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ARCHETYPES OF THE HERO. Here are some examples of the 12 archetypes presented to you. This will help you understand the character of Beowulf. 1. Heroes Are Often of Obscure/Mysterious Origins. Pinocchio begins life as a puppet. Superman is an infant survivor from the planet Krypton.

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archetypes of the hero
  • Here are some examples of the 12 archetypes presented to you.
  • This will help you understand the character of Beowulf.
1 heroes are often of obscure mysterious origins
1. Heroes Are Often of Obscure/Mysterious Origins.
  • Pinocchio begins life as a puppet.
  • Superman is an infant survivor from the planet Krypton.
  • Harry Potter is the boy who survived an evil curse.
  • King Arthur is raised in obscurity—so is Perseus.
  • Perseus and Hercules are sons of Zeus--demigods.
  • Transformers aren’t even human.
  • X-Men (other comics) characters are mutants.


2 heroes are neither fools nor invincible
2. Heroes are neither fools nor invincible.
  • Odysseus defeats the Trojans—not through strength alone—but by using his intelligence to devise the plan of the Trojan horse.
  • Achilles’ mother dips him in the River Styx to make him invincible, but he is still vulnerable on his heal where she held him.
  • Superman and kryptonite.
  • The Watchmen—can be killed.
3 the hero s way is not always direct or clear to him her
3. The Hero’s way is not always direct or clear to him/her.
  • In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy knows she should follow the yellow brick road, but she does not know what dangers she will face along the way.
  • Harry Potter knows he must find the horcruxes, but he does not know the precise locations.
  • Frodo—doesn’t know the true nature of the ring that he must destroy.
  • Spiderman—had no guidance when he first began to transform.
the hero has a goal or goals
The Hero has a goalor goals.
  • The Knights of the Round Table search for the Holy Grail.
  • Dorothy wants to find her way home.
  • Shrek must save a princess in order to get his swamp back…minus all the fairy tale squatters.
  • Theseus just wants to become a famous hero.
  • Luke Skywalker—must defeat the Empire.
  • Transformers must destroy the Allspark.
5 the hero s way is beset with dangers loneliness and temptation
5. The Hero’s way is beset with dangers, loneliness, and temptation.
  • Frodo is hunted by the wraiths.
  • Robin Hood yearns for Maid Marian.
  • Luke Skywalker is tempted by the power of the force.
  • Jesus Christ was tempted by Satan.
  • Another man’s wife attempted to seduce Sir Gawain.
  • Batman—faces seduction by various characters.
  • Spiderman—loves Mary Jane.
  • Hercules and his 12 Labors.
6 the hero is accompanied by friends servants or disciples
6. The hero is accompanied by friends, servants, or disciples.
  • Robin Hood had his merry men.
  • Luke Skywalker had Han Solo, Chewbacca, R2-D2, C-3PO, etc.
  • Dorothy had the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion.
  • Harry Potter had Hermione and Ron.
  • Jesus had his disciples.
  • Shrek had Donkey and Puss.
  • Power Rangers had each other, so did the Transformers.
  • Frodo had his group with him.
7 the hero has a guide or guides
7. The hero has a guide or guides.
  • Luke Skywalker had Ben Kenobi and Yoda.
  • Frodo had Gandalf.
  • Harry Potter had Dumbledore.
  • Dorothy had Glenda.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Splinter.
  • Batman had Alfred.
8 the hero descends into the darkness literally and or figuratively
8. The hero descends into the darkness, literally and/or figuratively.
  • Peter Parker (Spiderman) grapples with his own dark thoughts of revenge.
  • Because he needed information from a dead man, Odysseus visits the Land of the Dead (Hades).
  • Harry Potter was transported to a cemetery where he had to fight for his life.
  • Dorothy grappled with despair in the Witch’s tower.
  • Hercules’ guilt caused him many problems.
  • Darth Vader
  • Aslan
  • Will Turner.
9 the hero is not the same after emerging from the darkness
9. The hero is not the same after emerging from the darkness.
  • Bruce Wayne changes into Batman when he emerges from darkness.
  • Luke Skywalker finally becomes a Jedi knight when he uses the positive aspects of the force to overcome the evil emperor.
  • In Greek mythology, Theseus left Hades with only part of his…bottom…intact.
  • Dorothy’s values/priorities were different when she returned home.
  • Bilbo Baggins was no longer satisfied with quiet, hobbit life.
10 what the hero seeks is symbolic of what is actually found
10. What the hero seeks is symbolic of what is actually found.
  • The destruction of the ring in The Lord of the Rings represents the defeat of greed, corruption, and evil.
  • Locating Mary Magdalene’s grave represents vindication, truth, and honor to Dr. Robert Langdon in The Da Vinci Code.
  • In The Wizard of Oz, the search for the wizard symbolized the search for self-discovery.
  • Harry Potter looking for the horcruxes—they represent evil.
11 the hero suffers a wound or wounds
11. The hero suffers a wound or wounds.
  • Frodo is stabbed by the wraiths.
  • King Arthur is betrayed by his wife and his best friend, Lancelot.
  • Luke Skywalker loses his hand.
  • Under a trance, Hercules murders his own children.
  • Harry Potter loses characters close to him.
  • Optimus Prime—loses life.
  • Various comic characters suffer pain.
12 heroes tend to be male however women represent wisdom
12. Heroes tend to be male; however, women represent wisdom.
  • Glinda, the good witch of the North from The Wizard of Oz, gives Dorothy the wisdom she needs in order to finish her quest.
  • Hermione represents wisdom to Harry Potter.
  • Medea gives Jason the wisdom he needed in order to claim the Golden Fleece.
  • Ariadne gives Theseus the wisdom he needed in order to find his way out of the labyrinth.
  • Princess Leiea
  • Arwen from The Lord of the Rings.
speaking of women representing wisdom
Speaking of women representing wisdom…

When asked on surveys, an extremely high number of people list their mother or grandmother as their hero. Why?

  • Love
  • Sacrifice
  • Wisdom/Advice