It was Sigmund Freud who first promoted the idea of universal symbols by observing the recurring symbols found in dreams. It was his belief that the interpretation of these symbols was a link to the subconscious and that they were the result of the expression or repression of sexual energy that was common to all individuals. Based upon this theory Karl lung formulated his own theories about universal symbols stating the belief that they derived from a 'collective unconscious' that was inherent in the psyche of all individuals. Through the observation of dream symbolism and storytelling practices it became evident that there were ideas that remained constant regardless of history and culture. Jung especially noted the reappearance of different character types, which he called "archetypes." Having made these observations, Jung was able to focus on how collective ideas were communicated through culture and society.
Theatre and Performance Studies
Bratton '04, Amanda G., "Antihero: Jung and the Art of Storytelling" (2004). Honors Projects. Paper 6.