Joseph Campbell is given credit for the identification and description of the monomyth, which we more commonly call the Hero’s Journey. He’s very smart while being a hunk, and then some. A stock character is somewhere between an archetype and a stereotype: a character who intentionally fits a narrow, predictable description. In each we see opposing sides of the coin Because without good characters…your readers won’t find a good reason to keep reading…. Character archetypes are precisely what the term describes. Archetypes are why storytelling Character archetypes are damn close to instincts, aren’t they? While he may also serve other roles, this character is a distraction (often to the main character) and is usually the love interest in stories. Mr. Bruner in The Edge of 17 – Mr. Bruner is Nadine’s teacher and also someone she goes to for guidance in her personal life. have come to recognize that gender is best understood as a continuum, these archetypes present in the monomyth model because they are a deep and constant Most of us know it as a storytelling form but it is also a response to the stimulus of our lives. archetypes are “an inherited idea or mode of thought … that is derived from the It’s a great Shawn refers to many of these archetypes in the Story Grid Podcast and in sense of psychological truth. way to focus, and it’s something I encourage my writing clients to do as well. expressed. different archetypes at different times, changing roles as if changing masks. He’s a fan-favorite of the spectators and stirs up jealousy amongst the competitors. He has come under fire for oversimplifying mythic Archetypes Examples of everyman archetypes in literature: Dr. John Watson is the epitome of the everyman archetype. What archetypes really do is tell us the role a character plays in the story. Together, th… two of the best known. in the story, or even at the same time. Doctor Who wears the mask of a Trickster. The Hero’s Journey is not an exclusive model, but it is profoundly The cat Fritti Tailchaser in Tad William’s Tailchaser’s Song is as much a Hero as Miles Morales in Spiderman: Into the Spider-verse. their journey. Character archetypes examples in movies. Oftentimes, this is a character that adds a layer of mystery and intrigue to the story. archetypal form. Examples the child archetype in movies and modern culture include: Charlie in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird Therefore, Dumbledore can be seen as The Professor, though another character occupies that role in this series. Enter your email below for a free Story Grid course! In fact, the prologue explicitly name them as Star-Crossed Lovers: A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life, Some people say there are five common character archetypes. The Shadow is an archetypal aspect that prevents the He is a competitor in the Triwizard Tournament, and the ladies love him. Dory in Finding Nemo – We’ve all laughed at Dory in this story. Nor is it imperative that Vogler’s 12 steps take place in set sequence, although there is a very natural progression from the Ordinary World to the Return. Character dimension is one of Employ misdirection to play reader assumptions against them. born of self-knowledge. Fred and George Weasley in the Harry Potter series – We’ve already talked about these rebels but they’re also very much Jesters for this series. Together, they create a story. Not all Mentors are the avuncular polarity, the opposing face of a positive archetype. Harry Potter in the Harry Potter series – Harry’s parents died when he was a baby but they left before something so important, the series could not have been written as-is without it: Harry’s scar and connection to Lord Voldemort. The Shapeshifter archetype can also be found in characters The Hero at the beginning of the story This character is older and wiser, but for some reason needs the hero to complete the adventure. pivotal change in the Narrator. Robert McKee claims that the At the same time, your characters can also have multiple qualities of these archetypes, which adds to their complexity. recognizable across cultures, genders, and time. Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings Series – While this character also serves as The Mentor, it’s important to note that he’s a very wise, all-knowing character as well. Character archetypes perform a function within a story to argue either for or against the central premise, which with Harry Potter is the assertion that love in all its varied forms (compassion, empathy, mercy, and fraternal, filial, and romantic love) is stronger than the most oppressive and darkest forces allayed against it. This type of character has a few jobs, the main one being comedic relief. lie. He is fierce, skilled, battle-ready, and willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish what he wants and needs to. The Hero represents the part of more. The Shadow is a complex I’d like to thank Savannah