In this exercise I am to think of as many character archetypes as possible, I am then to research to find out some more.
Initial archetypes that I came up with.
- Collateral Damage (bodyguard/red shirted guys in star trek)
- Doomed Romance
- Casanova/Ladies man
- Scarlet Woman
- Ne’er do well (for example Fagin in Oliver Twist or Greengrass from drama series Heartbeat)
I found a surprising amount of character archetype examples when I started to research the topic.
Oxford Dictionaries definition is that “an archetype is ‘a very typical example of a certain person or thing”
Initially I found this table of 12 common archetypes from writerswrite.co.za.
Writers Write. (2019). Welcome to Writers Write – Writers Write. [online] Available at: https://writerswrite.co.za/ [Accessed 18 Jul. 2019].
The article then went on to further break down the 12 archetypes into ego types, self types and soul types.
The Four Ego Archetypes
1. The Innocent
Motto: Free to be you and me
Core desire: to get to paradise
Goal: to be happy
Greatest fear: to be punished for doing something bad or wrong
Strategy: to do things right
Weakness: boring for all their naive innocence
Talent: faith and optimism
The Innocent is also known as the: utopian, traditionalist, naive, mystic, saint, romantic, dreamer.
Examples of The Innocent that I could think of; Nancy(Oliver Twist), Mrs Barnum (The Greatest Showman), Neville Longbottom (Harry Potter)
2. The Orphan/Regular Guy or Gal
Motto: All men and women are created equal
Core Desire: connecting with others
Goal: to belong
Greatest fear: to be left out or to stand out from the crowd
Strategy: develop ordinary solid virtues, be down to earth, the common touch
Weakness: losing one’s own self in an effort to blend in or for the sake of superficial relationships
Talent: realism, empathy, lack of pretence
The Regular Person is also known as the: good old boy, everyman, the person next door, the realist, the working stiff, the solid citizen, the good neighbour, the silent majority.
Examples of The Orphan/ Regular Guy or Gal that I could think of; Ron Weasley (Harry Potter), Superintendent Hastings (Line of Duty), Robin Ellacourt (Cormoran Strike books)
3. The Hero
Motto: Where there’s a will, there’s a way
Core desire: to prove one’s worth through courageous acts
Goal: expert mastery in a way that improves the world
Greatest fear: weakness, vulnerability, being a “chicken”
Strategy: to be as strong and competent as possible
Weakness: arrogance, always needing another battle to fight
Talent: competence and courage
The Hero is also known as the: warrior, crusader, rescuer, superhero, the soldier, dragon slayer, the winner and the team player.
Examples of The Hero that I could think of; Rob Stark (Game of Thrones), Thomas Shelby (Peaky Blinders), Simba (The Lion King), Harry Potter (Potter franchise)
4. The Caregiver
Motto: Love your neighbour as yourself
Core desire: to protect and care for others
Goal: to help others
Greatest fear: selfishness and ingratitude
Strategy: doing things for others
Weakness: martyrdom and being exploited
Talent: compassion, generosity
The Caregiver is also known as the: saint, altruist, parent, helper, supporter.
Examples of the Caregiver that I could think of; Sybil Ramsbottom (Discworld series), Molly (Rivers of London series), Alfred the butler (Batman)
The Four Soul Archetypes
5. The Explorer
Motto: Don’t fence me in
Core desire: the freedom to find out who you are through exploring the world
Goal: to experience a better, more authentic, more fulfilling life
Biggest fear: getting trapped, conformity, and inner emptiness
Strategy: journey, seeking out and experiencing new things, escape from boredom
Weakness: aimless wandering, becoming a misfit
Talent: autonomy, ambition, being true to one’s soul
The Explorer is also known as the: seeker, iconoclast, wanderer, individualist, pilgrim.
