The Use of Mythological Elements in "The Chronicles of Narnia" by C. S. Lewis


Master's Thesis, 2017
63 Pages, Grade: 1,8

Excerpt

Table of Contents

Introduction

PART ONE
Chapter One: Pevensies and the Monomyth
Chapter Two: Archetypes: Masks that Shape the Story

PART TWO
Lewis and the Myth of His Own

PART THREE
Aslan and the Christian Myth

Conclusion

Works Cited

Introduction

In his Letters to Children, Lewis portrays Narnia as a literary work in which a “hidden story” is disguised; a story that reveals itself only to those who read it (111). All of a sudden, numerous questions start to materialize in reader´s minds. Without any doubts, one of the most asked questions is whether The Chronicles of Narnia are about God and Christianity. After a little research, the answer begins to solve itself; partially, the events described in the story are, indeed, very similar to those portrayed in the Bible. However, looking only for signs connected with Christianity would not be enough to answer what Lewis meant by the statement. The Chronicles contain stories that are not all about God; the author included numerous allusions to literature of medieval times, Arthurian legends, hints on ancient mythologies, even critical insights into politics that secretly mocked the political situation of Lewis´s time. What is more, The Chronicles reveal a lot from his personal history; his early life, the consequences that led him to question his religious beliefs or memories of the World War II period.

Because Lewis was convinced that religion and fairy tales share a natural connection, it should be no surprise that the Chronicles contain supernatural creatures, talking animals or magicians. He thought that the fact that people created legends and myths was just one step closer to creation of religions. During one of his lectures at Oxford on Edmund Spenser and his The Faerie Queene he suggested, “Anywhere in this wood … you may hear angels singing – or come upon satyrs romping. What is more, the satyrs may lead you to the angels” (Spenser´s Images of Life 96). In the opening Chapters of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, a satyr, Greek mythology´s variant of Roman faun enters the story upon Lucy Pevensy´s first arrival to Narnia. And precisely, by the end of the Chronicles, Lucy, her siblings and other Narnians are led to the angels; after the end of Narnia, they all arrive to Lewis´s own version of Christian Heaven – the real Narnia.

Lewis was in his fifties when the Chronicles were published, but the idea of combining mythological and religious elements lingered in his mind way longer. Mr. Tumnus, the faun that Lucy meets right at the beginning, first entered his mind during his teenage years. In his essay called It all Began with a Picture, the author reveals that a faun with a friendly face and a red scarf around his neck “carrying an umbrella and parcels in a snowy wood” was the corner-stone for what would later become The Chronicles of Narnia (Of Other Worlds 42).

Initially, the books were not meant to have such obvious Christian features, but as Lewis humorously explains, “You must not believe all that authors tell you about how they write their books… When the story is finished, he has forgotten a good deal of what writing it was like” (qtd. in Fitzgerald 249). In fact, the statement explains why both Tumnus and Aslan, two completely different characters based on two opposite beliefs could both live in Narnia; a mixture of fairy tales, paganism and Christian gospels was a natural outcome of Lewis´s creative mind and his process of writing.

Besides the fact that Narnia is largely based on fantasy, the core of the story evolved from true events that happened to Lewis during the Second World War. Because London was constantly air raided, Lewis invited four children to his Oxford home to save them from the dangers of the war. Drawing on the story of children travelling to countryside, a new idea has formed in Lewis´s mind; an idea that would later become the initial chapter of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

Publishing a story that would combine religion and numerous kinds of mythology was not initially met with a positive feedback. Lewis´s Oxford colleague and the author of the Lord of the Rings trilogy J.R.R. Tolkien was perhaps the strongest opponent to what Lewis thought would be a good idea. After reading the first book of the Chronicles, he responded, “It really won´t do, you know! I mean to say – Nymphs and their Ways, the Love-life of a Faun. Doesn’t he know what he´s talking about?” (qtd. in Duriez 131). Luckily, Lewis had a different opinion. His view on combining different approaches “enables man to express the inexpressible” and that experiencing a myth is “not only grave but awe inspiring… it is as if something of great moment had been communicated to us” (qtd. in Kilby 81).