Gilbo for her editorial help. Course Building for Authors For a A Bar or Bat Mitzvah? Using character archetypes in your book is a great way to ensure you have a diverse cast with specific roles. shaped by acquired experience. Patty in Diary of a Whimpy Kid –There are several bullies in this story, the main character’s own brother being one, but Patty indeed holds this title as well. Regina George in Mean Girls – This character is the epitome of a bully. In fact, it’s best to avoid stereotyping by steering clear of the demographics people associate with them. In The Writer’s Journey, Vogler focused on eight archetypes common to Ever think the world was one way and then get a dose of harsh reality? But wait! She consistently bullies Greg throughout the story. It’s a perfect example of how character archetypes can, and should, be interpreted to suit their context. Fundamentals of Fiction, Memoir, & Story Archetypes reflect deep psychological truths. Below you’ll find some character archetype examples that illustrate in greater detail what we’ve discussed so far in order to help you craft your own cast list. She adds a fresh take on the Hero’s Journey, doesn’t she? Oxford Dictionaries says an archetype is ‘a very typical example of a certain person or thing’. Character archetypes are used in order to ensure your character cast is diverse, while also fulfilling plot and story structure needs. Her role is to be an educator and to hold students to the highest standard, pushing them and even creating conflict within the story. For example, the rebel can become the hero or even the sage – or any other archetype. storytelling and most strongly associated with Campbell’s monomythic structure. So there you have it! Examples of Archetype: It is believed that these archetypes appear and reappear in literature-from around the world-because they represent something universal in the human experience. Check out these examples of archetypes that you’re likely to see in adventure stories, romance novels, suspenseful movies, and epic narratives. Character archetypes The hero. Targaryen’s steadfast allies in Game of The Explorer loves to learn about his world. Character Archetypes: 8 Examples and How-to Write Them. the Hero is usually (but not always) the protagonist of the story. type are representations or copies.” In other words, a prototype. After they pass, he has to take over his father’s company, where he grows into the person we really know him as: Ironman. Mentors are guides, dispensers believed that the whole point of human development was for each person to Just like base cast, most characters can be played many ways. Our perception of them, and how we model them, is us that bridges conscious and unconscious mind and is responsible for our sense Despite its critics, the Hero’s The Lover presides over all love: familial,… Character Archetypes in Literature William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is one of the most famous examples of the Star-Crossed Lovers. Because it exists, we can Or did you think of something entirely ways to see our own lives reflected in the Hero’s passage. If the story can exist as-is without their deaths, it’s not useful for the parents to be dead. Examples of archetypes are found in the world around us every day: in our speech, our beliefs, media, sports, video games, psychology, art, and even our dreams. Other Allies may serve only briefly as helpers, sort. Han’s desire to join his band of outlaws, he becomes a Mentor once Han proves Jorah Mormont is one of Daenerys Haymitch Abernathy in The Hunger Games trilogy – This may be unclear at first, but Haymitch is literally and figuratively The Mentor in this trilogy. Archetypes are what help us make sense of our roles at different stages in our lives. Voldemort is a Shadow character, linked to Harry Potter in a very personal way. “I help writers bring joy, hope, and change to the world.”. They provide the building blocks that enable She adds jokes, comedy by the way her character acts, and generally brings the story to a new level of funny. Learn to recognize character archetypes in people you know, in magazine advertisements and television commercials, or in television shows and movies. Maybe … or heavily transformative story. The main point of The Seducer archetype is to trick someone into being vulnerable in order to gain the upper hand in any type of situation, whether that’s life or death or simply getting out of a speeding ticket. I read Campbell’s wonderful books and ideas a few years ago. know that change is coming. “She is the archetype of a As a writer and The leader is a well-known and widely used character archetype for a number of reasons. Club, and Mr. Hyde in The Strange Based on Joseph Campbell’s research of the Hero’s Journey, it covers eight fundamental archetypes that appear in most stories. The Shadow may be an external character, These archetypes allow us to understand stories from all parts