Sunday, November 21, 2010

Hylian Archetypes

According to Wikipedia, Archetypes are, according to Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, innate universal psychic dispositions that form the substrate from which the basic symbols or representations of unconscious experience emerge.

Translation: Archetypes are the way we feel about certain people and ideas of people.

Almost as if by design, Zelda seems to contain a lot of archetypal images: Namely all of them. I'm not sure where I'm going with this, but I thought I'd take a moment to point out some of the literary archetypes present in Zelda.

The Old Man: The Old Man in LoZ and the Old Men in AoL are just that, wise old men. All stories of this nature have the Old Man.

The Old Woman: She gets her most obvious play in LoZ, but the Old Woman appears again in AoL, Alttp, Majora's Mask, and Twilight Princess if I'm not mistaken.

The Damsel/Maiden: Princess Zelda of course. The Maiden makes a second appearance in Alttp as the other six maidens, all of which Link saves: "Because of you Link, I can escape from the clutches of the evil monsters! Thank you!" Other damsels of note include Malon, Marin, and Anju.

The Hero: Link is invariably the Hero. However, he's more than a hero. His recurring nature through time and space extends him into messiah territory. Everyone needs to be saved by Link, because he's the only one that can save them.

The Trickster: Ganondorf. He almost always uses deception and slight of hand tricks to attain the Triforce.

The Devil: Related to Ganondorf is his near-deified form, Ganon. Corrupted by his newfound power, he becomes more than a mere trickster. He becomes a supernatural beast.

Most characters in Zelda are some kind of archetypal image, and it's nice to think about. I sometimes think that the same character conceptions (in all literature) are being placed into scenarios again and again.

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