The Chronicles of Narnia attract not only children, but also readers past the childhood age group. The story that takes place within the seven books possesses something that is explained by Lewis´s favourite childhood author Robert Louis Stevenson as “nameless longings”. According to him, the stories, apart from containing realities of life, should provide the reader with something that makes them want more even after the book has come to its end (108).

The main aim of the thesis is to give some of the nameless longings a proper name. The first part is dedicated to analysis of the Chronicles on the basis of Joseph Campbell´s approach to mythology and C.G. Jung´s analysis of archetypes to demonstrate that Lewis´s way of combining different views into one story corresponds with Campbell’s theory of Monomyth.

The second part addresses Lewis´s own view on mythology and what makes a good myth in accordance with his checklist in An Experiment in Criticism. Additionally, the second part attempts to clarify that Lewis did not draw from the world´s mythology only; the story is also based on a collection of Narnia´s own myths that are passed down throughout its history.

The third and the final part of the thesis looks at the Chronicles from the point of view of the Christian myth and the idea that religious myths in general follow a common pattern of a saviour sacrificing himself for the believers in order to save the world from the evil. Furthermore, Lewis´s own views on religion and its influence on writing the Chronicles are discussed.

PART ONE Chapter One Pevensies and the Monomyth

The fantasy genre, admired by thousands of people all around the world, has always been considered one of thedominating genres of fiction. Designed by the creative minds of countless authors, the stories are able to unleash the minds of the readers and take them on journeys to supernatural worlds inhabited by mythical beings and ruled by ancient prophecies. The adventure is often mixed with danger that makes the ordinary human lives look dull and mundane.

The genre was always a source of great debates, questions and studies. One such prominent issue is what role mythology plays in creating a fantasy world (either in a film version or in a book). Among many famous philosophers and students of mythology such as Carl Jung or Heinrich Zimmer, a scholar and mythographer named Joseph Campbell plays an important role; his famous book entitled The Hero with a Thousand Faces reveals his lifelong research on the subject that he named the “monomyth” theory.

Campbell claims, that by comparing the myths and legends of many cultures across the world, a chain of common universal structures can be traced; a set of stages that are, in his opinion, possible to find in many other works of art from fairy tales, fantasy literature, romantic comedies to horrors. “A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man“ (30).

The main aim of the chapter is to analyse the monomyth theory one stage after another and subsequently identify the particular stages in The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis and connect the instances from the novels to Campbell´s studies.

Heroes live in a world that is often considered ordinary and uneventful. By other inhabitants, heroes are often described as strange and misunderstood castaways and their behaviour seems to be unnatural and out-of-place. Because they are disliked and ´tossed aside´ by the others, it allows audience to commiserate and sometimes even identify with them before the plot starts to take a serious direction and the journey begins. Readers are most likely to experience the journey through the eyes of the hero; they open up by expressing their problems, showing their flaws but also unique skills.

The events of the Ordinary World are always violated by a fundamental problem that keeps the story in progress, makes the plot interesting and causes the hero to ´hit the road´ and begin the journey that will change their life. They are forced to solve the problem by entering the Supernatural World, win the fight against the evil and restore a balance that will bring peace once and for all.

In The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, identifying the main hero is not difficult at all, because Lewis does not keep it a secret and introduces them in the very first sentence of chapter one; what is more, he even informs the readers about their situation only a few words into the initial chapter. “Once there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy. This story is about something that happened to them when they were sent away from London during the war because of the air-raids. They were sent to the house of an old Professor who lived in the heart of the country, ten miles from the nearest railway station and two miles from the nearest post office” (111). From the description provided, it is obvious that the four are a kind of “castaways” sent away from home, even if it is for their own good. Imagining how it must have felt like, a reader creates a certain level of empathy almost instantly.

