Archetypes: The Building Blocks of Stories. Definition of Archetype. Archetype is a Greek word meaning “original pattern, or model.”
You’ll often find several of these archetypes within one work. Here are specific examples of each type of archetype.
The movie opens…. the young, beautiful actress is on a tirade about how much she hates, and she means hates, detests, loathes and every other adjective in between, the new guy she works with (who happens to be drop dead good looking and single). He pokes fun at her and frequently stops by her desk. She fumes silently. She yells at him about how she can’t stand the sight of him. He laughs and says he can’t stand her either.
What’s going to happen?
How do you know this?
These are common situations, or plots, seen in literature, movies, television, etc. over and over throughout history and cultures. Chances are, if you’re watching a movie that follows one of these situational archetypes, you know what’s going to happen in the end when the movie is in the opening five minutes.
THE tirade about how much she hates, and she means JOURNEY—
The type of journey determines the type of hero.
The Fall tirade about how much she hates, and she means
Battle between Good and Evil —
The movie opens on a dark, stormy night. There is no power in the house where the couple lives.
What does this suggest?
These are symbols (something which represents something else) that have occurred over and over again throughout time and in various different cultures. These symbols have always represented the same things; that is what makes them an archetype and what makes us recognize them as symbols when we see them.
LIGHT VS. DARKNESS in the house where the couple lives. — light suggests hope,
renewal, or intellectual illumination;
darkness suggests the unknown, ignorance,
HEAVEN VS. HELL— gods live in the skies or mountaintops; evil forces live in the bowels of the earth
WATER FOR CLEANSING- a water
source offers the character an
opportunity to purify himself from a wrong
NUMBERS- a particular number holds a sacred value for the culture (such as 3 for the Christian faith)
ANIMALS- animals such as snakes or cows hold special value in the culture or religion
universe of opposites in the house where the couple lives. –this can be anything from light and dark or day and night to good and evil or man verse beast
an underworld for the afterlife –any form of going “under” to achieve some kind of enlightenment or to be tested.
a paradise setting or a lost paradise setting- this would resemble the garden of Eden where nature is untouched by man
landscape that emerges from chaos - begins with some kind of void or confusion and something whole is brought forth such as the light and the darkness emerging from the watery chaos
A river or water source - emphasis would be on it’s life giving or cleansing properties
Character Archetypes in the house where the couple lives.
These are the “stereotype” characters that you see over and over again. You’ve seen these characters throughout different cultures and over different eras in history.
Examples of these popular archetypes are:
Now, take what you know about archetypes and apply them to everyone’s favorite Ogre….
HOMEWORK everyone’s favorite Ogre…. :
Review your notes on archetypes.
Use one text of your choice (movie, book, short story, children’s story, etc) and identify one archetype from each category (situational, symbolic, setting and character).
For each archetype (4), write two sentences explaining why your choice demonstrates an example of each of these archetypes by using your definitions from your notes.