Archetypes
What is an archetype?

Psychologist Carl Jung and scholar Joseph
Campbell “propagated” the concept of
archetypes but did not create it. They both
recognized the recurring pattern of character
types, symbols, relationships, and situations in
stories across time periods.



related terms= “motif” in mythological work
“categories of imagination” in religion
Jung= “collective unconscious” as the residual
mind of a group of people
Definition
Archetypes are common character types,
symbols and relationships that appear
often in stories modern and ancient.
 The concept of archetypes is an
indispensable tool for understanding the
purpose or function of characters in a
story.

Definition cont.

They are like "masks" that characters
(including the hero) wear at different points of
the story. There are many types, but we will
focus on the following broad ones:







Hero
Mentor
Herald/Harbinger
Threshold Guardian
Shape shifter
Trickster/Fool
Shadow
7 Types of Hero
Willing
 Unwilling
 Cynical Anti-Hero
 Tragic
 Group-Oriented
 Catalyst
 Lone

The Hero: 7 types
Willing Hero
This is a hero who knows he or she is a
hero, and embraces this role.
Examples: King Arthur, Hercules
The Hero: 7 types
Unwilling Hero:
This is a “normal” person who is thrust into a
situation in which he or she must become a
hero. The Unwilling Hero usually turns out to
be very brave, wise, and lucky.
Examples: Shrek, Neo from The Matrix, Frodo
Baggins, David in Montana 1948
The Hero: 7 types
Cynical Anti-Hero
Usually a “bad boy” (or girl) type, who lives on
outskirts of society and is an outsider, but has a good
heart.
Examples: Han Solo, Huckleberry Finn, Robin Hood,
Holden Caulfield, John McClain in Die Hard
The Hero: 7 types
Tragic Hero
A great person who has one tragic flaw which
ultimately brings about his or her downfall. This kind
of hero makes the audience feel pity for him or her.
Examples: Hamlet, Darth Vader, Oedipus, Othello
The Hero: 7 types
Group-Oriented Hero
This is a hero whose main function is to lead some
sort of group to victory against the villain. This kind of
hero can be a willing or unwilling hero as well.
Examples: William Wallace from Braveheart, Aragorn
from Lord of the Rings, Morpheus
The Hero: 7 types
Catalyst Hero
This kind of hero is his or her own mentor, and his/her
personality changes very little during the journey.
Instead, the Catalyst Hero changes everything around
him or her, or might change appearances him- or
herself. The mentor for a Catalyst Hero is not external
(like Yoda), but his or her internal code of beliefs.
Examples: Superman, Spiderman, most comic book
heroes, most characters Clint Eastwood plays, The
Punisher
The Hero: 7 types
Lone Hero
Like the Anti-Hero, also usually an outsider.
This hero works alone, and may be mysterious.
Examples: Indiana Jones, Xena, most
American West cowboys
Archetypes
We know them when we see them
without even realizing that we know
them.
Archetypes are
 Identifiable
 Consistent
 Powerful
 Innate (from within)
Archetypes
Never confuse archetypes with
stereotypes. Stereotypes are
 Misguided
 Erratic
 Weak
Archetypes in Heroic Journeys
The Hero:

GOOD
The main character but NOT always admirable.
(Not always saving puppies from burning
buildings)
 audience identifies with him/her
 willing to sacrifice on behalf of others.
 Examples: David in Montana, Hamlet in Hamlet,
Frodo in LOR, many others
Archetypes in Heroic Journeys
The Mentor:




GOOD
The wise advisor/teacher to the Hero.
Has two responsibilities: teaching the hero life lessons,
and giving gifts (often a magical weapon) to the hero.
Often the Mentor is a wise older man or woman
Examples: Yoda, Morpheus (Matrix), Splinter,
Cinderella’s fairy godmother
Archetypes in Heroic Journeys
The Shadow:
 In direct conflict with the Hero.
EVIL
 Represents darkness--the Dark Side.
 Could also represent the fears of society.
 Could be a person (villain) or an idea (racism).
 Could be external (outside the Hero, like a villain), or
internal (inside the hero, like a tragic flaw).
 Examples: Wicked Witch in Wizard of Oz, Claudius in
Hamlet, Iago in Othello, also Hamlet’s indeciciveness
(internal), Othello’s jealousy, Racism (idea),
Procrastination (internal).
Archetypes in Heroic Journeys
The Threshold Guardian:






EVIL
obstacle in the hero’s way.
Often an evil henchman of the Shadow.
Isn’t always a character—could be mountain, bad weather, bad
luck etc.
tests the hero’s skills/willingness to continue
Can always be overcome by the Hero, and may even be turned
into the Hero’s ally
Examples: The mountain, orcs, Gollum, in LOR, Flying
monkeys in Wizard of Oz
Archetypes in Heroic Journeys
The Herald or Harbinger:

GOOD or EVIL
A messenger who gives the Hero new information.
 Issues challenges
 Announces the coming of a significant change.
 Influences the hero to start the journey.
 Examples: The messenger in Cinderella, Hagrid in
Harry Potter
Archetypes in Heroic Journeys
The Trickster:

GOOD or EVIL
A crazy or comic character—adds comedy even in a
serious story.
 Creates mischief just for the sake of mischief, even if
it causes trouble for the Hero.
 Often a sidekick of Hero or Villain.
 Examples: The mice in Cinderella, Rafiki in Lion
King, Dobby in Harry Potter, Timon and Pumbaa in
The Lion King
Archetypes in Heroic Journeys
????????????
The Shapeshifter
 Mysterious, alliances are unclear—Sometimes
actually changes shapes (the love interest?)
 The Hero often wonders: “Is he/she on my side or
not?”
 We find out at the end of the story
 Lures the Hero on to his/her doom or reward
 Examples: Sauruman and Gollum in LOR, Ursula in
Little Mermaid, Prof. Snape in Harry Potter,
Aladdin

As you watch, please fill out the archetype
chart VERY thoroughly. Beware of pop quiz!
 When we are done, you will use what you
learned and apply it to your novel.
 When we are done watching and reviewing
archetypes in this film, you will complete page
2 of your packet VERY thoroughly for your
novel.
 To get at least a D, this must be filled out to
my expectations. More is better!
Absent yesterday?

You need to see me for your one-pager. You
have to complete it for me in class. You will do
this when we are done with the notes.
 Syllabus due Friday or Monday after spring
break.
 I need movie selections from those who didn’t
turn one in. Please be specific about WHICH
version if you are picking a film from a series.
 Books must be done by the time you return
from spring break.