How are myths and archetypes examined to grasp the significance of twentieth century English writing? Explain. MEG 05
English Literature

How are myths and archetypes examined to grasp the significance of twentieth century English writing? Explain. MEG 05


The myth captures the essence of all Greek literature, including poetry, theatre, narrative, prose, and lyric. The Greek term ‘mythos,’ which simply means “story” However, by the fifth century B.C., the types of tales that have been retained from the very beginning of racial and collective memory of Greek culture were already disconnected from the lives of ordinary Greeks. Legends and stories that have been kept in racial memory via ceremonial reenactments on religious days, as well as through depictions in sculpture, pottery, temples , special inscriptions, shields, vases, sacred items, and other types of artefacts, such as toys.

Legends and stories that have been kept in racial memory via ceremonial reenactments on religious days, as well as through depictions in sculpture, pottery, temples , special inscriptions, shields, vases, sacred items, and other types of artefacts, such as toys.  In today’s world, there are many different views on what myths are for and what practical value they have in a society. All of these interpretations are ways of looking at the history and literature (oral and written) of non-European cultures such as African, native American, and Asian cultures, as well as the ancient Mediterranean through the eyes of the Euro-American nations which have ended up losing their own myths and faith in the religious cosmology of Christianity, as well as the ancient Mediterranean. In all of these approaches of deriving meaning from myths, a fundamental methodolgy is followed, according to which all stories are reduced to a symbolic manner of expressing a single concept. In this way, myths are viewed by moderns as narratives depicting a conflict between natural elements, or as symbols of a seasonal cycle, or the seasonal cycle of fertility and decay, or the seasonal cycle of desire, obstruction, fulfilment, partial satiation, or frustration, or as symbols of racial waves of migration of linguistic or religious communities, or as symbols of a clash of civilisations, among others. What ever theorising about myths may be in our time, ancient societies utilised myths to control the lives of individuals who had a strong emotional attachment to the gods, goddesses, heavenly beings, wonderful animals; heroes and kings; as well as their ancestors, who were depicted in myths.

A wide variety of interpretations are available for literature, and there are many distinct approaches to literature, one of which is the archetypal approach. The word “archetype” refers to a unique concept or pattern of something, from which others are inspired to create duplicates. Using an archetypal method, one may examine and analyse a book by considering the cultural patterns that have been implicated in it; these cultural traditions are centered on the mythology and rituals of a particular race, nationality, or social group.

In recent years, this kind of critical approach to a book has grown in popularity among literary critics. It is James George Frazer and Carl Gustav Jung who are regarded as the two most important experts who have made significant contributions to the development of the archetypal method. Frazer was a social anthropologist, and his work The Golden Bough is a study of magic, religion, and mythology of many races, all of which may be found in different cultures. Jung was a psychologist who was affiliated with Sigmund Freud. Jung’s idea of “collective consciousness” is a significant part of his work. A civilised man “unconsciously” retains the ideas, conceptions, and ideals of life treasured by his distant ancestors, according to Jung, and so ideas are embodied in a society’s or race’s mythology and ritualism. Myths have been incorporated into literary works by creative authors, and literary critics examine texts in search of “mythological patterns.” Archetypal criticism is the term used to describe this type of critical examination of a book. TS Eliot has utilised mythological motifs in his creative works, and “The Waste Land” is an excellent illustration of how he has done so. As a result, Northrop Frye’s article does not focus on any specific myth or legendary figure in a work; rather, he offers an examination of “mythical patterns” that have been employed by authors throughout history.

How are myths and archetypes examined to grasp the significance of twentieth century English writing? Explain. MEG 05

Archetypal critique is a broad word that encompasses a wide range of disciplines. Every step of the interpretation of a book is based on “a particular type of academic organisation,” and the efforts of numerous experts are put forth at every stage of the process. In order to “clean up” the text, an editor is required; a rhetorician examines the speed of the storey; a philologist examines the meaning of words; and a literary social historian investigates the development of mythologies and rituals Under the auspices of archetypal criticism, the efforts of all of these experts are brought together to analyse a single text. In the field of archetypal criticism, the work of a literary anthropologist is significant. In an archetypal study of Hamlet, an anthropologist traces the origins of the play back to the Hamlet tale recorded by Saxo, a thirteenth-century Danish historian, in his work Danes, Gesta Danorum, which means Danes, Gesta Danorum in English. His research also leads him to believe that nature tales, which were popular at the time of the Norman Conquest, were the inspiration for the play. As a result of archetypal critique, an anthropologist conducts a rudimentary investigation into the roots of Hamlet.

