In particular, Toni Morrison uses the triple goddess to consider varieties of "male" and "female" thinking and to see how many roles an individual may wind up playing. The goddess we are concerned with in this Essay is many and yet one. She is a moon goddess, with triple aspects. Ths most common names she has traveled under are Artemis, Selene, and Hecate. The first clean linking in modern research seems to have been made by Edith Hamilton, widely regarded as the first lady of mythology, in her 1940 work Mythology. Hamilton wrote that Artemis is identified with Hecate in the later poets, and quotes a passage from one of them:
She is "the goddess with three forms," Selene in the sky, Artemis on earth, Hecate in the
lower world and in the world above when it is wrapped in darkness . . . . She was
associated with deeds of darkness, the Goddess of the Crossways, which were held to be
ghostly places of evil magic . . . . It is a strange transformation from the lovely huntress
flashing through the forest, from the moon making all beautiful with her light . . . (31,32)
We are interested in this figure because she recurs frequently in modern fiction by major writers, as Maiden, Mother, and Crone. In antiquity, Artemis was the virgin huntress, Selene was the fertile moon goddess, and Hecate was the dark Personification of lightless, forsaken night. So, within broad parameter, this classification is accurate. It wasn't always so. The Maiden, Mother, and Crone arrangement may have started with Macbeth, and a certain staging of the three witches on the moors...
... middle of paper ...
...tion of the trinity unbound by mortal flesh.
Although on one level the characters in Beloved are mortal women and not divine personifications, their presence in modern fiction is a profound indication of the enduring nature of the goddess story. People need these models, to show what is possible in life. Even murderous Sethe is a valid blueprint for a human life. Perhaps not the one we desire, but nonetheless, the Great Mother has her destructive aspect, and we would be fools to pretend she does not.
The Goddess endures, in all her complexity, and she is Toni Morrison’s Beloved.
Bettleheim, Bruno. The Uses of Enchantment. New York: Vintage Books, 1989.
Hamilton, Edith. Mythology. New York: Mentor, 1940.
Jung, Carl. Four Archetypes. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1959.
Morrison, Toni. Beloved. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1987.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Love is said to be one of the most desired things in life. People long for it, search for it, and crave it. It can come in the form of partners, friends, or just simply family. To some, love is something of a necessity in life, where some would rather turn a cold shoulder to it. Love can be the mixture of passion, need, lust, loyalty, and blood. Love can be extraordinary and breathtaking. Love being held so high can also be dangerous. Love can drive people to numerous mad things with it dangerously so full of craze and passion.... [tags: Love, Toni Morrison, Beloved,]
648 words (1.9 pages)
- As much as society does not want to admit, violence serves as a form of entertainment. In media today, violence typically has no meaning. Literature, movies, and music, saturated with violence, enter the homes of millions everyday. On the other hand, in Beloved, a novel by Toni Morrison, violence contributes greatly to the overall work. The story takes place during the age of the enslavement of African-Americans for rural labor in plantations. Sethe, the proud and noble protagonist, has suffered a great deal at the hand of schoolteacher.... [tags: Beloved, Toni Morrison]
675 words (1.9 pages)
- The Character of Beloved in Toni Morrison's Beloved Perhaps one of the most important issues in Toni Morrison's award-winning novel Beloved is Morrison's intentional diversity of possible interpretations. However the text is looked at and analyzed, it is the variety of these multiple meanings that confounds any simple interpretation and gives the novel the complexity. The debate rages on over many topics, but one issue of central and basic importance to the understanding of the novel is defining the different possibilities for interpreting the title character.... [tags: Toni Morrison Beloved Essays]
2498 words (7.1 pages)
- The Ghost of Beloved One of the most engaging arguments about Toni Morrison’s book Beloved is centered around the nature of the girl Beloved. The argument is whether Beloved is simply a young woman who herself had suffered the horrors of slavery, or the ghost of Sethe’s crawling already. baby girl. The evidence shows that Morrison intended Beloved to be the ghost of the crawling already. girl. It has been said that there are basically two reasons why ghosts walk: they have either unfinished business to attend to of have died a very violent death.... [tags: Toni Morrison Beloved Essays]
1501 words (4.3 pages)
- Style Analysis of Beloved In the 500 word passage reprinted below, from the fictional novel Beloved, Toni Morrison explains the pent-up anger and aggression of a man who is forced to keep a steady stance when in the presence of his white masters. She uses simple language to convey her message, yet it is forcefully projected. The tone is plaintively matter-of-fact; there is no dodging the issue or obscure allusions. Because of this, her work has an intensity unparalleled by more complex writing.... [tags: Toni Morrison Beloved Essays]
1106 words (3.2 pages)
- Rememory in Toni Morrison's Beloved To survive, one must depend on the acceptance and integration of what is past and what is present. In her novel Beloved, Toni Morrison carefully constructs events that parallel the way the human mind functions; this serves as a means by which the reader can understand the activity of memory. "Rememory" enables Sethe, the novel's protagonist, to reconstruct her past realities. The vividness that Sethe brings to every moment through recurring images characterizes her understanding of herself.... [tags: Toni Morrison Beloved Essays]
1241 words (3.5 pages)
- Memory in Toni Morrison's Beloved Memories are works of fiction, selective representations of experiences actual or imagined. They provide a framework for creating meaning in one's own life as well as in the lives of others. In Toni Morrison's novel Beloved, memory is a dangerous and debilitating faculty of human consciousness. Sethe endures the tyranny of the self imposed prison of memory. She expresses an insatiable obsession with her memories, with the past. Sethe is compelled to explore and explain an overwhelming sense of yearning, longing, thirst for something beyond herself, her daughter, her Beloved.... [tags: Toni Morrison Beloved memorybel]
803 words (2.3 pages)
- Analysis of Toni Morrison's Beloved Toni Morrison’s Pulitzer Prize winning book Beloved, is a historical novel that serves as a memorial for those who died during the perils of slavery. The novel serves as a voice that speaks for the silenced reality of slavery for both men and women. Morrison in this novel gives a voice to those who were denied one, in particular African American women. It is a novel that rediscovers the African American experience. The novel undermines the conventional idea of a story’s time scheme.... [tags: Beloved Toni Morrison Literature Essays]
4384 words (12.5 pages)
- Toni Morrison's Beloved: Not a Story to be Passed On Beloved, Toni Morrison's Nobel Prize winning novel, is a masterfully written book in which the characters must deal with a past that perpetually haunts them. This haunting, in the form of a twenty year old ghost named Beloved, not only stalks them in the spirit, but also in the flesh. Beloved, both in story and in character hides the truth in simple ways and convinces those involved that the past never leaves, it only becomes part of who they are. This contortion of truth does not allow any character to escape. Each one hides and runs from the brutality of slavery, yet cannot escape it's heritage. Set in the post-Civil War era of th... [tags: Toni Morrison Beloved Essays]
5443 words (15.6 pages)
- The Importance of Color in Toni Morrison's Beloved Toni Morrison's Beloved - a novel that addresses the cruelties that result from slavery. Morrison depicts the African American's quest for a new life while showing the difficult task of escaping the past. The African American simply wants to claim freedom and create a sense of community. In Beloved, the characters suffer not from slavery itself, but as a result of slavery - that is to say the pain occurs as they reconstruct themselves, their families, and their communities only "after the devastation of slavery" (Kubitschek 115). Throughout the novel, Morrison utilizes color as a symbolic tool to represent a free, safe, happy l... [tags: Toni Morrison Beloved Essays]
1890 words (5.4 pages)