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Using Jung's Notion Of Archetypes And/Or Joseph Campbell's Notion Of A Mystic Journey Analyze And Compare Two Of The Following Films: "Batman Returns" And "Thelma And Louise"

2337 words - 9 pages

Jung had many beliefs about the psychology of humans. In particular was that of the archetype- the intuition of our persona, and its relationship to the collective unconscious. The collective unconscious can be defined by two elements- instincts and archetypes. Instincts, Jung advocates, determines our actions, and archetypes are unconscious and inherent forms of intuition. Shadow and persona are two of Jung’s most reconisable archetypes. Persona represents ‘the mask’ we show to society, and shadow is the part of us that is often ignored and repressed from our consciousness; consisting of strong desires, unacceptable impulses and loss of rationale, constituting to the ‘darker side’ of our personality. The idea of the archetype represents itself in many different forms, and in particular Hollywood film. Batman Returns, and Thelma and Louise for example use the ideologies of the shadow/persona archetype, the feminist archetype, as well as Jung’s theory of ‘the soul image- animus and anima’ to exemplify the character’s inner battles; and in many ways women’s battle against patriarchy.The shadow archetype, presents itself as we delve deeper into our personalities, digging up repressed anxieties, desires and dreams. Within the world of Batman, and in particular Batman Returns (Burton 1992), the characters are dealing with their own shadow side. Burton’s use of lighting and cinematography perfectly creates the oppressed and shadowed world of Gothem city; this is reminiscent of each character’s inner battle. The character of Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer), is believed to be a representation of the feminine archetype: she ‘kicks butt’ and seeks revenge, not only on Shreck- her murderer, but on society, and men in general. Embracing her sexuality, and rebelling against her former, repressed alter ego, Selina Kyle. Discarding all inhibitions, dressing attractively and ditching her glasses (as if her eyesight has improved) as well as freely expressing aggression. By embodying her shadow side, as Catwoman, Selina becomes an empowered and beautiful villainess:…Selina/Catwoman is avenging not only her wrongs, but also the injustices visited upon her entire gender. She uses her shadow side as a vehicle to combat her daylight persona of female inferiority and dependency, and so the Catwoman reflects the feminist equivalent of the more masculine-oriented, animus archetype. (Laccino 1998: 109-110)Back to Jung’s idea of the Feminine archetype, and societies view on women, we feel empathy for her vengeance, as well as sadness for her stability. The only really humane part of herself, Selina, is slowly dissipating. However, on stating this I firstly mean to rationalize the fact, that before she takes on her shadow identity of ‘Catwoman,’ Selina is the embodiment of a ‘weak’ and ‘repressed’ female character; objectified in a society dominated by men. Ironically...

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