What if we lived in a world without villains? How marvelous would that be? At least that’s how we imagine life would be – almost like heaven. Truth be told, it’s not how we like our storytelling. We want greater conflict and complexity. We crave the excitement of watching our heroes confront the most powerful villains. It’s how we come to know ourselves. If stories are metaphors for the human condition, then you can bet on us creating a villain for every season.
Swiss psychiatrist, Carl G. Jung, suggested that myths and fairytales are dreams drawn from our collective unconscious. He referred to the “archetypes” found in stories as the underlying patterns of personality shared by all humans. Each archetype performs a specific function in a story to further advance the narrative. Thus, the Hero is the central character in a story that embarks on a journey to resolve a particular conflict, while the Shadow is the villain or enemy the hero has to confront and defeat. This archetype also symbolizes the repressed feelings and emotions that the hero needs to overcome, if he is to be successful on his quest. [Read more…]