The hero archetype - a real-life example


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This article explores features of the heroic archetype or “monomyth” in the biography of Sir Francis Bacon, working from the 22-point list developed by Lord Raglan. Beginning with the latter half of the list, we find several points of correspondence, then turn to the first half, beginning with the hero is born to a royal virgin, presenting evidence in support of the long-held conjecture that Bacon was the son of Elizabeth I (the virgin queen) and Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester. At some point after learning of his true origin, I argue, Bacon formed a conception of the heroic archetype, based on his knowledge of mythology, with which he personally identified. If true, this is critical for understanding the genesis of Bacon’s grand projects, and hence the modern era; in the words of Albert Schweitzer, “Bacon drafted the programme of the modern world view.”

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