Date of Award
Benjamin G. Lockerd
Kathleen M. Blumreich
James L. Persoon
When addressing Paradise Lost, the reader is not encountering static characters but is interacting with and being acted upon by highly symbolic manifestations of the primitive condition of humanity‟s collective psyche. In dealing with the figures of Christianity‟s mythos, John Milton creates a text that stimulates the collective unconscious of the reader and draws out the primordial expressions of the self—archetypal manifestations. Subsequently, these manifestations are projected back onto the figures within the text and the reader engages in a dynamic relationship with the poem as both the reader and the figures of Adam and Eve experience the process of individuation alongside one another. Carl Jung‟s archetypal theory offers a comprehensive blend of psychology and cultural anthropology with which to observe the individuation process, a four-stage psychological journey that involves an encounter with three archetypal manifestations: the shadow, the anima(us), and the wise old man or great mother. Each of the predominant characters of the text act as an external projection of these internal psychological forms as the reader, along with Adam and Eve, encounters first the shadow in the form of Satan, next the anima(us) in the form of the contra-sexual other—Eve for Adam and Adam for Eve, and finally the wise old man or great mother who is simultaneously a representation of the self in the figure of the triune God. In the end, Adam and Eve achieve a state of individuated self-hood through the union of God with man, which is realized in the figure of the Christ. This image is the final manifestation of the reader‟s individuated self, a psychological state of internal and external harmony.
Kishbaugh, Geoffrey, "Becoming Self: A Jungian Approach to Paradise Lost" (2016). Masters Theses. 808.