Shopping Cart

No products in the cart.

The Hero’s Journey in Contemporary Literature/Fantasy

Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 32 total)
  • Author
  • #72486


    This is a wonderful list of women on their own “hero(ine)’s journey” in film and literature, Two years later, I’m curious if you have any recent roles or characters to add?


    Oh my! Never saw Zardoz, which was released while I was in high school.

    It definitely seemed both bizarre and risqué at the time, so I’m sure my very religious parents would never have let me see it, but – at least in my memory – I had no interest in catching this movie. Sean Connery was just coming off a decade of playing the suave, polished, playboy spy James Bond – the epitome of masculinity in the 1960s; by contrast, the character he played in Zardoz came off in previews and promotional materials as less masculine ( in his “hippie” wardrobe) and a bit silly.

    As I recall, the film was panned by critics, and even audiences leaving the theater after a showing would advise those waiting in line not to waste their money.

    Your revelation of “Zardoz” as a conscious contraction of “Wizard of Oz” is news to me; though I doubt it would have made any difference to me at the time, it does provide a lens within which to make sense of elements of the plot should I ever get around to watching it, though I’d say the chances of that are relatively slim.

    On the other hand, the well-reviewed musical, “Wicked,” is based on a 1995 “revisionist” novel of the same name by Gregory Maguire. I have not read any of Maguire’s sequels, nor seen the Broadway production, but the book is grounded in the mythology of this imaginal reality created by Frank L. Baum. The novel both expands on and challenges Baum’s vision – definitely worth the read, at least in my mind.


      Much more is known now and better explained by C.M.C. Green in Roman religion and the cult of Diana at Aricia. Frazer’s appproach was more ‘romantic’, and all scholars from that time up to WWII were framed in that view. Hard core science (relativity, quantum mechanics, electronics, &c) has surpassed this all. Comparative mythology, as explained by Campbell, is both somewhat romantic and solid science. Just like anthropology, archeology and more, there is just not so much ‘hard’ evidence anymore. The academic world demands this. But as mythology touches the middle layer (instinct – emotions – ratio), there is a tendency towards ‘other’ explanations other then ‘classic’ prooven facts.

      The A & A story is very educational towards young men. Let alone the greek pantheon wereoff one guy (Z) causes the vast majority of havoc and spill.


      Oh it’s weird and kinda campy – to be sure. It definitely reflects the late 60s drug and sex ethos – but then again, considering the nudity in Classical art, (not to mention the homosexuality, pedophilia, and slavery)  – one might judge the film as rather tame. Nonetheless, I think it’s highly underrated. I could see how it’s flashiness and novelty might overshadow the deeper qualities of it. It’s one of the few stories that believably speculates on the idea of immortality, and the creation of a Eutopia (including class-consciousness, human indifference to the suffering of others, and biological determinism, which have often been taboo subjects, despite their immense influence in society)… and how that Eutopia could stagnate and decline into a Dystopia.


      Favourites are Artemis’ encounter with Actaion (instead of the tale told the other way around)

      Who tells it the other way around?


      Thanks Mars, for pointing me to C.M.C. Green’s work (Roman Religion and the Cult of Diana at Aricia); though I do appreciate Frazer’s “romantic” approach, I’m looking forward to more solid scholarship on the subject.

      Good description of Campbell’s work – you capture the nuance well.


      Campy is do-able, and I have to admit there are more than a few films that fell flat for me decades ago that ring true today, so on that recommendation I’ll move this up my viewing list.

      Just need to get my hands on a supply of those 60s drugs first . . .




      The A & A story is very educational towards young men.

      JC described Acteaon’s bad end as being symbolic of him being unprepared to receive knowledge from the higher realms… which is cool. But perhaps you are hitting an important point too… maybe the story has a stronger element of “Watch your libido, boys, or the dogs of your passion might get you into trouble.”

      one guy (Z) causes the vast majority of havoc and spill.

      I resonate. I think it makes sense to approach mythology with the idea that these stories are being created and circulated at a time and place of honor culture… where men were probably more chauvinistic then they are now… So it would make sense that they create system of stories that revolve around an Alpha.




      On the other hand, the well-reviewed musical, “Wicked,” is based on a 1995 “revisionist” novel of the same name by Gregory Maguire.

