Inception, Labyrinth & Jungian Analysis

By: Jay

Ariadne constructs the labyrinth in the Greek myths. In Inception, she is the projection of Cobb’s pysche that grounds him – the anima of Jung. Some goofballs in a forum were laughing at my analysis of Labyrinth, but if you look at Inception, there are some very fascinating parallels between the two, inasmuch as we enter Sarah’s psyche just as we enter Cobb’s. Both are labyrinthine.

In “The Process of Individuation” by M.L. von Franz in Carl Jung’s Man and His Symbols, explains of the meaning of the labyrinth as subconscious:

“The maze of strange passages, chambers, and unlocked exits in the cellar recalls the old Egyptian representation of the underworld, which is a well-known symbol of the unconscious with its abilities. It also shows how one is “open” to other influences in one’s unconscious shadow side and how uncanny and alien elements can break in.” (pg. 176)

This dude nails it in terms of all of Inception being Cobb’s process of individuation. And never listen to anyone who uses anime characters as their avatar.

2 Comments on Inception, Labyrinth & Jungian Analysis

  1. Andrew Maxwell // August 2, 2010 at 7:06 pm // Reply

    Actually, Dedaelus built the Labyrinth for Minos. The Labyrinth was so complex that he could barely get out of it when it was finished. Minos’s son, the Minotaur, was placed in the Labyrinth (out of sight, out of mind). Ariadne helped Theseus (the hero archetype in Jung’s terms) to slay the minotaur and escape the Labyrinth by giving him a ball of red thread that he could follow back to her. (Sidebar: Note the red thread archetype in the Bible, in the stories about Tamar and Rahab as well, and its contemporary signifigance for Kabbalah.) For an in-depth look at the myth, see Joseph Campbell, the Hero with a Thousand Faces.

    In Inception, Ariadne is the one who helps Cobb out of the realm of the Shadow archetype (Mal, whose name does mean “evil” in Latin). Cobb admits to Mal that she is just a “shade,” a reference to Virgil’s Aneid, Book VI, wherein Aneas visits Hades. The Christian conception of Hell comes from this book.

  2. Thanks for the correction. The Christian conception of hell comes more from the idea of Gehenna in Judaism, I believe, than Vergil.

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