Archetype essays

If we substitute for a frog a "Mr. Goodwill" or a "Mr. Prudence," and for the scorpion "Mr. Treachery" or "Mr. Two-Face," and make the river any river and substitute for "We're both Arabs . . ." "We're both men . ." we turn the fable [which illustrates human tendencies by using animals as illustrative examples] into an allegory [a narrative in which each character and action has symbolic meaning]. On the other hand, if we turn the frog into a father and the scorpion into a son (boatman and passenger) and we have the son say "We're both sons of God, aren't we?", then we have a parable (if a rather cynical one) about the wickedness of human nature and the sin of parricide. (22)

Finally, Frye proposes an anagogic phase wherein a symbol is treated as a monad. The anagogic level of medieval allegory treated a text as expressing the highest spiritual meaning. For example, Dante's Beatrice in the Divine Comedy would represent the bride of Christ. Frye makes the argument that not only is there a lateral connection of archetypes through intertextuality, but that there is a transcendent almost spiritual unity within the body of literature. Frye describes the anagogic in literature as "the imitation of infinite social action and infinite human thought, the mind of a man who is all men, the universal creative word which is all words."

Archetype essays

archetype essays


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