Jungian Archetypes in Halo Reach

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Jungian Archetypes in Halo Reach

Post  martynmd on Tue Jan 25, 2011 4:17 pm

Halo Reach
Jung’s psychological archetypes

Plot Summary

Halo Reach is the story of a war. This war started when mankind first encountered the covenant, but the chapter that this game covers is that of a single planet. A downed relay outpost on Reach is mysteriously shut down and a group of Spartans know as Noble team are sent in to investigate. Reach is the second most fortified planet next to Earth and when Noble team discovers the covenant are on Reach, the planet is thrown into chaos. Noble team secures victory after victory groundside and finally takes the fight to the covenant super carrier in orbit above the planet. Noble team is forced to make great sacrifices to secure victory in orbit only to watch as an entire covenant armada arrives seconds later. Fro that point on, their battle is one of survival and desperation as they race to protect the location of their final stronghold, Earth.

Symbolic archetypes

In Halo Reach, there exists an opposing force to the hero known as the ‘Covenant’. They are a group of alien species united under the rule of the prophets, preaching an ancient race of technologically advanced creators as their gods. In accordance with their laws, those who defile these ancient relics are to have their worlds burned. The war between the humans and the Covenant stretches across the galaxy but comes to one of Earth’s closer and more heavily fortified colonies, Reach. Reach is a fertile luscious planet covered in forests, mountains, and bodies of water that fuel its majesty. The covenant’s final goal is the destruction of Reach through plasma bombardment, which will turn its surface into a glassy, ashen wasteland. Though the battle between the humans and the covenant can be expressed by many different archetypes, the battle of Reach can be described best by the archetype of water vs. the desert. This point can be reinforced with the idea of water as a life source. Earth is the true source of human life but Reach is the second most important colony. The Covenant seeks to use Reach as a stepping-stone to Earth where they will turn the fount of human life into a desert.

Situational Archetypes

As the story of Reach progresses, the hero is gifted with an instrument that holds many secrets about the ancient race the Covenant’s leaders revere as gods. He is not chosen to wield this instrument, but to deliver it to safety for future use in the war. Nonetheless, this fulfills the archetype of the magic weapon for he is chosen because of his uniqueness among those he fights with. The story of Reach begins with his assignment to a squad of fellow Spartan IIIs that is contrary to his nature as a lone wolf, a hyper lethal soldier that has been known to destroy entire armed organizations. This is what also gets him chosen for the task; he has not been stationed on Reach all his life like the other Spartans in his team. His comrades have so great an attachment to the planet that they will fight for it to their dying breath. He has already left Reach once and doing so again has no emotional hold on him. Dr. Catherine Halsey, the creator of the Spartans, also presents the instrument and it possesses the location of Earth, which casts the Hero as not only a protector of a weapon, but also the protector of his race.

Character Archetypes

The Spartan program was the advent of modern human augmentation in warfare combined with revolutionary new technology gained through the war with the Covenant. Spartans were at first taken from their families as children and later recruited from destroyed planets and broken families. Trained rigorously until their older teens, they were then biochemically augmented to be even faster and stronger than the best soldiers. Gifted with state of the art armor, which further enhanced their abilities, they became humanities greatest weapon against the Covenant. The one person who made the entire operation possible was one Dr. Catherine Halsey, and every Spartan knew it. Dr. Halsey became the greatest mentor that they had ever seen. Though technically only a civilian, they felt more respect for her than for any other commanding officer. She displays unwavering resolve and although her actions seem questionable by military standards, they are always for the benefit of human kind. To the Spartans she is seen as a mother who has given her children to the war.


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Re: Jungian Archetypes in Halo Reach

Post  Jamarlikescereal on Thu Feb 03, 2011 2:45 pm

Good job Martyn!

I feel another symbolic archetype in halo would be Heaven V.S Earth. The fact that each "Halo" in the game is an intergalactic weapon designed to kill all sentient life, reinforces my statement. In christian mythology the halo was seen as a symbol for Christ. There may also be a reference to the story of Noah's Ark in the game. If the covenant is seen as holy beings and they're using the halo to kill humans (not just humans) then wouldn't this be considered a cleansing? A cleansing similar to the one in Noah's Ark? Just a thought.


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Post  Mr. C on Sun Feb 06, 2011 10:55 am

Martyn - excellent analysis. I have been curious about this game for years, so I appreciate you providing this insight. You could have provided a little more detail for the symbolic--I thought you were setting up good vs evil, so you caught me off guard when you brought up water vs. desert. By the sound of it, water vs. desert applies, I would just need a little more info about that symbolic importance.

Jamar - nice extension. Great reference to Noah and Christian symbolism.
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