The Allegorical Actor

Character Type in

Scorpio is the Zodiac sign of passion, which means emotions of such magnitude that they are difficult to express. What Scorpio does is to make others express them. It’s the Archetype of the Actor, the artist able to play on feelings instead of being a victim of them.

Already Aristotle stated that the function of the drama is to bring catharsis to the audience of it. Catharsis is the emotional purging or cleansing that a good drama leads to, making the audience leave with a wonderful lightness of the heart that helps them cope with the hardships of real life. It’s the major function of all the performing arts, if not all the arts.

The faked suffering of the actor relieves us of our own suffering, at least momentarily.

This is the essence of Scorpio – making others live out their feelings. So, at the core of Scorpio is most definitely an actor. I chose Greta Garbo for the image above, the Swedish beauty who was a big movie star in the 1930’s. She was famous for playing tragedies so that all the audience sighed deeply.

The particular film from which the photo is taken is Mata Hari from 1931, about the performer who was really a spy. That, too, is so much the Scorpio character and archetype. Pretense upon pretense upon pretense in a multi-layered masquerade, like a Russian nesting doll.

Here’s another classic example of the actor: Sarah Bernhardt, a very successful stage actress in the 19th century who enchanted the world. Nowadays, her fame remains mainly because of the posters for her plays made by the artist Mucha, like the one below.

Poster for the play Medea with Sarah Bernhardt, by Mucha 1898.

The play in question, the old Greek drama Medea about betrayal and vengeance, is also quite befitting the archetype of Scorpio.

But the archetype of the Actor is not only one of words. Any performing art can set the feelings of the spectators in motion. The last few decades, this has been done with the greatest noise by musicians, especially in rock’n’roll. It’s easy to find good examples of the archetype among them.

An obvious case is Marilyn Manson, with his outrageous way of dressing up and provoking an audience. It’s evident that he aims to mystify and upset. He’s also doing a very good job of hiding his own looks behind makeup and other attributes. That’s so Scorpio, regardless of what sun sign Marilyn Manson might be.

Rock singer Marilyn Manson.

So, what is the point to all the acting and disguise? To others, it’s catharsis, which can be as healing as if it were a prescription drug. But what does it do for Scorpio?

First of all, it brings excitement to life. The secrecy and pretense add thrills to drab reality. Playing several roles is like living multiple lives – most of them much more fascinating than the one Scorpio was born into.

But it’s also a way to deal with emotions, which are so deep and powerful that Scorpio shudders at the mere thought of bringing them to the surface. Scorpio knows how devastating emotional outbursts can be. Better to enact them than to be their victim.

Zodiac Archetypes

Archetype is a concept familiar already to Ancient Greece, where it was called archetupon and meant “first-moulded” – like a prototype. Plato had theories about mental ideas – or forms – that were imprinted in the human mind before birth.

The psychoanalyst C. G. Jung claimed that there is a number of archetypes that we all share, without necessarily having been taught them. They’re part of what he called our collective unconscious and influence how we look at reality. He also meant that the archetypes as inner clues to self-realization.

I’ve written more about C. G. Jung’s theory on archetypes here:

Jung’s Archetypes

The twelve signs of the Zodiac can fruitfully be seen as a system of archetypes, making a complete world of sorts – let’s say the cast of characters needed to make a play that represents human life sort of completely. The twelve characters can be seen as separate individuals making up the variety that mankind offers, or they can represent the different aspects and potentials of any one single person.

Here is more about the archetypes and how to apply them to the Zodiac signs:

Zodiac Archetypes

The Zodiac Star Constellations, by Albrecht Dürer.

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