Where choice and destiny meet



Archetypes Gallery
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Princess
The Princess is more often associated with romance rather than distress. She awaits a Knight who is worthy of her beauty and rank and will take her not to his castle but to a palace. The castles where are Damsels are taken to have prisons, cold stone walls, drawbridges, and moats. Palaces are fantastically beautiful and charmed and are associated with ballrooms and elegance. The common (archetypal) expression, "Daddy's little Princess" implies an adoring father who brings up his daughter surrounded by beauty and abundance. There is no "Daddy's little Damsel in Distress." The Princess and the Damsel, however, both are taught to be helpless and do share a yearning for a Knight as a partner in life, the implication being that without a Knight, they are powerless in this world. The challenge inherent in these archetypal patterns, therefore, is to do for yourself what you expect the Knight to do for you--provide and protect yourself.

The Princess archetype is also influenced by our colloquial use of the term and especially its heavy freight of antifeminist connotations of a woman who is overly demanding, as in "Jewish-American Princess" or in the story of the Princess and the Pea. Even when used positively, the word can imply an unreal, bland, or cosseted character, like the teenage daughter nicknamed Princess on the TV series Father Knows Best. But a genuine Princess looks out not for her own comfort and whimsy but for the welfare of those around her. In Asian, tales abound of clever and resourceful Princesses, of conflicts between schools of martial arts for instance in which a Prince and Princess battle it out, as depicted in the Ang Lee film Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. And Scheherazade bravely married the sultan who had decided to kill all his new wives at daybreak, and beguiled him with tales for a thousand and one nights until he rescinded his decree, thus saving all the women.

In reviewing your relationship to this archetype, return to your fantasies as a young girl and note what your expectations were in looking for a mate. Most significantly, were you (or are you) consciously or unconsciously awaiting the arrival of your Knight in Shining "Amour"? Did you think or behave like a Damsel? Were you hoping to be rescued? And if you are now coping with the consequences of a broken relationship, can you trace the reasons for the failed partnership back to bein


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