The siblings end up in an unknown place with nothing special to do and keep themselves entertained while the war is in full swing. According to Campbell, this stage of the Ordinary World is called “the world of common day” which the Professor´s house is an accurate representation of (30). There is not really anything to do and even the gloomy and rainy weather prevents tem to explore and find anything interesting: “Of course it would be raining!”(Lewis 112) . The story has slowed and the ascending boredom of the four children creates a tension and a need for a more eventful plot; the next stage, the Call to Adventure is ´just around the corner´.

To begin their adventure, heroes have to be called away from the Ordinary World. In other words, it is necessary for the Ordinary World to be disrupted in order to set the story in motion. Heroes must leave their typical environment, sometimes they are reluctant to take the risk and accept their destiny; a hero may need a succession of multiple calls before finally realizing that there is no other way but to accept. Usually, it is some kind of event that starts their journey, a danger, finding a magical object, or sometimes it is just by an accident that heroes take on their path; “A blunder – apparently the merest chance – reveals the unsuspected world and the individual is drawn into a relationship with forces that are not rightly understood” (Campbell 51). The newly found world appears to be a complete opposite of the one they are used to. Campbell claims that the new world is a “fateful region of both treasure and danger…a distant land, a forest, a kingdom underground, beneath the waves, or above the sky, a secret island, lofty mountaintop, or profound dream state…a place of strangely fluid and polymorphous beings, unimaginable torments, superhuman deeds, an impossible delight” (58).

Since the gloomy weather of English countryside prevents them from playing in the garden, the Pevensie siblings decide to explore the old mansion in order to lighten their spirits. They go one room after another, trying to find something interesting. At the end of one hallway, there is an empty room; only it is not really empty. “And shortly after they looked into a room that was quite empty except for one big wardrobe; the sort that has a looking glass in the door” (Lewis 113). Everyone else decides to leave, except for Lucy. There is something that catches her attention and draws her to explore the inside of the wardrobe. She opens it and steps inside, trying to move among the old coats. Soon she finds another row of coats and after a little while she notices something cold under her feet. What she does not expect is to find herself in a whole new world in the middle of the woods at the night-time. Her child-like curiosity keeps her from feeling afraid and pushes her to explore even more. She walks a bit more and finds a lamppost and runs into a faun[1] with an umbrella carrying parcels. He introduces himself as Mr. Tumnus and when he realises that she is a “daughter of Eve”, he invites her to his home for a tea, where he tells her stories about Narnia, explains how the White Which took over his land and made it winter eternally without Christmas. What Lucy does not recognise is the faun´s secret plan to kidnap her. Fortunately, he has a change of hearts and helps her go back to the lamppost and back home (Ibid.115-117).

Vogler describes the Call to Adventure as an event that is necessary to “get the story rolling” (56). Lucy´s discovery of Narnia serves as an evidence for his statement. By meeting Mr. Tumnus she is introduced to not only beauty and wonders, but also to cruelties that are unmistakeable part of the newly found world. The faun´s secret plan to kidnap the girl serves as an alert for readers that there is a dark side to Narnia, too.

Lucy, the youngest of the four, is not the only one who discovers the land on the other side of the wardrobe. Edmund steps in, too and unaware of the fact that he is ´making friends with the evil´, gives information about his siblings to the White Witch in exchange for a desert. His encounter with the Witch reveals his inner problems; his search for belonging. The Witch´s offer to make him a Prince of Narnia is attractive for him, because it makes him feel special. On the other hand, it sets him apart from his siblings, and that is the price he is ready to pay on his quest for self-autonomy.

Lewis sets Lucy to the role of the main hero of the story. She is the one who receives the call first. Unlike her siblings that are not willing to believe her stories about the other world in the wardrobe, she has the ´magical´ child-like quality, just like the rest of Narnia does; that is what allows her to enter and find the good in Mr. Tumnus. Her own curiosity and a total belief that there is something other than the world of humans lead her to want to return back to Narnia.

