Symbolism in English Literature Essay

2447 Words Apr 7th, 2010 10 Pages
Archetypal figures present in Chaucer’s “The Miller’s Tale”
By José Luis Guerrero Cervantes

According to Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, an archetype is a symbolic formula that begins to work wherever there are no conscious ideas present. They are innate universal psychic dispositions that form the substrate from which the basic themes of human life emerge[1]. The archetype is experienced in projections, powerful affect images, symbols, moods, and behavior patterns such as rituals, ceremonials and love.

Jung[2] compared the archetype, the pre-formed tendency to create images, to a dry river bed. Rain gives form and direction to the flow, we name the river, but it is never a thing located in any place, it is a form but never the same,
…show more content…
In the unconscious part of men’s mind, it finds expression in a feminine inner personality. Anima, in contrast, is in the unconscious of women and it is expressed as a masculine inner personality. It can be identified as the totality of the unconscious feminine psychological qualities that a male possesses; or the masculine ones possessed by the female. The positive anima qualities of a man are tenderness, patience, consideration, kindness and compassion; then the negative anima qualities of a man are vanity, moodiness, bitchiness, and easily hurt feelings[7]. Jung believed anima development has four distinct levels, which he named Eve, Helen, Mary, and Sophia. Eve level is named for the Genesis account of Adam and Eve. It deals with the emergence of a male's object of desire, yet simultaneously generalizes all females as evil and powerless. This means that when an object of desires arises, the archetype shows an opposite behavior from that she had shown previously[8]. In the preliminary description of Alison, Chaucer describes Alison (with ecstasy and accuracy) this way:

She was a fair young wife, her body as slender As any weasel’s, and as soft and tender; She used to wear a girdle of striped silk; Her apron was as white as morning milk Over her loins, all gusseted and pleated. White was her smock; embroidery repeated Its pattern on the collar, front and back, Inside and out; it was of silk, and

Related Documents