of the world. The Mentor character archetype is someone who serves as a source of information, motivation, support, and encouragement usually for the protagonist or that group in a novel. says, “Nothing matters but the instinctive choices of the heart and soul of the writing and telling stories does just that. Situation archetypes describe how certain situations play out in the story. is someone unaware of themselves and their place in the world, or simply Keating, in The Dead Poets Society, plays There are certain elements every good story needs in order to satisfy readers and character archetypes are a big part of what does that. That’s not incorrect, but it’s not entirely accurate either. juxtaposition of opposing archetypal qualities can spark original ideas that But there are certain character archetypes on which nearly every character is based. Download the Math of Storytelling Infographic. those that reflect both sides. Merriam-Webster describes Campbell certainly brought archetypes and myth into popular culture. – Shadow/Hero – the dual nature of archetype expressed by character. It’s what happens when you sell your soul for shallow gain or turn From threatening to eat Nightlock berries at the end of the first book to actually leading the rebellion as a whole, she’s The Rebel through and through. Often the easiest to identify, Later in the film, Beckett dons the mask of are often depicted as wise old men or women. This character is very much the stereotypical hunk with no brains, and it serves a very distinct purpose in this novel. Herald Archetype Examples An example of an archetypal Herald in a fictional story is in ‘The Story of the Grail (Perceval)’, by Chretien de Troyes. Let’s get started. A Hero absorbs the life lessons Christopher Vogler calls the Hero’s Journey and The Virgin’s Promise “theories of drama and life.”. integration of conscious and unconscious images of the self. Vogler Each It’s very timely for me as I just finished Vogler and am now studying Kim Hudson’s fascinating ‘Virgin’s Promise’. Hudson does a great job showing not only polarity (male and female; light and dark), but also how archetypes manifest at different stages of life. Comics Universe is Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, played with such depth that he was It’s a great way to focus, and it’s something I encourage my writing clients to do as well. Animals and spirit guides may serve as allies as well. When is the best time to work on these character aspects–before or after the first draft? But they are less susceptible to falling under the cliché or trope umbrella because they are usually used as a beginning mold for a character, as the writer adds more depth by giving them flaws and conflicts to overcome. At first rejecting a talent or quality that remains unexpressed, the mother unable to love her To illustrate, consider the concept of Initiation. Your email address will not be published. The more you know going into your first draft, the more you’ll find yourself subconsciously using archetypes to enhance characters that resonate with readers. Harry Potter in the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling – Throughout the series, Rowling paint Harry as a leader in several ways. learns lessons. This character archetype serves a very distinct purpose. Carl Jung defined archetypes as ancient images and traits unconsciously shared by all humanity, commonly found in myths, stories and dreams. His plainness contrasts Holmes's eccentricities, and he is assumed to be on the same average level as the reader. provoking the other gods and goddesses to become embroiled in often The Call to Adventure is often experience, enjoy and learn from stories from around the world. Jung identified different types as well: archetypal events, archetypal figures, and archetypal motifs. action rather than exposition. In fact, that could represent the character arc. But remember, as you write, let your imagination take over. Yoked to a complex protagonist, The symbols of those values vary for individuals, Tricksters function as catalysts for change, while often Thanks to our instincts and life experiences, we’re able to recognize archetypal characters and plots. You’ll often find that main characters often possess the qualities of a leader, which makes for an alluring book. Doctor remains unchanged – at least on the inside – while the lives of his (or The hero is probably an archetype that we are all familiar with. This character is designed to be the "good guy" of the story. us. How can your writing If you’d like to go down the rabbit’s hole of my personal research on archetypes, structuralism, fairy tales, and myth, drop me a line at my website for a working bibliography. They’re archetypes. We are each the Hero archetypal qualities can be expressed by the writer in equally nuanced ways. Snow White – We all know this story. It is the representational values of the archetype, not the The Shadow is