The myth is with us : Star Wars, Jung's archetypes, and the journey of the mythic hero

Botha, Jacqueline (2006-03)

Thesis (MPhil (Ancient Studies)--University of Stellenbosch, 2006.


This thesis explores the Star Wars films in terms of C.G. Jung's theories on the archetypes and the collective unconscious, particularly as described by Joseph Campbell in his discussion of the journey of the mythic hero. In Chapter 1 short definitions of relevant terms such as “myth,” “the collective unconscious” and “archetypes” are given. Chapter 2 is a short discussion of four Jungian archetypes relevant to the topic, namely the Shadow, Guide, Mother, and Father. Chapter 3 focuses on the archetype of the Self and the psychological process of individuation as described by Jung, and its relation to the mythic hero and his journey. In Chapter 4 Star Wars is analysed in terms of the theoretical framework set out in Chapters 1-3. Chapter 5 is the concluding chapter, in which certain conclusions are made pertaining to the mythic character and psychological function of Star Wars, i.e., that the films contain elements that are mythic in character and may therefore perform the same psychological functions as myth. It is also argued that the popularity of Star Wars can therefore be ascribed to the same psychological reasons as the popularity of myth. Some attention is also given to possible further areas of study in this field, such as the mythic character of some other popular phenomena (for example Harry Potter or The Lord of the Rings) and the function of myth and modern mythic equivalents as a community-shaping factor in people’s lives.

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