Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Today is the 20th day of the A to Z April Challenge. Six more days to go on this blog-hop where participants post on a letter of the alphabet every day except Sundays. To go to the main web page so you can visit other players, click HERE.
I chose Fantasy as my theme and today is about the Trickster.
In mythology, and in the study of folklore and religion, a trickster is a god, goddess, spirit, man, woman, and anthropomorphic animal who plays tricks or otherwise disobeys normal rules and conventional behavior. It is suggested that the term "Trickster" was probably first used in this context by Daniel G. Brinton in 1885.
The trickster deity breaks the rules of the gods or nature, sometimes maliciously but usually with positively positive effects (though the trickster's initial intentions may have been positive or negative). Often, the bending/breaking of the rules takes the form of tricks or thievery. Tricksters can be cunning or foolish, or both, they are often funny even when considered sacred or performing important cultural tasks.
The Trickster or Clown is an example of Jungian archetype. In modern literature the trickster survives as a character archetype, not necessarily supernatural or divine, sometimes no more than a stock character. Often, too, the trickster is distinct in a story by his acting as a sort of catalyst, in that his antics are the cause of other characters' discomfiture, but he himself is left untouched. An example of this can be the mysterious character of Uncle Drosselmeyer in The Nutcracker. Drosselmeyer appears to be a magician of some sort and is the source of the evening's magical adventure.
In later folklore, the trickster/clown is incarnated as a clever mischievous man or creature, who tries to survive the dangers and challenges of the world using trickery and deceit as a defense. He is also known for entertaining people as a clown does. For example, many typical fairy tales have the King who wants to find the best groom for his daughter by ordering several trials. No brave or valiant prince or knight manages to win them, until a poor and simple peasant comes. With the help of his wits and cleverness, instead of fighting, he evades or fools monster and villains and dangers with unorthodox manners. Therefore, the most unlikely candidate passes the trials and receives the reward.
The trickster is an enduring archetype that crosses many cultures and appears in a wide variety of popular media. Can you name any in your own literature?