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The Unconscious Heroe Essay

1168 words - 5 pages

Bram Stoker’s Dracula is a tale that sets its characters on a path of psychological turmoil and heroic satisfaction. The supernatural nature of the vampire as well as its seemingly human form allows one to analyze these characters as being archetypes of the personal unconscious for the human characters confronting them, particularly the shadow and the anima/animus as postulated by Carl Jung in his text Aion. Furthermore the purely human characters that encounter these vampires, and thus their own unconscious’, by doing so become themselves a hero archetype within their personal narrative as postulated by Joseph Campbell in his text The Hero with a Thousand Faces. This is made evident when comparing Jonathan Harker’s first self-motivated confrontation with Dracula in his sleeping chambers, in which Jonathan cannot vanquish the creature, with the episode in which Arthur Holmwood is successful in destroying the vampire Lucy Westerna. This essay will demonstrate how the interactions between human and vampire in the novel represent a heroic struggle between a person and their personal unconscious.

Carl Jung states “He must be convinced that he throws a very long shadow before he is willing to withdraw his emotionally-toned projections from their object.” (Jung 7) This sentence best describes the state of Jonathan Harker when he first goes to confront Dracula. Dracula is a projection of Jonathan’s shadow and gains power over him because of Jonathan’s ignorance to his own unconscious mind. The text demonstrates that Dracula is a psychological projection and therefore not real through the use of dehumanizing imagery such as referring to him as “filthy leech” (Stoker 83) and as “such a monster.” (84). Jung also notes that examining the shadows traits “reveals that they have an emotional nature” (Jung 7) he also notes “Emotion, incidentally, is not an activity of the individual but something that happens to him.” (7) As such, Dracula as a projection of Jonathan’s shadow can be demonstrated by observing his emotional state during the confrontation. Jonathan describes, “every sense in me revolted at the contact” (Stoker 83) and Consistent with Jung’s analysis of the shadow upon confronting Dracula, Jonathan is filled with a rush of irresolvable emotion. It is this same rush of emotions that causes Jonathan to describe a “desire to rid the world of such a monster.” (84) This is indicative of Jonathan’s innate desire to overcome this shadow, but to do so he must “recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real.” (Jung 7) This process is similar to the phase that Joseph Campbell describes in The Hero with a Thousand Faces of apotheosis. Campbell defines apotheosis as the phase in which the Hero archetype’s consciousness is expanded, the hero cannot complete his goal or what Campbell refers as “The Ultimate Boon” until apotheosis achieved. An excellent example of this is Luke Skywalker in The Empire Strikes Back. He cuts his...

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