      Revisionist… does it hate white people and men?

      I like progress, and I try to keep an open-mind (my family is Ukrainian, but I still appreciate a lot of Marx and Engel’s thoughts) but I’m not into anger, hatred, bitterness, deprecating others, violence, etc.


      Mars writes:

      one guy (Z) causes the vast majority of havoc and spill.”

      and androoshka responds

      I think it makes sense to approach these stories with the idea that these stories are being created and circulated at a time and place of honor culture, where, on average, men were more probably more chauvinistic then they were now… So it would make sense that they create system of stories that revolve around an Alpha.”

      I’m not so sure about that, androoshka. I suspect that dynamic is as present today as ever.

      So many masculine figures in positions of power today have been manifesting the Zeus archetype and indulging in bad behavior, most often in the form of sexual improprieties: Harvey Weinstein (who was so powerful that film stars, producers, agents, and others in Hollywood referred to him as “God,” apparently only partly tongue-in-cheek); the late Roger Ailes, who ruled at Fox News with an iron hand, pressed the female talent for sexual favors; Mark Hurd, the CEO of Hewlett-Packard, forced to step down over sexual harassment claims; former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who resigned before he could be impeached for harassing female employees (his predecessor, David Paterson, admitted to multiple affairs in office, and his predecessor, Elliot Spritzer, resigned in 2008, after his relationships with call girls were revealed); multiple other governors in both red and blue states; Jeff Zucker, who led CNN;

      . . . and then there’s Donald Trump, in a class all his own, accused of sexual conduct by 26 different women (and on record spending vast sums to keep two of them quiet – canceled checks over his signature admitted as evidence in court – and several currently in litigation).

      That’s only the tip of the iceberg. The differences between these individuals in terms of politics and religion vary greatly – but what they have in common is all occupy positions of power, and abused that power. (Note the havoc many Zeus wannabes create isn’t necessarily limited to the sexual arena; those were just the most immediate examples at hand).

      In the past, this has been written off as “boys will be boys,” with women often given the blame when these situations became public knowledge;  the difference today is that this behavior is being called out by those unwilling to remain victims – something Zeus didn’t have to contend with much.

      That’s the power of myth: those stories don’t address anomalies exclusive to a time and place in the long ago, but speak to the human condition. These archetypal mythological patterns are always humming along under the surface, still compelling human behavior today.


      So many masculine figures in positions of power today have been manifesting the Zeus archetype and indulging in bad behavior, most often in the form of sexual improprieties:

      Hi Stephen,

      Sorry for the long delay in my response. I haven’t had consistent internet access the last few weeks. But to respond to your post, I wouldn’t equate womanizing or sexual proclivity with “Honor Culture”. As far as my understanding of the subject goes, Honor Culture is more about not tolerating “insults”. Here’s a blurb from an Oxford site about it:

      “Honor” means different things to different people at different times. In modern societies, honor refers primarily to a form of social status that attaches to integrity and sound character. But honor has an older meaning still found among some groups today—a form of social status founded on the willingness and ability to use force. Honor in this second sense can result in two types of violence. The first occurs predominately between men (indeed, honor is often equated with masculinity). An honorable man will not hesitate to use physical force to combat any assault, theft, insult, or other attempt at subordination of himself or his group (family, gang, or nation). For honor, unlike the more stable value of dignity, can be won or lost. Honor rises and falls when one man (or group) publicly challenges the willingness of another to physically defend himself, his intimates, or his property and hence his right to be treated as an equal. To uphold his honor a man need not beat his opponent, but he must display a willingness to fight him. Cultures of honor (those in which actors compete for status based on physical force) are far from uniform, but work by anthropologists, historians, sociologists, criminologists, social psychologists, and others reveals several shared characteristics. One is that honor is a central source of status, which largely explains the apparently trivial causes of many violent conflicts: the issue is not really the taking of a few cents of change but whether one can person disrespect another publicly and get away with it. Honor cultures too are typically antipathetic to law and legal officials: a man must stand up for himself and not rely on others to do so. Traditional honor cultures tend, also, to be highly patriarchal, subordinating women and treating their sexuality as family property. In such cultures, a second type of honor violence may be found—men beating or even killing their female relatives for loss of chastity or other conduct that threatens male rule. These acts of violence committed in the name of family honor likely have a long history in human societies. Today, they are concentrated in predominately Muslim nations and among their emigrants to Western countries. In short, all honor cultures have high rates of violence principally among men; some also have high rates of violence by men against their female relatives.

