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Transcript of Hero Motifs
Hero Motifs Adapted from J. Richardson, Archetypes, AP English IV D.C. Clemmons 2001-2002Good v. EvilIn classic Hero Tales, there is an obvious battle between good and evil. Evil is generally oppressive, very powerful, ugly but tempting, and often promises peace at the expense of freedom, beauty, friendship or love, etc.
Light v. DarknessLight usually suggests hope, renewal, or intellectual illumination (learning or knowledge)Darkness usually implies the unknown, ignorance, or despair.
Fire v. IceThough sometimes a symbol for consuming evil, fire often represents knowledge, light, life, rebirth, and warmth (both physical and emotional).Ice often represents ignorance, darkness, sterility, death, and emotional coldness.
The Unhealable WoundThe Hero often suffers from a wound, either physical or psychological/emotional, that cannot ever be fully healed. It sometimes serves as a reminder of his weakness, and can be painful, guilt-provoking, and sometimes ultimately helpful.
Haven v. WildernessThe Hero often finds a place of shelter to regain his strength and resources, away from the Wilderness of danger, fear, and trial.
Nature v. Mechanistic WorldIn general, in Hero Tales, the more natural or organic something is, the better. Evil is often reflected in mechanical, industrial, or technological things.
Creature of NightmareThis monster is summoned from the deepest, darkest parts of the human mind or soul to threaten the life of the hero. It is often a perversion or desecration of the human body.
Devil FigureA representation of evil incarnate, he or she may offer worldly riches, fame, or knowledge to the Hero in exchange for his integrity or his soul. The Devil Figures main goal is to prevent the completion of the Quest.Often looks in some way attractive.
Evil Figure with the Ultimately Good HeartThis character spends most of the story evil, but is ultimately swayed in the end back to the good side. (In some variations, they may be good all along, but appear to be evil to everyone.)The evil character often redeems himself with some noble act of self-sacrifice that makes the completion of the Heros quest possible.He often doesnt survive.
Innate Wisdom v. Educated StupiditySome characters show wisdom intuitively even though they are uneducated and lowly, and are actually more wise than the smart people who are supposed to be in control.Children and working-class types often show this wisdom.This is not a call to be uneducated, but rather a call not to lose touch with intuition, childlike wonder, or tradition.