Thursday, 6 October 2016

Narrative Lecture Series: Archetypes and The Hero's Journey - The Sword in the Stone

Walt Disney's 1963 animated film "The Sword in the Stone" is a lighthearted comedy-musical, and another Hero's Journey film, from which can be seen solid character archetypes, despite not having a very large collection of characters. It follows the story of the hero, an orphaned young and timid (and unbeknown to him) future King of England, Arthur, through his journey from lowly squire to his brutish cousin, to being mentored by the brilliant but ludicrous Merlin, to the heir to the throne. 

The Hero of "The Sword in the Stone" is undeniably Arthur, although his character can be described as the reluctant hero, as Arthur has no initial want for glory or power, and has responsibilities thrust upon him by the wizard Merlin who sees/knows his potential as future king, and takes it upon himself to mentor and prepare the clueless and young king-to-be. Further, through the story, Arthur is conflicted between being tutored by Merlin and being a squire to his foster brother, Kay (later, Sir Kay), and shares multiple doubts in his ability to reach the expectations Merlin has for him. 
The wizard Merlin therefore is the Mentor archetype, taking Arthur in under his wing and declaring himself his tutor. Merlin also has a pet owl/ familiar, the crotchety Archemedes, who is the ally archetype, helping Arthur through many of his trials and in one case becoming the mentor. 

The Shadow archetype is Sir Ector, Arthurs foster father. While not being outwardly malevolent towards arthur, he is consistently uncaring towards him (often referring to Arthur as "Wart") and constantly disagrees with his involvement with merlin
Herald - Sir Pellinore
Threshold guardian - The Pike, The Wolf, Hawk and The Sword in the stone
trickster - Girl Squirrel, Madame Mim
As for the heros' family archetypes of "The Sword in the Stone", despite Arthur being orpahned, there are characters who clearly play these roles, as well as others. Merlin, as well as mentor, can be seen to be both Mother and Father figure to Arthur, as he...
However, Sir Ector can also be seen as a father figure to Arthur becasue of
The child archetype is Arthur himself, 
mother Merlin
father - Merlin and Sir Ector
child - Arthur
maiden - Possibly girl Squirrel? 

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