Archetype: • An image, story pattern, or character type which occurs frequently and evokes strong, often unconscious associations in the reader (Ex: fairy godmother, wicked witch, enchanted prince) • Most often divided into the following categories: situational archetype, symbolic archetype, character archetype, and thematic archetype
What do experts say? • Sigmund Freud’s beliefs were that personal experiences have been forgotten or repressed, yet linger in the unconcious mind and motivate, shape, or control much of our experiences. • Carl Jung believed that somehow the experiences of ancestors are embedded into the minds of unaware men and women; he called this “shared memory.”
Situational archetype: • A situation that occurs in many cultures and stories
The Quest • This motif describes the search for someone of some talisman, which when found and brought back, will restore fertility to a wasted land. • Lion King? • Excalibur?
The Task • To save the kingdom, to win the fair lady, or to identify himself so that he may resume his rightful position, the hero must perform some nearly superhuman deed. NOT the same as the Quest, the Task is merely a function of the ultimate goal.
The Initiation • This usually takes the form of an initiation into adult life; the adolescent comes into maturity with new awareness and problems along with a new hope for the community.
The Journey • This sends the hero in search of some truth or information necessary to restore fertility to the kingdom. Usually, the hero is forced into a real or psychological hell and is forced to uncover the worst truths, quite often concerning his own faults. Once the hero is at his lowest point, he must accept personal responsibility to return to the world of the living.
The Fall • This describes the descent from a higher to a lower state of being. The experience involves a defilement and/or loss of innocence and bliss. It is often accompanied by expulsion from a kind of paradise or homeland as penalty for disobedience.
Nature vs. the Mechanistic World • Nature is good, while technology and society are often evil.
Battle of Good and Evil • This is the battle between two primal forces. Mankind shows eternal optimism in the continual triumph of good over evil despite great odds.
The Ritual • This is the actual ceremony the initiate must experience that will mark his rite of passage into another state.
The Magic Weapon • This symbolizes the extraordinary quality of the hero because only the hero can wield the weapon or use it to its full potential. It is usually given to the hero by a mentor figure.
The Unhealable Wound • This wound is either physical or psychological and cannot be fully healed. The wound always aches and often drives the sufferer to desperate measures.
Symbolic archetype: • An object or place that has a universal symbolism
Light vs. Darkness • Light usually suggests goodness, renewal, or intellectual illumination; darkness implies the unknown, evil, or despair.
Water vs. Desert • Because water is necessary for growth, it commonly appears as a birth or rebirth symbol. Desert would imply infertility.
Heaven vs. Hell • The dwelling places of primordial forces that control the world, either physical or psychological.
Haven vs. Wilderness • Places of safety contrast sharply with dangerous places of wilderness.
Fire vs. Ice • Fire represents knowledge, light, life, and rebirth. Ice represents ignorance, darkness, and death.
Innate Wisdom vs. Educated Stupidity • Some characters exhibit wisdom and understanding of situations instinctively as opposed to those supposedly in charge.
Supernatural Intervention • The gods intervene on the side of the hero or sometimes against him.
Character archetype: • Includes common familiar individuals
The Hero • The main character, the hero’s mother is a virgin, the circumstances around his birth are mysterious, or some attempt was made to kill him. He is spirited away and raised by foster parents. We learn little about his childhood, but upon reaching manhood, he returns to his kingdom. He eventually becomes a leader after triumphing over some other man or beast, but then he loses favor with the gods. He meets an untimely death, usually at the top of a hill, and isn’t buried, but has at least one holy sepulcher.
The Initiates • These are young heroes who, prior to their quests, must endure some training ceremony. They are usually innocent and often wear white.
Mentor • This individual serves as a teacher or counselor to the initiates.
Mentor-Pupil Relationship • The mentor teaches by example the skills needed to survive the quest.
Father-Son Conflict • Tension often results from separation during childhood or from an external source when the individuals meet as men.
Hunting Group of Companions • This is a group of loyal companions willing to face any number of perils in order to be together.
Loyal Retainers • These individuals are somewhat like servants who are heroes, themselves. Their duty is to protect the hero and reflect the nobility of the hero.
Friendly Beast • This shows that nature is on the side of the hero.
The Devil Figure • Satan, incarnate, this character offers worldly goods, fame, or knowledge in exchange for the soul.
The Evil Figure with the Ultimately Good Heart • This is a redeemable devil figure who is saved by the nobility or love of the hero.
The Scapegoat • This is an animal or human whose death in a public ceremony expiates some taint or sin that has been visited on the community. This death often makes the scapegoat a more powerful force.
The Outcast • This is a figure who is banished from a social group or place for some crime against his fellow man.
The Earthmother • This character, often dressed in earth tones, offers spiritual and emotional nourishment and is symbolic to fruition and purity.
The Temptress • Characterized by sensuous beauty, this woman is one to whom the protagonist is physically attracted.
The Platonic Ideal • This woman is a source of strength and a spiritual ideal for whom the protagonist has an emotional or spiritual rather than a physical attraction.
The Damsel in Distress • The lost or endangered woman who must be rescued by the hero.
The Star-crossed Lovers • These two characters are engaged in a love affair that is fated to end tragically due to the disapproval of society, friends, or family.
The Creature of Nightmare • This is a monster usually summoned from the deepest, darkest part of the human psyche to threaten the life of the hero.
Thematic archetype: • A recurring theme: good can overcome evil, people can redeem themselves, or the dead can communicate from “beyond”
1. The Quest • Situational
2. The White Robe • Symbolic
3. The Battle between Good and Evil • Situational
4. The Hero • Character
6. The Friendly Beast • Character
7. The Outcast • Character