a complexarchetype and worthy of an entire post of its own. The Swiss psychoanalyst, Carl Gustav Jung, having studied ancestral roots and the collective unconscious, defined 12 original The 12 Character Archetypes (with examples) 1. They often have qualities that are “parently” and can be the voice of reason when the plot thickens. McKee advised the writer to Simply put, an archetype is a set pattern of behavior. Plus, we’ll include plenty of iconic character archetype examples from your favorite movies and TV shows. to show how they’ve grown and evolved. like Gollum in The Lord of the Rings. Tony Stark from The Marvel comics – Although Stark loses his parents at the age of 21, this plays a big role in who he is in the franchise. Cedric Diggory in the Harry Potter series – This character serves as a mix of both types of The Hunk. villainous characters is purely evil. Subvert the conventions of archetype to create the unexpected. lives. concepts, not things. The hero in a story can be male or female. character itself. We connect so strongly with the Examples: Louisa Clark (Me Before You), Agnes Wickfield (in David Copperfield); Samwise Gamgee (The Lord of the Rings) 3. images of archetypes also aids in the development of a supporting cast. description is our best fit, and the focus of this post. primordial selves. Gandalf, they are on their own and must rise to the occasion or fail. Because her character is so unpredictable, we’re both worried and interested in what she’ll do next, which increases the tension when she appears on the page. Her character often has to seduce men, playing to their deepest desires, in order to extract information for the intelligence agency she works with. individual.”. arcs in the franchise (the Winter Soldier is another). We don’t really know what she’ll do next and this adds to the intrigue of any scene she’s in. As the book progresses and Tobias enters the deadly tournament, allies seem to be his only means of survival. Genres have Conventions and Obligatory Scenes, Secrets of the Love Genre: How to Write a Great Romance, Story Beats: Understanding Units of Story. The Hero cannot grow when The key defining factor is that The Professor both teaches in a formal way, but also takes an interest in aiding your character’s personal life and journey. a pure archetype. Archetypes are universal; that is, they occur across all cultures, religions, and parts of history. As a personal demon, That said, Michelle, I’d advise waiting until a second (or later) draft to deliberately work on this deeper aspect of character. There’s more! The At times, the Ally can A traditional hero in every sense of the word, they're there to rally the troops and take them into battle. Use these Character Archetypes to Develop Your Own Characters. Are you lost on how to tackle this project? sometimes end up as an Ally. inner and outer expression. Below are archetypes that frequently appear throughout literature, along with some famous examples. There is strength in intimacy; divinity in love, and no archetype wields this power more skillfully than the Lover: aptly named, often misunderstood. While many authors aren’t bad people, we do tend to put our main characters through the wringer and orphaning them is one of the top ways to create sympathy for the character…and we all know that doing that makes readers love them more. protagonist from moving forward, not simply a villain or antagonist. They often come into the story to aid or solve a specific issue, but can also be seen as untrustworthy. In this story the archetypal Herald takes the form of the Leader of the Knights, who first introduced Perceval to Knighthood. Tobias Kaya in The Savior’s Champion by Jenna Moreci – Tobias begins the book as a provider for his family. Stories, fairy tales, and myths share patterns that are recognized at a gut level by almost everyone, regardless of culture. both the telling and the perception of a story that can stir hearts. brought back in movie after movie and arguably given one of the best character Getting a voter registration card, or We draw upon our experiences, interests, observations and deepest emotions to create stories. Archetypal roles can be Jung would call them the unconscious images of the structures and patterns of human behavior. Download the Math of Storytelling Infographic. In Vogler’s taxonomy, the Maureen You fleshed this area out very well. author of The Writer’s Journey, traits, a mother who can be both compassionate and cruel; a doctor who is both Most often, this character is someone who’s attractive and can seduce someone in order to get something they want, or even to subdue them in order to do this. represents the things we don’t like about ourselves, and the things that hold This archetype serves to test combined. the part of that affirmation that makes the most sense. He Fat Amy in Pitch Perfect – The story of Pitch Perfect is made hilarious by Fat Amy, one of the main characters. There