Viewing the different archetypes, comparing two archetypes in two epics read this semester, as well as digging deeper into the Jezebel archetype has given me a new appreciation for this class as well as epic narratives and their respected archetypes.
Over the years, the Jezebel archetype has gone from negative to positive. At one time, the fact that women had to use their looks and sexuality to get what they want was frowned upon because it wasn’t morally correct. During those times, it was morally correct to use intelligence and wisdom to conquer whatever task that came one’s way. In contemporary literature, movies, etc, it is accepted to use their physical appearance and sexuality to get exactly what women want as well as to destroy those that are in their paths of getting to it.
To show how long archetypes have been around, I decided to take it all the way back to biblical times with the story of Samson and Delilah.
Using her powers of seduction and deception, Delilah persistently wore down Samson with her repeated requests, until he finally divulged the crucial information. Having taken the Nazirite vow at birth, Samson had been set apart to God. As part of that vow, his hair was never to be cut. When Samson told Delilah that his strength would leave him if a razor were to be used on his head, she cunningly crafted her plan with the Philistine rulers.
As interesting the epics that we have read in class are, I thought it would be a good idea to show how archetypal images are still being used in modern day movies.
Jennifer’s Body (2009) is a teenage horror movie about a teenager named Jennifer Check who becomes possessed by a flesh eating demon. Upon being bitten by her favorite rockstar, she begins to eat several of her male classmates including her best friend’s boyfriend who rejected her because he was involved with her best friend.
In The Epic of Gilgamesh, Ishtar, the goddess of fertility, war, love, and sex fulfills the archetype of the Jezebel. Ishtar attempts to seduce the hero of this epic, Gilgamesh, into being her husband to save his life, but he refuses.
“Listen to me while I tell the tale of your lovers. There was Tammuz, the lover of your youth, for him you decreed wailing, year after year. You loved the many-coloured roller, but still you struck and broke his wing […] You have loved the lion tremendous in strength: seven pits you dug for him, and seven. You have loved the stallion magnificent in battle, and for him you decreed the whip and spur and a thong […] You have loved the shepherd of the flock; he made meal-cake for you day after day, he killed kids for your sake. You struck and turned him into a wolf; now his own herd-boys chase him away, his own hounds worry his flanks.”
After his refusal, Ishtar becomes enraged and begs her father to have Gilgamesh and Enkidu killed.
“If you refuse to give me the Bull of Heaven, I will break in the doors of hell and smash the bolts; there will be confusion of people, those above with those from the lower depths. I shall bring up the dead to eat food like the living; and the hosts of the dead will outnumber the living.”
My name is Courtney Jay Reed. I am a junior English Major at Spelman College. I am also a student in Dr. Warner’s Myth and Epic Literature Class and this is my archetypal project page!
After reading several epics and exploring the many archetypal images found, I have decided to explore the Jezebel archetype. The reason I chose the archetype of the Jezebel is because here at Spelman we view the same type of woman all the time; the feminist overly intelligent woman. The Jezebel is the complete opposite. She is aware of her physical beauty and how it can help her advance in her area of choice.
Hope you all enjoy!