Mythic archetypes are not something people usually stop to think about and relate to while watching a movie, but when I was assigned to write this assignment and finally figured out what a mythic archetype was and did some research on some of the examples I was given I found one that I could easily point out in a movie, the Trickster. The movie I found that had a thematic significance connecting with the trickster was Pirates of the Caribbean, and the trickster being one of the main characters, Jack Sparrow.
The mythic archetype, the trickster is known to break the rules of the gods or nature, sometimes maliciously but usually with ultimately positive effects; though the trickster’s initial intentions may have been either positive or negative. Usually, tricksters can be sly or foolish or both; they are often funny even when considered sacred or performing important cultural tasks. All of these attributes can be seen in the character, Jack Sparrow. In the trilogy, Pirates of the Caribbean a young boy, Will Turner teams up with one of the most notoriously failed pirates, Captain Jack Sparrow, to find the love of his life, Elizabeth turner.
Throughout the movie there are many parts where Jack Sparrow can be connected to The Trickster, by conning many people into thinking things to get what he wants. One example of Jack Sparrow embodying the mythic archetype is when he lies to Will Turner, making him believe that he is the captain of one of the most notorious ships on the sea, when in reality he was marooned on an island by his crew, however he tricked the young boy into letting him out of his jail cell, and in return he would help him find the love of his life.
As I was researching more information on Captain Jack Sparrow and his trickster-like ways, I found that the character was indeed portrayed to be the mythic archetype, the trickster. According to screenwriters Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, “ There’s a certain moral ambiguity to the pirate genre which seemed perfect for the kind of trickster character you see in folklore all around the world… You’ve got the Jack tales, the Navajo Indian’s Coyote legends, the spider god from African Mythology. Shakespeare’s Puck is another.” (Hart)
As you can see, the thematic significance of a mythic archetype in the movie Pirates of the Caribbean is huge, Jack Sparrows character was essentially made to represent the mythic archetype, the trickster. Another reason I felt that Jack Sparrow’s character portrayed the trickster so much was that, the Greek deity, Hermes, is one of classical mythology’s examples of a trickster. From birth Hermes was known for playing tricks, by nighttime on his birthday he had stolen and hidden all of Apollo’s cattle.
And when Apollo encountered Hermes about he denied it. Finally after Hermes finally admitted it Apollo and him become friends, with a strong bond that could not be broken between the two of them. This story between reminds me of the friendship between Will Turner and Jack Sparrow in the movie. Throughout the movie and trilogy Jack Sparrow does many sly and trickster-like things that almost anyone would never forgive for yet Will Turner goes and bails him out.
Also, in the beginning of Hermes and Apollo’s friendship, Apollo was not to keen on Hermes but after hanging out and getting to know him he found him to be fun and one of his life long friends. This is also seen throughout the trilogy of Pirates of the Caribbean, at the end of the movies Jack and Will are together and past everything that had gone on between the two throughout the movie, they also seem to have a bond unbreakable like the Greek deities.
In conclusion, the thematic significance of the mythic archetype, the Trickster, in the movie Pirates of the Caribbean is of great significance, since the main role of Jack Sparrow was made to embody the mythic archetype. Many people don’t come to realize how much classical mythology plays in modern movies and everyday life, without us even knowing it, so next time I watch a movie and see a sly or conniving character ill wonder whether or not this character is purposefully portraying the Trickster, or if its something even the creators didn’t know what they were doing with this character.
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