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Archetypes Gallery
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Avenger (Avenging Angel, Savior, Messiah)

This archetype and its related manifestations respond to a need to balance the scales of justice, sometimes by employing aggressive techniques. Attorneys who work for the impoverished or disadvantaged or who volunteer part of their time for pr bono work are modern avengers. Bringing war criminals to trial or legally pursuing corporations that harm society are examples of the Avenger on a global scale, fueled by a sense of righteousness in behalf of society. One can also be motivated to avenge an injustice against oneself or one's family. The Avenging Angel is an expression of this archetype of mythic proportions that suggests that one is on a mission from God, as in the case of Joan of Arc.

On the global level, the shadow manifests as avenging perceived immoral behavior by resorting to violence, from acts of ecoterroism to bombing abortion clinics. The "rightness" of one's cause can never justify harming innocent third parties. (Gandhi countered the shadow of social vengeance by emphasizing passive resistance to illegitimate authority.) In evaluating your connection to this archetype, review your life for experiences in which your primary motivation was to defend or represent a cause in behalf of others. One instance is not enough. You need to relate to this archetype as a primary force through which many of the choices and actions of your life are directed. A burning desire to get even can be so forceful that you organize a lifetime around meeting that end.

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