When there is a challenge imposed for the heroes, their fears and insecurities usually keep them from accepting it immediately. They are not willing to make any changes with their lives; they refuse to accept the fact that they are special, even that they are the only possible chance for saving the world from evil. They would prefer to stay in the comfort of their home in the Ordinary World.

The refusal of the imposed challenge is an essential stage of every myth; it becomes a kind of a crossroads that predicts how the story will continue. The heroes face a choice to either stay at home and refuse the call and lead the rest of the world to trouble, or accept it, be brave and take the challenge. For instance, Minos, the king of Crete who works against Theseus, the Greek hero, refuses to do what gods order him. Poseidon, the god of the Seas gives him a white bull asking Minos to sacrifice the animal back to him. Watching the animal, Minos cannot bring himself to kill it so he decides to keep the bull as a trophy given to him from gods. Poseidon, infuriated by Minos´s behaviour enchants his wife to burn with desire for the animal. As a result, a Minotaur is born; a creature half-bull, half-human sent to Minos to remind him every day of his mistake (“Minos”, Encyclopaedia Britannica). Campbell claims that heroes who refuse the call become either the ones who need rescuing or turn into villains that make journeys of other heroes disastrous (59).

Refusal of the challenge in the Chronicles becomes obvious when the rest of the Pevensie children refuse to believe that Lucy found a new world in an old wardrobe. Lucy, thinking that he would agree, tells them that Edmund has seen Narnia, too. Of course, Edmund denies and says that he was just playing along with Lucy´s new game. “Oh, yes, Lucy and I have been playing – pretending that all her story about a country in the wardrobe is true. Just for fun, of course. There´s nothing there, really” (129). After hearing Edmund´s claims, the three siblings turn against the little one, ordering her to stop fabricating stories in her head and start behaving like a normal girl.

Children refuse to accept the challenge at first because they do not believe that such world could ever exist. Their rational thinking becomes the only obstacle that keeps them from accepting it. Lucy, being the youngest child does not possess the same rational thinking; in her mind, a world where half-human, half-goat creatures could possibly exist is perfectly logical. A child-like thinking is what the other siblings lack, that is why they need more persuasion. However, Edmund´s behaviour is unique, too. He has already seen Narnia and believes it exists, he just decides to deny and work against Lucy, because he believes that Peter would take him as an equal and think more highly of him. This is why Vogler describes the stage as “conflicting calls”; for Edmund, the only obstacle that keeps him from re-entering Narnia again is his own pride (109).

Mentors are essential figures of the stage in which heroes are about to take the risk and set on a journey. They are often described as characters that have already mastered the hardships of the Supernatural World and been there before. Heroes meet their mentors to get training, wise advice or magical gifts that could help them on the way to overcome the fear and establish order. Sometimes, the mentor does not necessarily have to be a living person; it can also be an important object (a map or old notebook) that possesses magical powers, or simply words of wisdom. Either way, the mentor must possess a strong sense of honour and fairness that should help the hero on their way to success. Campbell states, “One has only to know and trust, and the ageless guardians will appear” (72). Simply said, the main aim of the mentor is to guide the hero in the right direction in order to finish the quest successfully.

After getting into an argument with Lucy, Peter and Susan decide to go and visit the Professor to get some advice. When they tell him about the world Lucy claims to have visited, he does not seem surprised. When asking for the reason why they do not believe what Lucy is trying to tell them, they simply claim that it would be illogical. Vogler describes the stage of meeting with the mentor as the time in which “the hero gains the supplies, knowledge and confidence needed” before he begins the journey (117). The Old Professor that the Pevensie children are staying with is a perfect example of the mentor. His main role is to explain why Lucy claims to visit a different world and supply them with enough information to be willing to give Lucy a chance. What is even more important, through the Professor´s wise words, they are introduced to the central argument of the story; when it comes to Narnia, sometimes even the most illogical things are completely normal. “That is the very thing that makes her story so likely to be true,” said the Professor. “If there really is a door in this house that leads to some other world (and I should warn you that this is a very strange house, and even I know very little about it) – if, I say, she had got into another world, I should not be at all surprised” (Lewis 132).

