before the events that take place in the play, Oedipus came to the throne through a heroic deed by saving Thebes from a Sphinx, a creature with the body of a lion, wings, and a head of a human. The Sphinx asked Oedipus a riddle to which Oedipus answered correctly. During his reign, he gains news that a murderer is within in his city walls from rumors that the past king of Thebes was murdered on the road. Fearing that he will lose his power as king, Oedipus hunts down the killer to realize in the end that he was the murderer the entire time.

Oedipus became blind with his need to stay in power, completely unaware of the crimes he had committed. Though in the end, he "repents" for his sins by sacrificing his sight and thus dying in the end.

Text 3: Macbeth

Macbeth has a perfect specimen of the inner struggle between sin and virtue in a man. Macbeth is promised power from a prophecy with 3 witches and out of this, Macbeth wishes to have his power right now. In order for this, Macbeth needs to murder the king and rise in power. However, during this, Macbeth has an internal war with his conscious. Macbeth knows what he is doing is wrong, also he fears for his life if he gets caught. This portrayed by hallucinations that Macbeth has such as the floating dagger before murdering the king and after killing Banquo, he claims to see his ghost. This obviously shows that the conflict has taken a toll on his own psyche itself.

Text 4: Saint Michael the Archangel fighting Satan by Luca Giordano

The painting shows prime symbols of sin and virtue, being Satan, who is the very lord of Hell and Archangel Micheal, who leads God's armies against Satan. It depicts the two fighting with Micheal stabbing Satan, which could represent the battle any person could have dealing with committing sinful acts or being virtuous and doing the right thing.

Text 5: Liberty Leading the People by Eugène Delacroix

This painting depicts the revolutionaries being led by a a symbol of liberty being personified by a strong woman. This could be seen almost as virtuous with Liberty being a symbol of an Angel, leading men against the confines of sin. Think as if this is the internal war a man must face when facing his fears or cravings to do something evil and being courageous to do the right thing.

Text 6: Rorschach from Watchmen

Rorschach is a man with a dark past, having faced many hardships in his childhood such as being beaten by bullies and having an abusive father, to the point where he must hide his disfigured face behind a mask. Yet despite this, he still shows a virtuous self by being a vigilante and looking past his need to punish those who have wronged him in order to deal justice in Manhattan. He is still struggling with his inner conflict, but is holding up very well.

Comment Stream