The Myth’s Four Phases are as follows:

Every myth seems to have a core importance, and the storey in a myth revolves on a character who may be a deity or a demi-god, a superhuman creature, or a legendary figure of some kind. According to Frazer and Jung, the centre character or core importance is the most essential element in the formation of a myth, and this is a viewpoint shared by a large number of authors. Frye divides myths into four types, which are as follows:

  • The phases of dawn, spring, and conception. There are tales that deal with the origin of a hero, his resuscitation and resurrection, as well as the overcoming of the forces of darkness and death, among other things. It is in this storey that subordinate figures like as the father and mother are first presented. Such stories are the prototypes of romance and rhapsodic poetry, as well as of lyric poetry.
  • The zenith, summer, and marriage or victory phases are all a part of the cycle. There are stories of apotheosis the action of being elevated to the status of a deity), of holy marriage, and of entering Paradise that are associated with this period. The partner and the bride are the two characters that serve as subordinates in these tales. Such stories are the prototypes of humour, pastoralism, and the idyll, among other things.
  • The sunset, autumn, and death phases are the third and last phases. These are the myths that deal with the downfall of a hero, the death of a deity, violent death, sacrifice, and the hero’s exile from the rest of society. The traitor and the siren are the characters who serve as subordinates. Tragic and elegiac myths are prototypes of tragedy and elegy, respectively.
  • Fourth, the period of darkness, cold, and desolation. There are myths that relate with the victory of these forces. For example, stories about flooding, the return of chaos, and the downfall of the hero are all instances of this period. The beast and the witches are the secondary characters in this story, and these tales serve as prototypes for satirical storytelling.

These are the four kinds of myths identified by Frye, and they may be found in a variety of various types of works produced by a variety of different authors. Indeed, they serve as the foundation for a plethora of outstanding works of literature.

A quest myth, which was believed to have evolved from the four kinds of myths listed above, is discussed by Northrop Frye in relation to the four categories of myths described above. The quest-myth is a kind of myth in which the hero is on a search for truth or anything else, and this type of tale appears in all faiths. When reading the last section of The Waste Land, the Messiah storey is revealed to be a quest myth for the Holy Grail (a Christian myth). In order to arrive at an acceptable reading of texts, archetypal critics must carefully analyse the myths included within the sacred books of all faiths. A critic may descend from an examination of mythic archetypes to conduct a study of genres, and from the study of genres, he can descend even farther to the explication of a work in terms of myth. The deductive technique of analysis is the term used to describe this kind of disagreement in criticism. In other words, the critic progresses from a general truth (a myth) to an explication of a specific truth (the truth of why a character acts in a certain way) in a piece of writing. In this manner, a critic may trace the development of a play, a song, or an epic back to its mythological origins. Moreover, according to Frye, virtually all genres in all of literature have sprung solely from the quest-myth. It is the responsibility of an archetypal critic to dismantle myths and determine the meaning and message of a piece of art.

IGNOU MA English IGNOU MEG Solved Assignment English Literature

Northrop Frye has proven the legitimacy of the archetypal approach to literary criticism, as well as its significance in the explication of a work, among the many methods to literary criticism. Criticism, like works of literature, is a creative endeavour, and an archetypal critic is one who finds the meaning of a text as well as the motivations of a character through investigation. There is no such thing as an autonomous human effort, therefore the job of an archetypal critic encompasses both formalistic critique (also known as structural criticism) and historical criticism. Both J.G. Frazer and Carl Gustav Jung brought new perspectives in archetypal or mythological criticism, and Frye has removed the barriers to a text’s enjoyment that previously existed. According to Frye, both the inductive approach and the techniques applied are useful instruments in the field of mythological criticism, and none can be used in isolation from the other. If one approach explains a text by deriving a general fact from a specific instance, the other method explains the text the opposite way around. Neither approach is complete without the other, and archetypal criticism would be incomplete if one is not used to its full potential. In literary criticism, the use of archetypal approaches to texts has helped to the development of a methodical and complete understanding of the subject matter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *