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The Wise Old Man Gandalf as Archetype in The Lord of the Rings by Jason Clarke 12998 In the very beginning of the first chapter of The Lord of the Rings a character is introduced as an old man driving a cart all alone He wore a tall pointed blue hat a long grey cloak and a silver scarf He had a long white beard and bushy eyebrows that stuck out beyond the brim of his hat Tolkien 1 45 This was Gandalf the wizard whose fame was due mostly to his skill with fire smokes and lights His real business was far more difficult and dangerous Tolkien I 46 As I re-read this passage in preparation for this essay I was struck by the unassuming way the character is introduced the intrigue inherent in the last part of the quotation particularly interested me the way the figure suddenly changes from a stock character-a wizard whose talents may be limited to fireworks-to someone with a secret life a hint of much more behind the grey cloak and the long white beard The text of this introduction is representative of the character of Gandalf himsel f entirely unassuming at first but suddenly hinting at an unknown fount of power and wisdom Gandalf a central character in JRR Tolkiens famous work is an example of an archetype as defined by Carl Jung To understand what an archetype is requires at least a brief explanation of Jungs method of psychological analysis Like Sigmund Freud Jung divides the mind into the conscious and unconscious The conscious mind or ego though this words definition is slightly different under Jung than Freud is of course all our active thoughts and actions the unconscious initially classified by Freud as merely the gathering place of forgotten and repressed contents Jung 3 is divided by Jung into the personal unconscious and the collective unconscious The personal unconscious is the superficial unconscious of Freud composed
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