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Information about trickster

Published on January 17, 2008

Author: Rinald


Slide1:  by Cis Table of content:  Table of content What is the trickster? What does the trickster do? What identities does the trickster have? Where can we find the trickster? What tricksters do we know? 1) The Winnabago Trickster 2) The Court Jester 3) Other Tricksters What can we learn from the trickster? Bibliography I. What is the trickster?:  I. What is the trickster? The trickster is a character or a state of mind characterized by the constant need to play jests, trick people, produce chaos, amuse oneself on the account of others, live life as if it were an endless childhood and act irresponsibly. The trickster can have the following characteristics: He has unlimited freedom, for he does not fear the day of tomorrow He isn’t evil, he is just irresponsible and likes to act foolishly He comes under many forms, and each of us have a trickster inside He knows how to have fun and amuse others He might be wiser than he looks, not only just a fool Although he is an ubiquitous character, people do not know of his existence, or at least don’t call him that I. What is the trickster?:  I. What is the trickster? This is how a total of 30 respondents have answered to the question “Do you know what a trickster is?” Let us make light… II. What does the trickster do?:  II. What does the trickster do? The trickster is a mischievous character, who takes time to amuse himself and others by: acting (or being, as the case may be) silly and foolishly- that’s why he is also called "the Fool" playing tricks on those who least expect it mislead people to complicate their lives creating chaos (but eventually bringing order back- see "A Midsummer Night’s Dream") entertaining and being entertained fooling and being fooled (he can definitely be out-smarted) acting irresponsibly and childishly III. What identities does the trickster have?:  III. What identities does the trickster have? The trickster comes under many forms, and has been around for ages (no wonder Jung considers him an important archetype, embodied deeply in our unconscious). You can find him in universal history, literature and mythology, or even in today’s mass culture, as: the court jester a god (see Norse mythology- Loki, Aztec mythology- Ueuecoyotl etc.) a mythological character (the Trickster of the Winnabago American Indian tribe, other creatures- Coyote, Hare, Spider etc.- of other American Indian tribes, Puck of the British Isles) a clown (at the circus or at your child’s birthday party) a cartoon character (Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Woody the Woodpecker, Jerry, the Mask) any tricky character you might meet in your life IV. Where can we find the trickster?:  IV. Where can we find the trickster? Jung’s belief is that the trickster figure isn’t just an invention of the human mind seeking entertainment or an example of immoral conduct that is not to be followed by those who must develop a personality based on integrity, but that its roots go deeper in the human psyche, down in the most obscure streams that cause irrational behavior even for the most rational of minds. IV. Where can we find the trickster?:  IV. Where can we find the trickster? In history - as the court jester (the official job recognition of the trickster) At the circus - as the clown that makes us laugh In cartoon characters In the behavior of some people around us In the North-American Indian Mythology In other mythologies, especially northern ones In literature V. What tricksters do we know?:  V. What tricksters do we know? The Winnabago Trickster The Winnabago Indian tribe of North America has a very strong Trickster culture, through the Trickster Myth Cycle. For a general characterization of the Winnabago Trickster, one should first mention irresponsibility, lack of lucidity and self-consciousness, disrespect and defiance for the rules (or even unawareness of the existence and importance of some rules), vulnerability, ignorance, foolishness, irrationality and why not, arrogance. There are many stories about the Trickster, which can be read in Paul Radin’s book entitled “The trickster: A Study in American Indian Mythology”. V. What tricksters do we know?:  V. What tricksters do we know? The Winnabago Trickster Some of the most shocking and amusing happenings of Trickster: He eats laxative bulbs to prove they don’t have any effect on him; He plays tricks on different animals that he meets on his journeys; He gets his penis chopped off by a chipmunk; He has sexual intercourse with the chief’s daughter using his extremely long penis by sending it across the lake; He hurts himself frequently since he doesn’t have control of his body parts and doesn’t understand their use He gets tricked by other animals as well V. What tricksters do we know?:  V. What tricksters do we know? 2) The court jester Many a king have had the tradition, especially in medieval times, of having court jesters as a consequence of their need to relax their mind and bodies and detach themselves from the pressure of their consuming tasks and responsibilities. The court jester, however, isn’t just meant to bring about laughter and good-time, but he also had the unofficial task of interfering with the king’s possibly wrong decisions or influence his mentality in such a way as to make him see his mistakes through other perspectives as well. Everyone has a clear image of the king’s fool who sits by his side with that haunting and apparently unjustified grin on his face, always plotting for his next move in the matter of pranks meant to amuse either the king and his court or simply just himself. Examples of court jesters throughout history: Will Somers, King Henry VIII’s jester, also called the "Poor Man’s Friend“; Archie Armstrong, jester to James I; W. F. Wallet, the jester of Queen Elizabeth; Patch, the court fool of Elizabeth, wife of Henry VII. V. What tricksters do we know?:  V. What tricksters do we know? 2) The court jester Two kinds of court jesters: The "natural" fool - those people born mentally disabled, who have a natural predilection to acting foolishly and oddly, and since poverty and illness were common phenomena in medieval times, such cases weren’t indeed isolated. The "artificial" fool - the person who, for one reason or the other, adopts a trickster-like behaviour, not because their biological features compel them to, but because their psychological properties describe such a character; this category could also be divided in those who instinctually act like fools because they possess a talent for it or those who by rational reasons prefer displaying a behaviour that they believe in one way or another would help the world. V. What tricksters do we know?:  V. What tricksters do we know? 3) Other tricksters Puck (a.k.a. Robin Goodfellow), the character immortalised and popularised by Shakespeare in his well-known play, "A Midsummer Night`s Dream" Jerry (from Tom & Jerry) Bugs Bunny Tweety Road Runner The Mask Woody the Woodpecker VI. What can we learn from the trickster?:  VI. What can we learn from the trickster? Be like him! Laugh as often as we get the chance. Don’t take life so seriously all the time. Take the time to play! Make your life a playground! Maturity is just an attitude. Children are the most creative - let’s learn from them! Allow yourself to be foolish sometimes. And don’t forget, laugh, for God’s sake, laugh! VII. Bibliography:  VII. Bibliography Radin, Paul: The Trickster. A Study in American Indian Mythology - New York: Shocken Books, 1972 Jung, Carl Gustav: Arhetipurile si inconstientul colectiv - Bucuresti: Editura Trei, 2003 Lundquist, Suzanne Eversten: The trickster : a transformation archetype - San Francisco: Mellen Research University Press, 1991 Wikipedia Internet Encyclopedia-

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