Examples of the Explorer that I could think of; Neo (The Matrix), Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love), Jon Snow (Game of Thrones)
6. The Rebel
Motto: Rules are made to be broken
Core desire: revenge or revolution
Goal: to overturn what isn’t working
Greatest fear: to be powerless or ineffectual
Strategy: disrupt, destroy, or shock
Weakness: crossing over to the dark side, crime
Talent: outrageousness, radical freedom
The Outlaw is also known as the: rebel, revolutionary, wild man, the misfit, or iconoclast.
Examples of the Rebel that I could think of; all social superheroes ie Batman/Superman, Weasley Twins (Harry Potter), Timone+Pumba (Lion King)
7. The Lover
Motto: You’re the only one
Core desire: intimacy and experience
Goal: being in a relationship with the people, work and surroundings they love
Greatest fear: being alone, a wallflower, unwanted, unloved
Strategy: to become more and more physically and emotionally attractive
Weakness: outward-directed desire to please others at risk of losing own identity
Talent: passion, gratitude, appreciation, and commitment
The Lover is also known as the: partner, friend, intimate, enthusiast, sensualist, spouse, team-builder.
Examples of the Lover that I can think of; Romeo+Juliet, Lewis Litt (Suits), Emil (The Toymakers)
8. The Creator
Motto: If you can imagine it, it can be done
Core desire: to create things of enduring value
Goal: to realize a vision
Greatest fear: mediocre vision or execution
Strategy: develop artistic control and skill
Task: to create culture, express own vision
Weakness: perfectionism, bad solutions
Talent: creativity and imagination
The Creator is also known as the: artist, inventor, innovator, musician, writer or dreamer.
Examples of the Creator that I could think of; Kaspar (The Toymakers), Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio character in Inception), Granny Weatherwax (Discworld series)
The Four Self Archetypes
9. The Jester
Motto: You only live once
Core desire: to live in the moment with full enjoyment
Goal: to have a great time and lighten up the world
Greatest fear: being bored or boring others
Strategy: play, make jokes, be funny
Weakness: frivolity, wasting time
The Jester is also known as the: fool, trickster, joker, practical joker or comedian.
Examples of the Jester that I can think of; Weasley twins (Harry Potter), Nimitz (Honor Harrington series), Jeremy Osbourne (The Peep Show)
10. The Sage
Motto: The truth will set you free
Core desire: to find the truth.
Goal: to use intelligence and analysis to understand the world.
Biggest fear: being duped, misled—or ignorance.
Strategy: seeking out information and knowledge; self-reflection and understanding thought processes.
Weakness: can study details forever and never act.
Talent: wisdom, intelligence.
The Sage is also known as the: expert, scholar, detective, advisor, thinker, philosopher, academic, researcher, thinker, planner, professional, mentor, teacher, contemplative.
Examples of the Sage that I could think of; Dumbledore (Harry Potter), Cormoran Strike (Cormoran Strike series), Mark Darcy (Bridget Jones Diary)
11. The Magician
Motto: I make things happen.
Core desire: understanding the fundamental laws of the universe
Goal: to make dreams come true
Greatest fear: unintended negative consequences
Strategy: develop a vision and live by it
Weakness: becoming manipulative
Talent: finding win-win solutions
The Magician is also known as the: visionary, catalyst, inventor, charismatic leader, shaman, healer, medicine man.
Examples of the Magician that I could think of; Harvey Spectre (Suits), Thomas Shelby (Peaky Blinders), Samuel Vimes (Discworld Series)
12. The Ruler
Motto: Power isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.
Core desire: control
Goal: create a prosperous, successful family or community
Strategy: exercise power
Greatest fear: chaos, being overthrown
Weakness: being authoritarian, unable to delegate
Talent: responsibility, leadership
The Ruler is also known as the: boss, leader, aristocrat, king, queen, politician, role model, manager or administrator.
Note: There are four cardinal orientations: freedom, social, ego, order. The types have a place on these orientations.
Examples of The Ruler that I could think of; Cersei (Game of Thrones), Voldemort (Harry Potter), Emperor Palpatine (Star Wars)
The article then led me to another table with a longer list of Character archetypes.
In total this then gave me quite an extensive list for which I was to then come up with an example for each from an existing story and describe their function whether psychological or dramatic for the next part of the exercise.
