Archetype of Imagination with Examples

Introduction

Archetypes of imagination or imaginative archetypes are characters, things, and objectives that exist only in the human imagination. Some of them may be new, while some have generational histories. Human generations have handed them over to the next generations and this handing-over has removed their imaginary status. Some of them seem quite real, yet they are imaginary. Therefore, such archetypes are called archetypes of imagination. Sergei Prokofieff has used this phrase in his book Rudolf Steiner and the Founding of the New Mysteries in which he terms ‘Cosmic Imagination’ as ‘the Archetype of Imagination.’ Interestingly, he does not stretch it further.

Religious Imagination Archetype

Such archetypes of imagination are loosely based on religious figures, personas, or even deities having never existed in the real sense. Their titles, their physical structures, and even character traits exist only in human imaginations and have traveled cultures and generations through oral storytelling, folktales, or literary pieces. Such figures exist in every culture and invite social wrath or mob justice in case of critiques on/against them. They have achieved a certain sacred aura in different cultures. Some of the major examples of religious archetypes of imagination are as follows.

  1. Zeus and Apollo in Oedipus Rex by Sophocles
  2. God, Satan, and Lucifer in Paradise Lost by John Milton
  3. Beatrice, God, and some characters in Divine Comedy by Alighieri Dante

Literary Imagination Archetype

Literary archetypes are those archetypes that have traveled generations but stayed only in literary books, critiques, and references. Such archetypes include men, women, children, and even heroic figures or kings. Some of the best examples of literary archetypes are real, while some are purely imaginary, but even in the case of real archetypes, imagination has played its role in expanding, exaggerating, or belittling the roles and characters of those archetypes. Some of the best literary archetypes are as follows.

  1. Oedipus in Oedipus Rex by Sophocles
  2. Hamlet in Hamlet by William Shakespeare
  3. Macbeth in Macbeth by William Shakespeare
  4. King Lear in King Lear by William Shakespeare
  5. Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare

Incarnational Imagination Archetype

Incarnational archetypes are those that have become symbols of certain things. They are either evil incarnate or depict something that shows their obsession. Such archetypes are obsessive, which means that they are general characters but have become obsessed with something. Some of the major incarnational archetypes of imagination are as follows.

  1. Satan as he is obsessed with power and rule in Paradise Lost by John Milton
  2. Tess as she is obsessed with loving Angel Clear in Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
  3. Santiago is obsessed with catching a big fish in The Old Man and the Sea by Hemingway

Therapeutic Imagination Archetype

Such archetypes are not just used in literature but also in sociology and psychology. Some of them have entered the medical jargon. The interesting thing about these archetypes is that they are not characters but just signs, symbols, or situations that existed in imagination and have entered modern reality. They deal with the psyche, self, willpower, mania, phobia, etc. Now they exist side by side with human beings and are referred to as if they exist in reality. Some of the best therapeutic archetypes examples are as follows.

  1. John Bowlby and Attachment Theory (Makers of Modern Psychotherapy) by Jeremy Holmes
  2. Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb
  3. The Comfort Book Paperback by Matt Haig