Crossing the borders between the ordinary and the supernatural signals that heroes have finally decided to start their journey. The supernatural world represents something they have never experienced before. Suddenly, they find themselves in the world that has rules of its own; they may stumble upon supernatural creatures, impressive sights, but also fears and dangers. And most of all, the sudden realisation that from now on, there is no turning back. What happens next, will directly influence the heroes and affect the central problem as well; will they be successful and complete the task that awaits them?

Campbell expresses that the two worlds, the Ordinary and the Supernatural, are actually two dimensions of the same world. “The realm of the gods is a forgotten dimension of the world we know. And the exploration of that dimension, either willingly or unwillingly, is the whole sense of the deed of the hero” (217).

Crossing the borders in Lewis´s story is managed on multiple levels; besides the literal crossing of the borders between the wardrobe and the snowy ground of Narnia, both external and internal forces influence the course of the story and push heroes to accept their tasks.

Because of the rainy weather, children decide to explore the house and its hidden wonders. However, the Professor´s assistant leads a party through the house and frightened of getting caught, they resolve in hiding in the wardrobe. As they walk deeper into it, they step from the wooden floor onto the ground covered in snow, crossing over to Narnia. Their accidental crossing of the borders represents the literal level. “And now there was no mistaking it and all four children stood blinking in the daylight of a winter day. Behind them were coats hanging on pegs, in front of them were snow-covered trees” (Lewis 134).

Internal powers push heroes ahead as well; for instance by an abduction of one of the ´crew members´. While Edmund was not really abducted, his action forced his siblings to accept the task and set on a journey; enchanted by White Witch and her promise to make him the Prince of Narnia, Edmund ran away from his siblings. Having been advised by the Beavers that they would have to face even greater danger if they started to look for Edmund right away, the three children agreed on finding Aslan, getting help from him and saving Narnia. “Why, all she wants is to get all four of you (she´s thinking all the time of those four thrones at Cair Paravel). Once you were all four inside her House her job would be done… But she´ll keep him alive as long as he´s the only one she´s got, because she´ll want to use him as a decoy” (Lewis 149).

External forces may also encourage the heroes to accept the journey and cross the “threshold”. In the case of the Pevensie siblings, the kidnapping of Mr. Tumnus may serve as a suitable example. The faun, afraid of his destiny as an inhabitant of Narnia, joins the army of the White Witch as one of her spies and kidnappers in case there is ever a human foot set in the Narnian snow. When he meets Lucy, he refuses to perform his duty and helps her get safely back to the wardrobe. However, Edmund´s ´big mouth´ reveals that Lucy met a certain Tumnus during her first visit in Narnia, which gets the faun in trouble. Upon Lucy´s return with all her siblings, they find out that Tumnus was arrested for high treason. As Vogler states, heroes do not simply accept the challenge and “then charge into adventure”, there has to be a kind of “last drop” that forces them to start the journey (128). Lucy, without thinking, is committed to save her friend, which would mean staying in Narnia, looking for her dear friend and therefore, accepting the challenge and ´cross the borders´ of transforming from an ordinary child to the central hero of the story. “He hid me from the Witch and showed me the way back. That´s what it means by comforting the Queen´s enemies and fraternizing with Humans. We simply must try and rescue him” (Ibid. 137).

During their journey, heroes have to deal with numerous tests, meet allies that could help them and confront enemies eager to ruin their plans. The stage is a significant part of every myth and myth-based story both for heroes and the audience; it introduces the status and condition of the Supernatural world and presents its inhabitants (Vogler, 136).

Heroes must find someone trustworthy and familiar with the Supernatural world so that they are able to get help in times of need. Without their skilled assistance, the heroes would probably fail in their task. The story of Greek hero Theseus is, once again, a suitable precedent. Ariadne, the daughter of king Minos, desperately falls in love with Theseus and decides to help him navigate the Labyrinth. She hands him one end of the golden thread and sends him to the maze to kill the Minotaur. He is only able to fulfil his task and come back because of her helpful action (“Theseus”, Encyclopaedia Britannica).

