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Jungian Archetypes in “The Enemy” Film Analysis Essay (Movie Review)

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Updated: Apr 29th, 2020


The main characters in the movie “The Enemy” are Adam Bell and Antony Claire. Although the two characters are played by the same person, they have different traits, and only one emerges as the ultimate hero. According to Jungian archetypes, the hero is often conceived in a mysterious manner, and his mother is usually a virgin. This description fits the situation that is depicted in the movie’s opening scene before a distinction between the two main characters has been made.

The movie begins with a scene that depicts a sex show where one of the main characters is in attendance. The scene is wrapped in mystery because nothing is known about the location of the scene, and the expressions of the men who are attending the sex show are equally mysterious. The sex show scene is cut abruptly, and then the movie shows the two main characters as independent human beings. The mysteries surrounding the movie’s first scene and the two main characters resonate with the Jungian archetype of a hero.

Another aspect of the main characters that is outlined by Jungian archetypes is their mother figures. At the beginning of the movie, a mother is leaving a voice message to one of the main characters. It is not revealed whether the message is intended for Claire or Adam. The mother figure mystery deepens when Adam confronts his mother accusing her of not telling him that he has a twin brother.

The reply that Adam’s mother gives to her son is quite baffling. The mother tells Adam that she is happy; he gave up his acting job and took up teaching. This mysterious reply indicates that the two main characters are the same person or that they have a preexisting connection. According to Jungian archetypes, the conception and birth of heroes are often shrouded in mystery.

Some of the other characters in the movie also resonate with Jungian archetypes. For instance, Mary serves as the temptress who is responsible for bringing down Antony. In addition, Mary has an unexplained hold on Adam. The element of star-crossed lovers is heavily featured in the movie.

The two main characters are involved in ill-fated affairs that land them in various forms of troubles. Antony and Mary are star-crossed lovers whose illicit relationship leads them to their death. On the other hand, the liaison between Helen and Adam becomes unnecessarily complex, and the two individuals end up compromising their existing relationships. Jung explains that affairs between star-crossed lovers usually involve the hero and a secondary character.


Jungian archetypes explain the importance of a quest in any story. The quest in “The Enemy” involves Adam’s search for his doppelganger. This quest takes Adam through a series of adventures that appear to be maniacal in nature. For instance, Adam’s quest turns him into a stalker and a sexual deviant. On the other hand, Antony engages in a quest to seduce Mary, but his endeavors end in tragedy.

The initiation is another archetypal hallmark, according to Jung. There is one major initiation in “The Enemy,” and it occurs to the main character. For Adam, his awakening comes after he watches a movie that has his doppelganger as a minor character. This archetypal situation disrupts Adam’s life in a major way. In addition, Adam’s initiation becomes the climax of the movie and determines the unfolding situations. The archetype of initiation is usually followed by that of ‘the Journey.’

After the initiation, a hero will often embark on a journey to search for answers. In the movie, Adam swings into action after he discovers that there is a person who is identical to him. In most archetypal situations, the journey usually leads the hero to hell and back. Adam’s life was greatly affected by his journey, but by the end of the movie, he appears to be stronger than he was at the start. The demeanor of the hero at the end of the movie is a strong indicator that his journey has been fruitful.

Symbols and Associations

The symbol of the ‘skyscrapers of Toronto’ is an indicator of city life and human development. The Toronto skyline is symbolized on several occasions during the movie. The core message in “The Enemy” is dictatorship and bondage. The skyscrapers, on the other hand, indicate city life and its domination in the lives of the main characters. It is clear that the element of city life has taken its toll on the main character, who is on a quest to look for answers and define dictatorship.

Another symbol that is repeatedly used in the movie is that of the tarantula spider. The tarantula spider usually represents lethal and lurking danger. The tarantula is present during the sex show, on top of the skyscrapers of Toronto, and in Antony’s apartment at the end of the movie. The tarantula is most likely a symbol of dictatorship.

Therefore, the tarantula’s existence is only threatened by the naked dancers when they set out to destroy it during their routine. The free and uninhibited expression appears to be the only remedy to the dictatorship that lurks over the city and in private residences.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Jungian Archetypes in “The Enemy” Film Analysis." April 29, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/jungian-archetypes-in-the-enemy-film-analysis/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'Jungian Archetypes in “The Enemy” Film Analysis'. 29 April.

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