Are any of the iconic figures in the slide show to the left a mixture of heroic, villainous and foolish? (Pause the show with your cursor or finger. If you can’t figure out who’s who, go to the PROMOTIONS page for the answers.
In my opinion some of the icons in the slide show–and many who are not included in the show–are a mix. Why would this be? Well, many icons have been ‘debunked’ in modern life by journalists, biographers, and people “in the know.” For example, former hero and baseball legend Babe Ruth has lost esteem because insiders know he was a drunk and a wife beater. Ditto for John F. Kennedy who turned out to be a womanizer and an under-achieving president according to many historians.
Also, mixes result because some icons have spent portions of their lives being heroic, villainous and foolish , often ending up “fixed” at the stage they were in when they died. For instance, Malcolm Little started as The Child.* became The Villain as “Detroit Red” during his criminal days, and then segued into The Hero as Malcolm X. The names that some iconic figures choose for themselves along their personal journey are often telling: Malcolm chose X, entertainer M. L. Ciccone chose Madonna, and sex symbol Jayne Palmer/Hargitay/Cimber chose Mansfield.
Experts like Carl Jung consider heroes, villains and fools “archetypes.” According to Wikipedia, archetypes are “supposed to have been present in folklore and literature for thousands of years, including prehistoric artwork. The use of archetypes to illuminate personality and literature was advanced by Carl Jung early in the 20th century, who suggested the existence of universal content-less forms that channel experiences and emotions, resulting in recognizable and typical patterns of behavior with certain probable outcomes. Archetypes are [believed] to be important to both ancient mythology and modern narratives.”
*Iconic figures share a lot with archetypes. As pointed out in Wikipedia, “an archetype refers to a generic version of a personality. In this sense ‘mother figure’ may be considered an archetype and may be identified in various characters with otherwise distinct (non-generic) personalities.”
Common archetypes include The Child (a bit like a Fool), The Hero, The Great Mother or Goddess, The Wise old man, and The Trickster or Fox.