      So yeah, there’s probably a correlation between male chauvinism, and perhaps female “conquests” (like you mentioned with Zeus), but I don’t think that’s the crux of Honor Culture – or it’s most significant elements and affects.

      I think it’s more about showing their community how well they live up to a code. In a perverted expression, I’m sure it was used to show others how “tough” or “superior” one is. “Macho macho maaaan!” (Although, I would venture  a guess that there was an honor code for females in a lot of places too, but it was different and probably revolve around chastity and obedience). In a humbler and more sustainable form, my guess is that the honor codes were used to show integrity and promote communal cohesion by expressing adherence to a social order… and they varied from time-to-time and place-to-place.

      So, back to my original argument… that we aren’t as into honor culture today. For evidence, I would site dueling (which happened in America up until around the Civil War). Two, “respectable” people fighting each other over a gesture or some words. Sure, that still happens. People get into fights and shoot each other in bars or parking lots, but it ain’t like the presidents are doing it anymore. There will always be thugs and brute violence – but it’s not accepted amongst suburban family men, or men in political power, or corporate executives and bankers. It’s socially taboo to do that… unless you are at the Oscars? IDK. LOL. Peace.



        Favourites are Artemis’ encounter with Actaion (instead of the tale told the other way around)

        Who tells it the other way around?

        In this story it’s Artemis’ viewpoint, not Actaions. Most other myths, if not almost all the others, men hunts the woman (plural). The rare other one are the stories of Iananna, the Sumer queen at the very brink of civilisation. As with Artemis, this points to a complete other perspective in the days of hunters and gatherers. It may have happened that in the course of time, during the build up of larger civilisations, more ‘masculine’ properties were favourable, and hence a shift towards ‘knights conquering the world’ (Sargon the Second, to name one), as a ‘mythologysation’ (somesort of english) of the man and the woman. All conquering civilisations are masculine, currently employing in eastern Europe as an example. And like Sargon’s empire, in due time, nothing will remain nor remembered.


        I can’t find any source telling the story, “the other way around” (where Artemis stumbles on Actaeon). If you have one, then please provide it.

        As far as the other “viewpoint”, if you find a myth about a girl bathing and then discovering a peeping-Tom, then also, please let us know (source is again appreciated). Thanks!

        Also, here are some alternate interpretations of the myth (with accompanying sources):

        • In Greek Mythology, Actaeon is widely thought to symbolize ritual human sacrifice in attempt to please a God or Goddess:[32] the dogs symbolize the sacrificers and Actaeon symbolizes the sacrifice.

          Actaeon may symbolize human curiosity or irreverence.[citation needed]

          The myth is seen by Jungian psychologist Wolfgang Giegerich as a symbol of spiritual transformation and/or enlightenment.[33]

          Actaeon often symbolizes a cuckold, as when he is turned into a stag, he becomes “horned”.[34] This is alluded to in Shakespeare’s Merry Wives, Robert Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy, and others.[35][36]

        • ACTAEON, son of Aristaeus and Autonoë, a famous Theban hero and hunter, trained by the centaur Cheiron. According to the story told by Ovid (Metam. iii. 131; see also Apollod iii. 4), having accidentally seen Artemis (Diana) on Mount Cithaeron while she was bathing, he was changed by her into a stag, and pursued and killed by his fifty hounds. His statue was often set up on rocks and mountains as a protection against excessive heat. The myth itself probably represents the destruction of vegetation during the fifty dog-days. Aeschylus and other tragic poets made use of the story, which was a favourite subject in ancient works of art. There is a well-known small marble group in the British Museum illustrative of the story.

        It looks like many people have interpreted the myth in many ways, and that JC falls in a “Jungian” camp.


        Also worth noting is the Family Tree of the Royal House of Thebes on that page. I’m interested in the source. Could Actaeon be a blue-blooded aristocrat? Are we praising the exploits of another elite from ancient history? I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the case… adds some more spice to this topic.. and tweaks my Marxist whiskers.

      Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 32 total)
      • The forum ‘Creative Mythology’ is closed to new topics and replies.