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Psychosocial Analysis: Prince Zuko Paper

Erik Erikson, a renowned psychologist, established a psychoanalytic theory of psychosocial development consisting of eight stages from infancy to adulthood. During each stage, Erikson believed a person experiences a psychosocial crisis which could have a positive or negative outcome for personality and psychological development. In Nickelodeon’s renowned cartoon Avatar: The Last Airbender one character, in particular, stood out as a great analytical subject. The life of Prince Zuko of the Fire Nation will be analyzed and matched to each stage up until stage 5 (Identity versus role confusion). It is at this stage in Zuko’s life where most of the show takes place and even ends.

The first stage of psychosocial development as stated by Erikson is trust versus mistrust. It affirms that during infancy people develop basic trust and mistrust. It is based on good parenting, with adequate provisions for food, caretaking, and stimulation. Zuko was the first born child of Prince Ozai and Princess Ursa. From a young age, he was disdained by his father, an animosity that began shortly after the prince’s birth when the royal family was unsure whether Zuko was a fire-bender or not. Ozai, viewing a non-binding firstborn as “shameful,” planned to cast his son over the palace walls. Only when Ursa and the Fire Sages intervened did the Fire Prince give his newborn son a chance.The world the individual confronts after infancy will not always be trustworthy, and the capacity to mistrust will be required for realistic adaptation (Cloninger, 2013, p. 90).

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When he was three, Zuko attempted to save a small turtle, the prey to a large eagle. Feeling the urge to help the weak is a character trait strongly shown by his mother, the one who cared for him the most. When gets the animal safely in his arms, and away from the bird, he realizes that the eagle would die of hunger without its prey. Unsure which side he should take, the prince was eventually surpris…

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