developed their own literature, passing it along orally from one
generation to the next. From the earliest times, people invented
myths that explained the origins of the world, legends about colorful
gods and heroic figures, and fables that instilled moral lessons.
In some cases, similar stories have sprung up in cultures in widely
different parts of the world and were told by traveling storytellers.
For example, the rags-to-riches story of a Cinderella type of
heroine has appeared in many ancient cultures, as has the legend
of a great flood that destroyed nearly everything in the world.
The universal symbolism of folk tales like these supports the
theory of archetypes developed by the Swiss psychologist and psychiatrist,
Carl Jung. He believed that in the collective unconscious of the
human race there are certain symbols or archetypes that hold the
same meanings for people of every place and time.
of archetype is (noun) An original model after which other similar
things are patterned. [Greek arkhetupos]
can see archetypes acted out over and over in movies you've viewed.
Think of your favorite movie with a hero. From Dorothy in the
Wizard of Oz to Will Turner in Pirates of the Caribbean,
the heroes ("sheroes") all are based on similar models.
Our heroes usually are not raised with their birth family, they
are on a "quest", they have a magical item in their
possession, etc. When you research other archetypes, you will
find they stick to a model as well which makes our favorite legends
and myths relative to each other.
There are many
types of archetypes besides heroes. Many of the modern day definitions
have veered from the original versions of Carl Jung to the more
worldly types we relate to today.
It is important that you not only recognize archetypes and their
purpose in literature for Advanced Placement English courses,
but also the use of symbols. Once you are familiar with their
usage by authors, you can begin to apply that knowledge to written
works with which you are not familiar. With this purpose in mind,
this webquest will first delve into the concept of archetypes,
look closer at the hero, target the epic hero, and finish with
the epic hero's journey. You may collaborate with a partner
while completing research, however, written responses must be
original for each student and turned individually.
finish this quest that focuses on the hero archetype from Medieval
and Modern tales, myths, legends, etc., you just might be able
to discover what came first, the dragon or Darth Vader!
way to move about these pages will be to click on the icons
at the bottom of the page. Occasionally you will need to go
back to a previous page, so you can use the side navigation
buttons at that point. Each page also includes" Need
help?" at the bottom of the page if you need to contact
There are some PDF files included in this webquest. Try to open
this - PDF.
If you did not see a rubric for writing, you need to download
the Acrobat viewer here -