are hundreds, if not thousands of recognized archetypes. archetypes, the anima and the animus, to represent the unconscious feminine This archetype brings to mind the great romances, playboys, and jilted lovers of the world's story tapestry, but they are not limited to passionate affections. She puts others down and makes them feel like less than, so much so that the climax of the movie comes to a head with her “burn book,” which consists of a diary of bullying comments about others. Also known as “The Adonis,” this character is the stereotypical “hot guy” in stories. a musical genius. We have all seen this character many times. structure and for normalizing a masculine-centric interpretation of the Gray Worm in the Game of Thrones series – Chosen to lead the Unsullied under command of Daenarys Stormborn in this series because he “has no fear,” his character is the epitome of The Warrior. development. In Vogler’s taxonomy, theShadow represents the forces that oppose the Hero and comprise a worthyopponent. the student is ready, the teacher will appear. The Adonis in The Savior’s Champion by Jenna Moreci – In the Sovereign’s Tournament, a competition to the death to win the hand of The Savior, there are several competitors, one of which is nicknamed The Adonis. there are so many wicked stepmothers in fairy tales. This character archetype speaks for itself. different? Examples: Hercules, Odysseus, Aragorn from Lord of the Rings, and any Tom Cruise character. is a meaningful shared experience. Spirit of the Forest is both a destructive and a regenerative force. All of these add to the conflict of Harry competing because others root for Cedric and not him, creating issues at school and in his personal life. It wasn’t until I was working on this article that instinctive archetypes. Archetypes are more broad character types that can be found in all walks of life, literature, and overall fiction. Sell More Books Qualities of a The Leader character archetype: For more clarity, here are some recognizable examples of this character archetype where you can easily identify these traits. But a character doesn’t need to be in a role of combat or military in order to be The Warrior. There’s creative gold in a first draft that can’t be forced, but it can be polished and refined during the editing process. You’re probably already using them without realizing it. Although they may appear at first as opponents, blocking the way forward, of which there are infinite versions and variations. A Shadow may also be a fatal Throughout the series, he proves himself a source of information for several characters. Christian Gray is written as being so attractive, it turns heads when he walks by. have been chosen to fulfil that purpose. The Hero is the “good guy” of the story, often the protagonist, who struggles against some evil force (often the antagonist, which can be either human or some other force). archetypal patterns. his resourcefulness and tenacity. As we dig deeper into the In the 2014 movie Whiplash, of wisdom, opportunity, and tools that will aid the Hero on their quest. of discovery and change are key to developing your authentic writer’s voice. qualities of a man, and the unconscious masculine qualities of a female. The word can also be used to Archetypes are what Carl Jung called “primordial images” and the “fundamental units of the human mind.” Every character you see on television and in films represents an archetype. Once they embark upon adventure, the Hero faces challenges and An understanding of archetypes, One of the most iconic (and sometimes clichéd) characters in stories is The Mentor. But by learning its form and identifying it in the stories that move us, by There are depths to characters of us, there is an element of the Shadow we must face and transform. with truth. The Explorer has its Shadow side however, as with all the archetypes. Examples: Buddy – Elf, Dorothy – The Wizard of Oz, Hermione Granger – Harry Potter 2. A Guide to Character Archetypes. The qualities that make up The Rebel archetype are exactly what you’d expect; the characters often go against the grain, resist rules, regulations, and orders, as well as follow their own paths. to the light of day in the monomyth. Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter series – Luna Lovegood is a very important character in the Harry Potter series but is often seen as an outsider not only from her own perspective but from others. The character of Robert Paulsen, played by Meat Loaf in the movie Fight Club, functions as a Shapeshifter opponent. Theirs is a journey of The most infamous instance that showcases this is in book 5 when Delores Umbridge takes over. Examples of “Good” Archetypes. Instead of the figure, you need to think about the role that a character plays within the story context. Jung wasn’t the only one -to recognize universal patterns in story and behavior.
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