Jungian Archetypes in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

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Jungian Archetypes in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Post  betsypelletier on Fri Jan 28, 2011 6:14 pm

Jungian Analysis of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

By Betsy Pelletier

The medium I chose to analyze is the Nintendo video game The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of time. It is a roll-playing game depicting the journey of a young boy named Link, and his mission to save the princess Zelda.

Symbolic Archetypes

Light vs. darkness – Link battles the mini boss, Dark Link, which is literally a dark version of him self. Dark Link is considered to be one of the most challenging mini bosses in the game. Link’s constant battle with Ganondorf is another example of light vs. darkness, particularly with Ganondorf’s animal form, Ganon. Ganon was banished to the dark world, but manages to break free every so often. He takes on many different forms, all of which Link must defeat.

Battle between good and evil – The constant battle between Ganondorf and the hero of time represents the battle between good and evil. This rivalry is present, and is the predominant conflict in every Legend of Zelda game. Basically any situation in which Link faces an enemy is an example of good versus evil. The plot is driven by the battle between good and evil; it is the central conflict of the game.

Situational Archetypes

The initiation – Link’s initiation occurs in the Temple of Time when he removes the Master Sword from the Pedestal of Time. This event is the climax of the game as it is the moment Link “evolves” from Young Link, who entered the temple, to Adult Link, or just simply Link.

The magic weapon – The master sword is clearly a magic weapon, as it has magical abilities, and is the only weapon which can defeat the evil Ganondorf. Link is the only being capable of wielding the Master Sword because he is "the chosen one". Similar to the story of Excalibur, he was the only one who would remove it from the pedestal.

The task – Link’s task is to save the Princess Zelda. To save her, he must defeat Ganondorf. Link is the only Hylian/being capable of defeating Ganondorf, he was chosen to do so.

Character Archetypes

Hero – Link is the hero, he is presented with a task, and is the only one capable of completing it. Upon defeating Ganondorf, Link is named “The Hero of Time”.

Friendly beast – Navi is Link’s fairy. She acts as his guardian and guide. She helps Link throughout the game, occasionally by cutting in at inconvenient times, and by stating, and restating the obvious. Nevertheless, she chooses Link, and helps him throughout his journey. Nature is on Link’s side.

Damsel in distress – Ganondorf steals Zelda, ultimately to trap Link and get rid of him, so he may rule Hyrule. Zelda acts as the damsel in distress because she is completely vulnerable under the guard of Ganondorf. She is the maiden which Link must save in order to complete the task.

Platonic ideal – Saria is a Hylian whom Link grew up with. She is Link’s best friend and is often turned to for advice. Saria is pretty, but Link admires her for her knowledge, and not her physical appearance.

Hermaphrodite – In the game, Zelda takes on a more traditionally masculine form, known as Sheik. This represents the Hermaphrodite because it is a union of opposites. Not only does she physically look more like a man, with toned muscles, armor, and a flat chest, but Zelda, who was formerly a princess, is now a warrior.

The shadow – Dark/shadow Link would be Link’s shadow. Link faces Dark Link in the water temple. When Link first encounters him it is in a room which, when entered, appears to be a vast pond, with nothing but a tree in the middle. Although Dark Link is not guarding the entrance to this “pool of water”, the parallels are clear. Dark Link represents all of the bad in Link. He uses the same strikes, and essentially copies everything that Link does, making him an incredibly challenging mini-boss.


Last edited by betsypelletier on Sun Jan 30, 2011 10:37 am; edited 2 times in total

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Re: Jungian Archetypes in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Post  Stefantill on Sat Jan 29, 2011 11:10 am

This is a very good analysis of Zelda, very well written and every archetypes matches perfectly. I would like to add another character archetype to Navi though. Navi does show Link that he has nature on his side by showing him the great oak tree, which was links first great adventure. I would also like to say that she has many treats of the Mentor archetype. Basically, throughout the game she follows you around and constantly give you advice, teaches you how to do this or do that, she is the tutorial if I remember correctly. Although she may not possess all the traits of the Mentor, for example; being a role model (she is a small flying fairy with no arms or legs). She still would be a guide throughout the adventure teaching him many things.

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Post  Mr. C on Sun Feb 06, 2011 1:29 pm

Hi Betsy - a great analysis of Zelda OofT. My only question (and I don't necessarily have an answer myself) is: How does the concept of the Triforce enter into Jungian analysis? That is, (correct me if I'm wrong) there is a triad that consists of Courage (Link), Wisdom (Zelda), and Power (Ganondorf). Could these apply to any of the five structural archetypes (Persona, Ego, Self, Anima, and Shadow)?

Stefan - great addition about Navi as Mentor!
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