Archetypal heroes

The root words are archein, which means "original or old"; and typos, which means "pattern, model or type". The combined meaning is an "original pattern" of which all other similar persons, objects, or concepts are derived, copied, modeled, or emulated. The psychologist, Carl Gustav Jung, used the concept of archetype in his theory of the human psyche.

Archetypal heroes

What is a Character Archetype? Simply put, an archetype is something that reoccurs in literature and in art. This something can be a symbol, a theme, a setting, or a character. This article focuses on character archetypes—that is, character types that pop up across all genres of literature, both classic and contemporary.

Everyone is familiar with these guys, because everywhere we turn, there they are! The hero is always the protagonist though the protagonist is not always a hero.

Archetype - Examples and Definition of Archetype

Traditionally speaking, the hero has been male, though fortunately there are more female heroes appearing in contemporary literature think Katniss Everdeen and Lisbeth Salander. The hero is after some ultimate objective and must encounter and overcome obstacles along the way to achieving this goal.

He or she is usually morally good, though that goodness will likely be challenged throughout the story. That and the fact that they are often responsible for saving a bunch of people or hobbits, or wizards, or what have you.

Examples of hero archetypes in literature: Sir Gawain, after stepping up to the plate and taking on a challenge that none of the other knights were brave or dumb enough to take on, must go on an adventure that is almost certain to end in his death. He faces many challenges along the way—most important, there is a very tempting and very married lady that Sir Gawain must resist.

Harry represents the hero archetype almost perfectly. Like many classic heroes, Harry conquers death, completes his mission, and never waivers from his true self, despite all the hardships he must face. Like many hero archetypes in literature before him, Harry is ethical almost to a fault.

His friends accuse him of being a martyr, a role that often goes along with the hero territory.

6 thoughts on “Archetypal characters in the Hero’s Journey”

The mentor is a common archetype in literature. The mentor is usually old, and this person often has some kind of magical abilities or a much greater breadth of knowledge than others possess.

Mentors help heroes along their journeys, usually by teaching them how to help themselves though mentors sometimes directly intervene in extreme situations. The mentor often ends up dying but is sometimes resurrected or revisited even after death.

Examples of mentor archetypes in literature: He knows when to help; he knows when to back off. The everyman character archetype often acts as the stand-in for the audience.

Archetypal heroes

This character archetype is just a normal person, but for some reason, he or she must face extraordinary circumstances. The everyman can be the protagonist or a supporting figure.

What is an archetypal hero

Unlike the hero, the everyman does not feel a moral obligation to his or her task; instead, these characters often find themselves in the middle of something they have barely any control over.

Examples of everyman archetypes in literature: John Watson is the epitome of the everyman archetype. Normal dude, extraordinary circumstances. Characters representing the innocent archetype are often women or children.

These character archetypes are pure in every way. Though often surrounded by dark circumstances, the innocent archetype somehow has not become jaded by the corruption and evil of others. Examples of innocent archetypes in literature: There are several examples of characters fitting the innocent archetype in literature both old and new.

Archetypal heroes

Prim is a beautiful young girl who retains her innocence and love for others, even after seeing her district destroyed and her sister nearly killed by the Capitol. Her faith in people never seems to waiver, despite the fact that, other than her sister Katniss, people have never done much good for Prim.

The villain wants to stop the hero archetype from achieving his or her goal. The villain is often evil, though there is often a reason—however warped that reason may be—why villains are so bad.

Villains often want nothing more than to control and have power over everyone and everything around them, probably because most of them are secretly strongly motivated by fear. Villains are often the moral foil of the hero: Examples of villain archetypes in literature:The Archetypal Hero What Do Luke Skywalker, Simba, King Arthur, Moses, and William Wallace all have in common?

An archetype is a universal symbolic pattern. Examples of archetypal characters are the femme fatale, the trickster, the great mother and father, and the dying god.

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These villains have one thing in common: their actions work directly against those of the heroes, but they also create the need for the heroes' actions in the first place. Conclusion There are many more character archetypes in literature to learn about.


It’s unusual for stories to have exactly one character per archetype. Because archetypes are simply roles a character can take, Obi Won and Yoda can both be mentors, J can be a hero and a trickster, and Effie Trinket can be first a herald, then later an ally. The Nephilim were on the earth in those days and afterward, when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them.

They were heroes of old, men of renown. THE HERO’S JOURNEY Joseph Campbell, an American mythological researcher, wrote a famous book entitled The Hero with a Thousand Faces. In his lifelong .

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