Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Carolyn M. Craft, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Michael Lund, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Donald C. Stuart, III, Ph. D.


This study uses Pearson’s theory of twelve archetypes and the heroic journeys of the ladies of Avalon in Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon to determine which archetypes are active in the lives of the ladies Avalon wrote about. In the book, women are seen as more than obstacles, aids, or rewards to males. They are the heroes who refuse to be defined by patriarchal terms. The female characters go on their own quests and seek to transform themselves and the world. Although culture and society affect each of the women, the success of each woman’s journey is determined by how she responds to her inner archetypes and the external dragons she faces. In conclusion, the key to heroes lies in their struggles with universal dragons of excessive pride, self-doubt, obsessive love, identity confusion, controlling behaviors, self-destructiveness, and judge-mentalism.



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