Essay on The Quest: An Archetype in Various Cultural Myths

Essay on The Quest: An Archetype in Various Cultural Myths

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The Quest Archetype
When examining various cultural myths, one archetype keeps repeating—the image of the quest. This archetype functions with various different mythologies as a method of learning about the world, both its external features and what is inside the self. The quest comes from ancient origins and is found in Classical Western culture, but has been fine tuned through the generations. In its most modern interpretations, there are continuing elements of the age old myth, where extenuating circumstances or hubris, place the hero in turmoil and needing to find an answer. Having additional sexual charges, it is clear that through the quest, adulthood is not only reached but embraced. This answer represents a completeness of being, where the individual is exposed to the whole truth of the universe, unbiased by cultural fragmentations. Thus, the quest represents a crucial journey to be made in the search for enlightenment, a fact which is common across cultural borders. Along this journey, mistakes are made in part through the natural exhibition of hubris in which personal flaws are revealed, and the young figure must change his or her priorities, beliefs, or behaviors in order to transcend his current state and reach some form of enlightenment.
The archetype of the quest is an image engrained in numerous cultures around the world. Thus it must be rooted in our very psychology, stemming from some cognitive need to search for meaning. There is the reappearance of the constant quest for meaning to the external world and every day events in the work of Carl Jung (Stevens 37). According to Stevens, “the basic motive of human psychology is the quest for wholeness,” (Stevens 39).
Thus, the quest archetype provides the path to on...


... middle of paper ...


...o reach a sense of wholeness in that it presents the opportunity to adjust behavior and belief patterns to a more morally conscious state. Through learning from mistakes and misgivings, the individual finds truth.
Works Cited
Frye, Northrop. “The Archetypes of Literature.” The Kenyan Review. 13.1 (1951):92-110. Knapp, Bettina L. Archetype, Architecture and the Writer. IN:Indiana University Press, 1986. Payne, Robert. Hubris: A Study of Pride. New York:Harper Torchbook, 1960. Sillitoe, Paul, Bicker, Alan, & Pottier, Johan. Participating in
Development: Approaches in Indigenous Knowledge. London:Routledge,2002.
Slotkin, Richard. Regeneration Through Violence: The Mythology of the
American Frontier, 1600-1860. Norman, OK:University of Oklahoma Press,2000.
Stevens, Anthony. Archetype Revisited: An Updated Natural History of the
Self. London:Brunner-Routledge, 2002.

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