Kawah Ijen, Indonesia

Destination 18: Kawah Ijen, Indonesia

Kawah Ijen is an active volcano in Indonesia. Miners scale the 8,660ft Kawah Ijen volcano up to the crater, then down to the shore of a huge crater lake of sulfuric acid where they retrieve heavy chunks of pure sulfur. Active volcanoes in Indonesia have long been part of our world folkloric history.

Related Novel: Frankenstein (June 1816)


In April 1815, another volcano on an Indonesian island exploded. With an estimated 25 cubic miles of Mt. Tambora’s debris ejected into the stratosphere, it was the largest eruption in the last 10,000 years. The stratospheric cloud that stretched around the earth lead to unprecedented climate change in many parts of the world.

As depicted in the movie, Gothic (1986), Mary Godwin, Percy Shelley, Lord Byron, Claire Clairmont, and a young physician named John William Polidori rented a villa in Cologny, Switzerland in 1816. As a result of the seismic activity from Mount Tambora, an “incessant rain” confined the group in the house for days which spawned discussions on varied topics including galvanism and the reanimation of dead matter. The company also amused themselves by reading German ghost stories, prompting Byron to suggest they each write their own supernatural tale. Shortly after, the iconic monsters from Frankenstein (Shelly) and The Vampyre, a Tale (Polidori) were conceived.

202 years ago on June 6, 1816, Mary Shelley had a waking dream of her creation: Frankenstein’s monster. A biographical analysis of Mary Shelley frames Frankenstein as a work of sublimation, with each character representing a major archetype of the author’s collective unconscious (Table 1). The supernatural tale may be referenced by course directors in psychology and psychiatry to introduce psychodynamic theories of personality.

Table 1. Characters in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein representing archetypes of Jung’s Collective Unconscious

Character Jungian Archetype Description
Frankenstein’s Monster Shadow The Shadow houses our most base and primal instincts like an author’s desire to kill her father/creator.
Robert Walton (narrator) Self Representing the unification of the conscious and unconscious, the Self is represented by Walton, the narrator of the story.
The Syzygy (divine couple): Victor & Elizabeth
Viktor Frankenstein Animus The Animus is the male image in the female (Shelley’s) psyche. For the female author, Victor plays a more prominent role than Elizabeth.
Elizabeth Lavenza Anima The Anima is a feminine image in the male psyche and is the weaker character for the female author.



Lore, podcast, http://www.lorepodcast.com/episodes/54

Psychiatry taught through the lens of film and natural history, https://juniperpublishers.com/pbsij/pdf/PBSIJ.MS.ID.555573.pdf

Anthony Tobia, MD. Copyright © 2018 Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
tobiaat@rwjms.rutgers.edu All rights reserved.

Posted in psychation.