Back when it was impolite not to bathe in public and wear togas, a Greek or Roman wasn’t Greek or Roman if they weren’t well-versed in the complex myths and archetypes of the day. Why? Because the archetypes taught human beings that there are limits to what they can do – that they must work within their destiny. Recognizing the Gods and Goddesses, their powers and stories – was crucial to harness their Godly influence in daily life.
Wear a robe long enough and perhaps you, too will believe as the Greeks/Romans – that you can’t step outside of yourself and try to manipulate the power of these archetypes. If you adopt an archetype and it doesn’t reflect your true nature than you do not lead an authentic life and your fragile human psyche will be ultimately crushed.
That is, actors with longevity know this.
The Hercules Archetype
Hercules’ bio goes like this: He was the son of Zeus, but abandoned and raised among mortals. At a young age, he was forced to decide if his true identity is godly or ordinary. Hercules is challenged by battling monsters and bad guys, and ultimately risks his life to prove he is a Godly hero worthy of spending eternity with the Gods on Mount Olympus.
Arnold Schwarzenegger knows this. Arnold harnessed his brand early-on, understanding that the Herculean archetype best-suits his essence… that je ne sais quoi he inherited at birth.
I say this not just because of the obvious – Arnold’s performance in “Hercules in New York” or the “Conan” series. No – I say this because Schwarzenegger’s most memorable roles follow the Herculean archetype. A buff physique. Oscillating between the question – is he man or god? The Terminator, Commando, Predator… even True Lies and Kindergarten Cop – we’re wondering if this modern-day Hercules belongs on Mount Olympus or among us mortals.
Other actors have adopted the Herculean archetype as well – Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson… these guys have honed their brand and are choosy about their roles. They target PHYSICALLY-STRONG heroes who must PROTECT HUMANITY, while deciding whether they are MORTAL or GOD.
Even after four thousand years, these myths are going-on strong. If you’re an actor, or a writer – or a good toga-wearin’ bloke – it behooves you to consider these archetypes, and incorporate them into your professional brand or script.
Written by: Mich Medvedoff