The way I am interpreting the function of the character is to think about whether their purpose is merely to add to the action of the moment (dramatic), or if their actions satisfy some expectation of or provoke a reaction within the reader/viewer.
|Hero||Harry Potter (Harry Potter)||Psychological. For the reader to cheer on to victory.|
|Villain||Voldemort (Harry Potter)||Psychological. For the reader to want to see thwarted by the Hero.|
|Sidekick||Ron Weasley (Harry Potter)||Psychological. To support the Hero, often with their own obstacles to overcome such as Loyalty.|
|Mentor||Obi Wan Kenobi (Star Wars)||Psychological/Dramatic. To guide the Hero on the Quest. Often used as a dramatic object such as a Martyr.|
|Narrator||Narrator in non-fiction||“Often achieves its momentum not just through narrative -but also through the meditative intelligence behind the story” www.thoughtco.com ‘Narrators in Creative Nonfiction’ Accessed 02/06/2019|
|Collateral Damage||Anyone wearing a red security team vest who goes on an Away Mission in Star Trek||Dramatic. Often nameless victims to add to a body count.|
|Doomed Lover||Bellatrix LeStrange (Harry Potter)||Psychological. Engages with emotions of the reader.|
|Ladies Man||Sir Lancelot||Psychological/Dramatic. Often provides an obstacle for the Hero to overcome. Can also be the basis of a storyline in their own right, for example ‘Redemption’.|
|Ne’er do Well||Mungdungus Fletcher (Harry Potter)||Psychological. Engages with emotions of the reader in negative manner.|
|Creator||Kaspar Goodman (The Toymakers)||Psychological. Engages with the emotions of the reader. Promotes the idea that anything is possible, anything can be created with enough belief.|
|Caregiver||Molly Weasley (Harry Potter)||Psychological. Engages with emotions of the reader in a positive manner.|
|Ruler||Lord Vetenari||Psychological. Wields authority over a situation involving the Hero.|
|Jester||Fred and George Weasley (Harry Potter)||Dramatic. Amusing side-line character with often no substantial contribution to the main plot.|
|Regular Guy/Gal||Dean Thomas (Harry Potter)||Dramatic. Additional low-level character with no substantial plot involvement.|
|Lover||Lavender Brown (Harry Potter)||Dramatic/Psychological. Dependent on their place in the plot. For example, in Wuthering Heights this character archetype has substantial contribution to make and would be more Psychological than Dramatic.|
|Outlaw||Sirius Black (Harry Potter)||Psychological. Engages with the emotions of the reader/viewer often in appositive manner. Outlaws are often pitched as a figure to admire.|
|Magician||Jacques Goodman (The Toymakers)||Dramatic. Has powers beyond that deemed ordinary or explainable by the confines of the story.|
|Innocent||Neville Longbottom (Harry Potter)||Psychological. Can be used as a tool for delivering justice. A champion for the innocent and unsullied.|
|Explorer||Lara Croft||Psychological. Engages with the emotions of the reader who can relate to the urge to explore and adventure into the unknown, often restricted by available resources in the real-world.|
|Rebel||Fred and George Weasley (Harry Potter)||Psychological. Much like ‘Outlaw’. Engages with the emotions of the reader/viewer often in appositive manner. Rebels are often pitched as a figure to admire.|
|Sage||Albus Dumbledore (Harry Potter)||Psychological/Dramatic. The wise all-knowing character that assists the Hero with the delivery of warnings/wisdom/information.|
|Analyst||Sherlock Holmes||Psychological. A methodically thinking character that delivers logical explanations for dramatic situations.|
|Anti-hero||Newt Scamander||Psychological. Relatable to a lot of readers. The Hero who is forced into becoming so through situational requirements.|
|Benefactor||Tony Stark||Psychological. A resource character who enables the actions of the Hero.|
|Bully||Dudley Dursley (Harry Potter)||Psychological. A character that will provoke negative reaction in the reader and unite them with the Hero/victim.|