After finding out that Mr. Tumnus was arrested and is held hostage by the White Witch, a beaver reveals himself to the children. As a sign of alliance, he gives Lucy the handkerchief that she gave to the faun when she first met him. The beaver invites them to his dam and introduces them to his wife. The small family of talking animals represents first allies on their way to success. As Vogler suggests, allies should be “relied upon for special services” (137), which appears to be true for the beavers, as they are the first to introduce Narnia to children properly. The beaver starts to tell them everything about Narnian prophecy; four children of Adam and Eve claim the reign and defeat the White Witch: “When Adam´s flesh and Adam´s bone/ Sits at Cair Paravel in throne/ The evil time will be over and done” (Lewis 147).

While Peter, Susan and Lucy listen to the beavers, Edmund sneaks out and heads to the Witch´s castle. For him, this is the first test which he fails almost immediately because he chooses the evil and abandons the good. On the other hand, the rest (after beaver´s suggestions) decide to abandon their search for Edmund and pass this test by accepting the challenge and start their journey ´for a greater good´.

Reaching the castle, Edmunds finds the Witch in a furious state, because he did not bring the rest of his siblings with him. He is thrown in the dungeon where he encounters Tumnus who was arrested because Edmund traded information about him for the Turkish Delight during the first encounter with the Witch. Once again, the temptation of getting his stomach filled and the idea of him becoming a prince wins; he reveals that his family is with the beavers and that they were discussing a certain lion named Aslan. Edmund fails yet another test; he puts his family to danger for his own good.

On their way to the Stone Table, the rest of the Pevensie children encounter another helper; Father Christmas on his sleigh. This is where Susan undergoes her personal test; her belief in Narnia in contradiction to her rational mind is tested. Although she is not entirely convinced that what she sees is true, her assessment starts to shift; is it even possible that someone she recognizes as a fabricated character of numerous fairy-tales is now standing in front of her eyes? However, the main role of Father Christmas is to give the children their presents – objects that are going to help them along the way. Furthermore, the mere presence of not only Father Christmas but the children themselves has a great power over Narnia, the ice is melting and the power of the White Witch slowly vanishes.

After reaching the camp by the Stone Table and meeting Aslan, the Great King of Narnia, another test awaits, this time for Peter, the oldest from the siblings. Aslan and Peter take a walk together and Peter confides in the lion that he is afraid that if the worst came, he would not be able to save his family. Their deep conversation is interrupted by the sound of Susan´s horn; the wolf, one of the Witch´s spies attacks Lucy and Susan. “Back! Let the prince win his spurs”, cries the lion as other members of his army try to help him (Lewis 170). Peter does not kill the wolf, but injures him pretty badly. The ´spur´ with the wolf means that Peter passed his test. He struggled with the scary idea of him being the leader and feeling a great deal of responsibility over his family. By winning over the wolf, he proves to himself that when a great danger comes to his way, he is able to make the right decision.

In the meantime, Aslan´s rescue party succeeded in taking Edmund from the Witch´s hands and bring him to the camp . “Here is your brother”, he said, “and – there is no need to talk to him about what is past” (Ibid. 174). After the two brothers meet face to face, they forgive each other, which only reinforces the bond between them. Edmund learned from mistakes previously done and chose what was really right. Susan´s faith in Narnia is now secured and she abandons her logical mind for good.

The stage that Campbell calls “supreme initiation” serves as a preparation for the upcoming step, the reason why the journey started in the first place; the ordeal (158). By coming so far, the heroes prove that they are ´the chosen ones´ and are able to finish what they started and help the supernatural world win over evil forces.

To prepare for the next stage, heroes often undergo trainings, review all the maps and develop a certain tactics that should help them defeat the enemy. Sometimes, they even seek one last advice from their mentor(s) to assure they are thoroughly prepared.

