One Verse Every Week 'THE EVERYMAN ARCHETYPE'

Updated: Apr 24


The Everyman Archetype

There are twelve main literary archetypes derived from Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung's findings. The Everyman is one of the twelve:


The Everyman is the most relatable of all the characters — the one who connects with the people or place and identifies as one of them, and is vulnerable and empathetic, often caught off guard when faced with a situation. Cassio is a lieutenant in Shakespeare's play Othello. He is an example of an Everyman archetype.


Iago's wife and Desdemona's maid servant Emilia is in possession of the handkerchief — the vital prop in the play, token of love to his wife Desdemona from Othello — that Iago uses to make Othello suspect Cassio and Desdemona's relationship. Iago succeeds in misleading Othello to believe that Desdemona is an unfaithful wife.


However, both Cassio and Desdemona are unsuspecting, all the while, as Iago plots to have Cassio out of the way, so he could rise in ranks in Othello's army.


Here, holding the handkerchief unaware of Iago's villainy Emilia says:


What handkerchief? Why, that the Moor first gave to Desdemona; That which so often you did bid me steal. IAGO Hast stol'n it from her? EMILIA No, 'faith; she let it drop by negligence. And, to the advantage, I, being here, took't up. Look, here it is. IAGO A good wench; give it me. EMILIA What will you do with 't, that you have been so earnest To have me filch it? IAGO [Snatching it] Why, what's that to you? EMILIA If it be not for some purpose of import, Give't me again: poor lady, she'll run mad When she shall lack it. IAGO Be not acknown on 't; I have use for it. Go, leave me. Exit EMILIA I will in Cassio's lodging lose this napkin, And let him find it. Trifles light as air Are to the jealous confirmations strong As proofs of holy writ: this may do something. The Moor already changes with my poison: Dangerous conceits are, in their natures, poisons. Which at the first are scarce found to distaste, But with a little act upon the blood. Burn like the mines of Sulphur. I did say so: Look, where he comes!

[III.iii.347-373]


Cassio, the Everyman character is in Iago's way and in Othello's favour. Like the traits for the Everyman archetype Cassio is one who connects with the people or place and identifies as one of them, and is vulnerable and empathetic, often caught off guard when faced with a situation.

 

Next: THE LOVER


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