Eric Kripke’s Supernatural Literary Archetypes and the Influence in Storytelling

Throughout history, society has change dramatically; however, some human nature does not change. People have the same primal urges and needs today as they did from the day God created Adam and Eve. In college literature classes, they study not only the elements in literature from different time periods, but how and why those elements are relevant today as well as they were hundreds and thousands of years before. Storytelling started out as old oral traditions since no one wrote or read, so they sang around fires and dinner tables. This is evident in the ancient tales like Beowulf told a tales of a great Anglo-Saxon warrior. This is where the archetypes really began to shape and structure storytelling of Pagan gods, heroes, and monsters. The Pagans began to create and fight over the land England, Ireland, and Scotland are on were all once violent and lots of bloodshed before things became more unified and separate. It was not until the Romans came to ancient England to spread ideas of Christianity to the our Pagan ancestors. No one knows who actually created the story of Beowulf because it was a story told after battles to celebrate a warriors’ life and pride they held for their country and people. It was the Roman, Christian monks who began scribing all the stories up to that time period; however, Beowulf was not even known to scholars around the world until J.R.R. Tolkien actually read it and made people aware of the relevance and importance in this piece of literature. It has marked the foundation of English language and American and British literature. After the Roman Christian monks started recording written stories around the world, they established and combined Beowulf with NOW the Christian world with the Pagan world. The story is infused with Judeo-Christian and Paganism ideals and beliefs that are clearly evident throughout storytelling across the genres and years. These have created the archetypes told in epic poems to influence literary constructs in American society. This is a fundamental piece to the creation of the English Literary Language. Beowulf is the oldest piece of English literature that was brought back to life, thanks to J.R.R. Tolkien, who was actually heavily inspired by the ideals, values, and beliefs that the Anglo-Saxon possessed.

First page from the Beowulf – Represents the Anglo-Saxon Culture
A page from The Epic of Gilgamesh
Hel – Norse Goddess of the Underworld; Daughter of Loki; Mortal enemy of Thor
Loki Norse God of Mischief

Then, it went to epic poetry from all civilizations around the world. During the B.C.E. most cultures had their cultural heritage represented in stories that were left behind to later be translated by Judeo-Christian societies. Western Europe during the Sixth Century B.C.E. and the English Isles had the Anglo-Saxons’s Beowulf, written in 700-750 B.C.E.; the Greeks’ had Homer’s The Illiad, written around 800 B.C.E. and The Odyssey, 300 B.C.E.; The Epic of Gilgamesh, which was written about the Assyrian King in 2000 B.C.E. In ancient India, our world also included the epic poem The Mahabharata written in 350 B.C.E. This epic poem includes the elephant god and based on Hinduism, In Rome, Virgil’s The Aenied was written in 19 B.C.E., which was heavily inspired by the stories told and passed down from Greek writers. Later in history, Judeo-Christians and other denominations began establishing churches to worship their belief in their one true God. Each one represents a different culture and denominational preference.

In the CW’s Supernatural, which was and currently is created by Eric Kripke analyzes and creates a world of his own by combining and merging a plethora of folklore, religions, mythologies, legends, fairy tales, and classic monster stories that were first popular in 19th century and coined the genre – the gothic novel. This blending of genres and theologies creates a world where all gods, angels, demons, legends, fairy tales, and monsters interact and exist in today’s American society.  “The Hammer of the Gods”, in season five, makes this show wittier, interesting, and intelligent storytelling. The basic noun definition of supernatural has changed because of this show. Supernatural is now in the world of literature that people can go visit. Supernatural’s creator, Eric Kripke and writers like Rob Benedict, Jim Beaver, Ben Edlund, and Robert Singer clearly are well educated in a various types of literature from across all genres and time, beginning with the Bible. The Judeo-Christian religion is the source to the shows overall theme, good versus evil. One of the most impressive parts of this show is the plot development and its coherence over fifteen years. In that time, the creator and writers of this show has made Supernatural not only a proper noun, but a new genre that breaks literary archetypes that have been the structure for all storytelling. They incorporate Christian symbols and Pagan artifacts in this fictional series to reflective Americans’ attitudes and understanding of religion and the spread of ancient mythologies and folklore, which seems to drive the movie industry. Hollywood did that with George Lucas, J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, and Rick Riordan novels. When a writer can create something so large that the audience and critics could call it an epic, then another literary world was established within the real world. There are thousands of small worlds in this big real world, and they all live and survive through imagination, knowledge, and creativity.

American society generally is secular and religion remains influential on society. Supernatural is about the Winchester brothers Dean and Sam who travel across the United States combating supernatural forces of evil. The supernatural beings and the Winchesters’ means to fight them draw on a combination of Christian, Pagan and mythological archetypes and symbols. The first season emphasizes new-age methods used to fight folkloric creatures that are primarily Pagan influenced. The Pagan influence is seen in many different characters throughout the entire lifespan of Supernatural.


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