All four children have agreed to help Narnians and battle Jadis, the White Witch, who asked for a meeting with Aslan after his search party brought Edmund back to his siblings. According to Narnia´s Deep Magic, a set of rules established by The Emperor-beyond-the-Sea, every traitor belongs to the Witch “as my lawful prey and that for every treachery I have a right to kill” (Lewis 175). She demanded that Edmund would be brought to the Stone Table and sacrificed there. Trying to prevent Edmund from death, Aslan seeks to speak with the Witch in private and once they emerge, he announces that Edmund will be spared. Everyone seems happy but Lucy notices that there is something bothering Aslan´s mind. During the night, when the camp is still and everyone sleeps, Lucy and Susan follow the lion into the woods and accompany Aslan to the Stone Table. Watching from a quiet and safe place, they watch Aslan die on the table; a sacrifice that was made to set their brother free. When the party around the table vanishes, they decide to run to the body, untie the ropes and grieve the one who was willing to sacrifice his life for their brother.

According to Vogler, the Approach to the innermost cave is a stage for heroes to “make plans, do reconnaissance on the enemy, […] arm themselves” before the ordeal, represented by the final battle, takes place (144). Everyone is preparing for the battle, Aslan even introduces Peter to the plan of how the army is supposed to approach and defeat the White Witch. The encounter between the lion and the Witch serves as a kind of reconnaissance; they negotiate their conditions and most off all, gather information about each other and try to find each other´s ´weak spots´. By agreeing to kill Aslan on the table instead of Edmund, Jadis unwillingly helps the Narnians; the lion´s sacrifice serves as some kind of reinforcement and protection. If Edmund died, the prophecy of four children sitting on the thrones in Cair Paravel could never be fulfilled and the reason for waging a war and defeating the Witch would be pointless. What is more, Aslan´s sacrifice enables Peter to get used to the role of the leader. In order to save his family and also the fate of the whole Narnia, the only choice is to go into the battle and fight; it gives him confidence and a sense of determination.

Although all four children after being tested emerge as heroes, it seems like in Lewis´s eyes, Lucy is always the main hero. Despite being the youngest child, she is the most ´brainy´ and cleverest of the four, because she is able to see past the obvious; when others are happy to have Edmund back, only Lucy is able to foresee what is about to happen.

Hero´s encounter with the Ordeal represents the most important crisis of the story; the encounter with near-death situation, or even death itself. It may not only be connected with death of the villain, but also with an ally or a mentor getting killed in the battle, or death of a loved one. The loss often represents the most difficult challenge, because the hero can find themselves in a situation that was always solved with a help of the recently passed person and now everything seems to bring them closer to failure. Campbell explains that the Ordeal stage represents a continuous and restless battle, which is, at the end, worth fighting because it reveals flashes of how the world without the evil would look like. “Dragons have now to be slain and surprising barriers passed—again, again, and again. Meanwhile there will be a multitude of preliminary victories, unretainable ecstasies, and momentary glimpses of the wonderful land“ (109).

[...]


[1] Faun, in Roman mythology, a creature that is part human and part goat, akin to a Greek satyr. The name faun is derived from Faunus, the name of an ancient Italic deity of forests, fields, and herds, who from the 2nd century B.C. was associated with the Greek god Pan. („Faun, Mythical Character“. Encyclopaedia Britannica. 6 May 2017, 19:24 p.m.).

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Title
The Use of Mythological Elements in "The Chronicles of Narnia" by C. S. Lewis
College
University of Leipzig  (Institute for Anglistics)
Grade
1,8
Author
Year
2017
Pages
63
Catalog Number
V377232
ISBN (eBook)
9783668560598
ISBN (Book)
9783668560604
File size
927 KB
Language
English
Tags
CS Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia, Narnia, Mythology, Joseph Campbell, Christianity, Myth, CG Jung, Archetype
Quote paper
Lenka Šerešová (Author), 2017, The Use of Mythological Elements in "The Chronicles of Narnia" by C. S. Lewis, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/377232

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