A Jungian Psychoanalytic Approach to Zeus's Defeat of Cronus
Since the Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist Carl Gustav Jung founded a series of
analytical psychology theories first introducing the concept of "personal unconscious",
"collective unconscious" and "archetype" in 1953, an advanced Jungian psychoanalytic
approach has been extensively applied to the interpretation of Art, literature and Greek myth.
This essay will argue that Zeus's behavior of defeating his father Cronus was motivated by
"personal unconscious", yet his fiery desire for supreme power and authority was an
"archetype" genetically inherited from Cronus. Also, "the recurring pattern of the victory of
the ambitious son in his battle for power against his ruthless father" is an "archetype" that has
been circulated for generations (Morford, Lenardon, and Sham 80). Some criticism regarding
the applicability of this theory will also be discussed.
The environment in which Zeus grew up had not only significantly contributed to Zeus's
future personality development and his attitude towards Cronus, but also effectively
explained Zeus's defeat of Cronus by the psychological term "personal unconscious".
According to Jung's concept of "personal unconscious", the way how people think and
behave at this level in the mental consciousness system is influenced by a number of
environmental factors such as childhood memories, parents' preferences as well as repressed
ideas and emotion et cetera. As the youngest son of the sky god Cronus, Zeus, unlike his
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siblings who were all swallowed by their cursed father, was hidden by his mother Rhea and
raised up by three nymphs on Mount Lycaeum Olympus in Arcadia (Morford, Lenardon, and
Sham 78). Accepting the truth that he barely escaped from being devoured by his own father
must have been a repugnant and agonizing process for young Zeus. It was...