The Eye of Seeing Hero Story Archetypes

March 27, 2008

It was a quiet evening here in Dubai so I decided to head off to the local cinema to catch the latest Jessica Alba film – The Eye.  Given my interest in eyes, and the fair beauty of the main character, I thought it seemed a good film to watch.  It ended up being an OK film, kept my interest all the way through with only a couple of guffaws due to the plotline.  Typical US Hollywood Hero Movie plot though.

There has been a fair debate on other blogs (Dave, Patrick and Graham) recently about archetypes.  In the Hero Story plot of Joseph Campbell and popularised by Viogler, there were 7 main archetypes and this film had nearly all of them. 

Hero – obviously Jessica herself who goes through all the plotlines including the return
Herald – the surgery and her sister
Shadow – death and disbelief
Mentor – the donor
Threshold guardian – the unbelievers, the ghosts, the kids, lots of these as it’s Hollywood!
Shapeshifter – possibly Alicia but it was all fairly predictable – an attribute of the donor
Trickster – not much comedic talent or cutting the hero down to size in this film.

The blog posts are primarily referring to culturally elicited specific archetypes rather than the above archetypes that are more universal and do not actually need to relate to a person. 

The last comment in the film is the standard “seeing is believing but sometimes you need to believe in order to see” line.  It’s something that I have used in some of my presentations as well that in many instances, you need to trust a situation in order to be able to see the knowledge inherent in it.  A closed mind will not see anything, a cynic may only see what he wants to see, although at the other end of the scale, blind faith will accept everything.  Too often, we fail to open ourselves to the unexpected or to be able to listen to the subtle.  In these cases, you cannot see unless you are prepared to open the door and personally experience the situation.