Jungian Archetypes in Diablo II: Lord of Destruction

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Jungian Archetypes in Diablo II: Lord of Destruction

Post  Benjamin on Mon Feb 21, 2011 9:35 am

Diablo 2, Lord of Destruction is an epic RPG (Role Playing Game) designed by Blizzard Entertainment that revolves around myth, legend and romance. Originally released in 1996, Diablo was one of the first, and by far the best, to explore these themes in an interactive way and Jungian archetypes were everywhere. 15 years later these archetypes are expanding and intensifying as the saga grows (Diablo III is currently in the works and is suspected by many to become the best game in history). Written by some of the best narrative videogame designers in the business, these stories are deep and thrilling and rife with archetypal imagery. Blizzard really knows their stuff.

Character archetypes
There are many characters in the Diablo universe that are archetypal outcasts but none embody this role as clearly as the Dark Wanderer. The Dark Wanderer in Diablo II is the remnants of the archetypal hero from the original game, a man who upon vanquishing the Lord of Terror, Diablo, attempted to imprison the demon’s soul within his own body. Though a powerful warrior, this hero was no match for the corruption of Diablo himself and began to deteriorate in mind and body. Banished from the kingdom he had saved, the tortured hero becomes an outcast and a wanderer, always moving east, as the demon within him tries to regain its former self. The Dark Wanderer, completely alone, meets his fate as a hero in the form of a mysterious death in the belly of the earth as Diablo reclaims his powers in a demonic ceremony and throws off the husk of the outcast he had used for so many months.

Symbolic Archetypes
The Battle between Good and Evil is everywhere in the Diablo series, and the most common technique used to aide the identification of these two primal forces is Light versus Darkness. The main players on the Dark side are the Prime Evils; Diablo, Lord of Terror; Mephisto, Lord of Hatred; and Baal, Lord of Destruction. Along with their little sister Andariel (a version of this demon later in the game is known as Lilith), these Evil entities are constantly attempting to destroy the world, leaving fear, chaos and hordes of horrible demons in their wake. It is the player’s job, as a Hero on the side of Goodness, to aide in this battle in any way possible (it is in fact incredibly easy) and ultimately kill these Prime Evils and send them back from whence they came. Helping at every turn is the Archangel Tyreal, a (quite conspicuously) Good being which emits more blinding light than one might think possible, what with his 18’ fluorescent angel wings, shiny shoulder pads and his immense gleaming white broad sword.
Because the Battle between Good and Evil, often depicted with broad strokes (see description above), can easily be missed, Light vs. Dark is a consistent theme throughout the game to help fortify the Battle in younger and less savvy gamers. The best example of these symbolic archetypes takes place at the very beginning of Diablo II. The very first quest in Act I is to “rid the ‘Den of Evil’ of foul demons and beasts”. The Den of Evil, which is found right outside town, is a dark and scary place and is without a doubt filled with most foul of demons and beasts. However, once scourged of these horrible (and quite defenseless) monsters the darkness evaporates and is replaced by wonderful beams of light, seemingly through a very porous roof, that gloriously illuminate what now must certainly be deemed the Den of Goodness.

Situational Archetypes
The structure of Diablo as a game consists of two main situational archetypes: the journey and the quest. The journey in Diablo is the hero’s lone mission to defeat the Prime Evils and rid the land of Sanctuary of all demonic presences, therefore restoring fertility to the once lush kingdom. To do this, the hero endures many trials and in Act IV descends into Hell to destroy Mephisto’s soul stone and defeat Diablo in his own sanctuary. The journey is divided into five acts, each one more difficult than the last as the hero trails the Dark Wanderer east across the world, and the Prime Evils increase in power. In each act there are six quests which actively work to combat the rising evil in that region, from finding magic artefacts and rescuing important people held prisoner by demons to eliminating powerful sources of evil and traitors to the Light. Each act is a smaller journey for the hero, the completion of the quests and the extermination of the final boss brings light and fertility to the region. It is only when all of these minor journeys are concluded that the Light is restored to the Kingdom as a whole.

Benjamin

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