|Beaurocrat||Hermione Granger (Harry Potter)||Undecided. A character designed to follow the rules. Possible use as Psychological when the character is lured into new behaviour?|
|Catalyst||Princess Leah (Star Wars)||Dramatic. A character who is the key to events progressing throughout the plot.|
|Child||Peter Pan||Psycological. Relatable to all readers, everyone can remember the optimism and imagination of youth.|
|Coward||Wormtail (Harry Potter)||Psychological. Stimulates the emotions of the reader in either a positive (redemption/showing courage) or negative (betrayal of the Hero) manner.|
|Dreamer||Walter Mitty||Psychological. Engages the positive emotions of the reader. Everyone has a dream that they aspire to accomplish. Empathy with this character is simple.|
|Extraordinary Man||James Bond||Psychological/Dramatic. Engages with the aspirational emotions of the reader.|
|Gossip||Unable to think of one.||Dramatic. Secondary device that can be used in plot progression.|
|Guardian||Newt Scamander (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them)||Psychological. Protects the weak, provokes positive reactions from the reader/viewer.|
|Thrill Seeker||Unable to think of one.||Dramatic.|
|Hermit/Loner||Mad Eye Moody (Harry Potter)||Dramatic|
|Hunter/Predator||Terminator/Alien||Psychological/Dramatic. Archetype that could either be the main focus of a story or a secondary device used to advance the plot.|
|Introvert||Walter Mitty||Psychological. Could be used in an investigation of the psche or used as an ‘Awakening’ storyline.|
|Investigator||Cormoran Strike||Psychological. Often also the Hero.|
|Judge/Mediator||Unable to think of one.|
|Leader||Margaret Thatcher – The Iron Lady||Psychological. Can be used to show the many different facets required in being an effective leader.|
|Manipulator||Harvey Spectre (Suits)||Psychological. Often relatable to the audience.|
|Martyr||William Wallace – Braveheart||Dramatic. Often a sacrificial character frequently for a noble cause as seen by the character.|
|Masochist||Unable to think of one.|
|Masquerader||Unable to think of one.|
|Monster||The Incredible Hulk||Dramatic. Can be good or evil dependant on the storyline. For example, zombies vs Frankenstein.|
|Penitent||Dr Bruce Banner||Psychological. Penitent or remorseful character who wishes to atone for previous actions/constant character flaws.|
|Perfectionist||Unable to think of one.|
|Pleaser/Show-Off||PT Barnum (The Greatest Showman)||Psychological. Seeks admiration/applause from the masses.|
|Poet||Unable to think of one.|
|Rogue||Han Solo (Star Wars)||Psychological. Rogues often prove highly relatable. Can be Side-Kicks to the Hero or be of general assistance in the plot.|
|Saboteur/Betrayer||Wormtail (Harry Potter)||Dramatic. Can betray for either redemption back to the side of the good guys or fall victim to greed and betray the Hero. Not often the sole subject of a plot line.|
|Samaritan||Unable to think of one.|
|Scholar||Unable to think of one.|
|Sensualist||Christian Grey (50 Shades of Grey)|
|Slave||Dobby the House Elf (Harry Potter)||Psychological. Can be used to provoke sympathy within the reader/viewer.|
|Sycophant||Bellatrix LeStrange (Harry Potter)||Psychological. Slavish devotion|
|Temptress||The Red Witch Melisandre (Game of Thrones)||Dramatic. A temptation or obstacle for the Hero on the Quest.|
|Thief||Artful Dodger (Oliver Twist)||Dramatic. A character that takes whatever they require for personal gain. Depending on the pitch of the story could be seen in either a positive or negative light. For example in Oliver Twist the Artful Dodger provokes more sympathy than Bill Sykes.|
|Trickster/Jester||Fred and George Weasley (Harry Potter)||Psychological. An archetype that lightens the mood or brings levity to intense situations.|
|Victim||Unable to think of one.|
|Waif||Puss in Boots (Shrek)||Psychological. Appearing innocent and weak often as a deception.|