By Natasa Tucev

According to H. L. Borges, there are four stories the human kind tells over and over since the beginning of time:

The elements of the first three are easy to discern in Blake's 7: defending a city is (symbolically) what the Federation does. Returning home is what Blake longs for ("I'm coming back", "I'll find a way of getting back to Earth..."). The third, however, is predominant: Blake's 7 is clearly a quest story, in terms of Blake's quest for freedom, for the means to destroy Federation, eventually embodied in his quest for Star One. Blake may be viewed as an archetypal hero of a quest-myth. His companions, on the other hand, are not necessarily archetypal figures, although one could find their origin in certain types recurring in myths and legends: a wizard, a thief, a giant, a dark and a blond woman (the last two usually together and opposing or supplementing each other).

What other archetypes are inherent in the story? The opening of the episode one is largely symbolical, meant to allude to an initiation rite. The initiate is asked to refrain from food and drink, he is led through an underground maze, he crosses a stream and is then reborn into a new self. In an archaic society, the initiate becomes fully aware of himself and consequently ready to join the community. Ironically, Blake becomes fully aware of himself only to be exiled from the community.

The birth of one's true self also implies the recognition of one's true origin. A "disobedient son" to the Federation and its oppressive laws, Blake may perhaps recognise a different father-figure in the kind old man Foster ("foster-father") who reveals to him his past and true identity. His mother is nature - the natural world being strongly opposed to the city (natural water vs. the drugged city water, etc.). Blake feels very much at home in the natural world (cf. "Duel") and the predominant colours of his clothes throughout the series are green and brown.

His dead brother and sister may be meant to symbolise the two basic components of his personality - male and female, rational and irrational, which he sets out to restore. This may explain why his "way back" is initiated by a male- female couple (Richie and Ravella) and why the first two principal characters he chooses for friends are Avon and Jenna.

There are motifs throughout the series indicating that the outcome of the quest will be tragic and its goal (freedom, victory over Federation) never accomplished. One of them is the recurrent image of Blake taking wound in his arm/shoulder/hand ("Space Fall", "The Web", "Duel", "Project Avalon"...). Symbolically, he reaches for something he cannot achieve, a process which will eventually destroy him.

Archetypes are defined as images and stories originating in the collective unconscious - the storehouse of the human kind's earliest memories, bearing witness to our deepest desires, goals and fears. Recognizing the archetypal symbols in Blake's 7 may, at least partially, account to the great popularity and appeal of this series.

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Last changed on 15th of February 1999