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Copy of Archetypes

Literary archetypes: Archetypal settings, Archetypal plot, Archetypal characters, Archetypal symbols

Elizabeth Shults

on 12 September 2013

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Transcript of Copy of Archetypes

Archetypes are fundamental “building blocks” of storytelling. They are generalized patterns that occur in literature. Certain characters, plots and settings show up over and over in stories from all over the world and in all time periods. These archetypes have special symbolic meanings. Archetypes represent universal symbols of bigger ideas.
Literary Archetypes
Archetypal Settings
Archetypal Plots
Archetypal Characters
The River
The Garden
The Forest/Wilderness
The Sea
The Island
The Mountain
The Castle or
Gothic Mansion
The Underworld
The Small Town
The Wasteland
Water represents the importance of life
Represents life's journey, or passage of time
Renewal, Rebirth, transformation
It could also mean passing into the after life
The River Styx from greek mythology
In Greek lit. symbolizes:
the female body
Post bible:
Forbidden Paradise
In Japan:
Traditionally represents:
A dangerous world
A solitary life
An uncontrolled place
Modern representations:
A precious resource
A reconnection with roots
An escape from industry
The dichotomy of good and evil
Dangerous force of nature
Keeper of treasures
the ending place for all souls
separation from society
loss of morals
A barren place
A test of character
will the character emerge stronger or insane
A journey or initiation
If intact represents:
High Ideals
If dilapidated represents:
caves, tunnels, mazes, labyrinths, or any "depths"

The Quest
The Task
The Journey
The Fall
Battle of Good vs. Evil
The Magic Weapon
Loss of Innocence
The Initiation
The Rite of Passage
This plot concentrates on finding an object, such as the Holy Grail, that will restore fertility to a wasteland, health to the ill, or plenty to the impoverished.
This refers to a certain superhuman feat that must be accomplished in order for the hero to reach his goal.
Characters must go through a journey or travel which sends the hero through many trials and dangers in which he must face his fears in order to restore happiness, fertility, justice, or harmony to his community. The hero often must endure a wasteland or underworld where he/she is “reborn”.
Many characters who begin this plot line in a high safe place, find themselves suffering from a personal weakness that causes them to fall from grace. A fall is usually accompanied by either a redemption or tragedy.
This is a common plot that is pretty self-explanatory. Usually good triumphs.
Often related to a task, this plot relies on the hero’s ability to learn how to use a piece of equipment, possible a magic sword, or a computer program. The use of this magic solves the main conflict and proves the worth of the hero.
The basis of all romantic plot lines
– A good person, usually young and inexperienced, sees and experiences something of the world and learns how things really work.
This is an organized event or ritual in which a young person officially becomes an adult.
This situation refers to a moment, usually psychological, in which an individual becomes mature and accepts a certain responsibility.

Typically, a hero gets a calling or message or sign that sacrifices must be made and he/she has to grow up.
The Hero
The Reluctant Hero
The Tragic Hero
The Outcast
The Trickster
Earth Mother
Old Hag
The Temptress
Damsel in Distress
The Villain
The Doppelganger
The Initiates
Young Person from the Provinces
Hunting group of companions
The Friendly Beast
The Star-Crossed Lovers
The Creature of Nightmare
In its simplest form, this character is the one ultimately who may fulfill a necessary task and who will restore fertility, harmony, and/or justice to a community. The hero character is the one who typically experiences an initiation, who goes the community’s ritual (s), et cetera.
He does not willingly accept his fate, he is initially forced into a situation where he is has no choice but to act on his heroic instincts and he eventually takes on the role of hero.
He exibits all the traits of a traditional hero except he has a tragic flaw that leads to his demise, be it death or loss of his social station.
This hero is taken away as an infant or youth and raised by strangers. He or she later returns home as a stranger and able to recognize new problems and new solutions.
These individuals serve as teachers or counselors to the initiates. Sometimes they work as role models and often serve as father or mother figure. They teach by example the skills necessary to survive the journey and quest.
These loyal companions are willing to face any number of perils in order to be together.
These animals assist the hero and reflect that nature is on the hero’s side
These are young heroes who, prior to the quest, must endure some training and ritual. They are usually innocent at this stage.
This character is symbolic of fulfillment, abundance, and fertility; offers spiritual and emotional nourishment to those who she contacts; often depicted in earth colors, with a fuller figure.
The character that opposes the hero, he is often selfish and seeks power. In his quest for power he harms people the hero swears to protect.
An old woman, usually a witch, she often lives in solitude and cares only for herself. She uses her magic to hurt others in order further her own agenda.
Looks exactly the same as the hero, but is evil.

evil twin
split personality
A real beauty, this female character always gets her man. Her stunning beauty and ability to manipulate men can cause a hero to fall into her trap. Sometimes this character is just evil, but most of the time this woman has had to use this technique to survive or to get ahead.
This monster, physical or abstract, is summoned from the deepest, darkest parts of the human psyche to threaten the lives of the hero/heroine. Often it is a perversion or desecration of the human body.
These two character are engaged in a love affair that is fated to end in tragedy for one or both due to the disapproval of society, friends, family, or the gods.
This figure is banished from a community for some crime (real or imagined). The outcast is usually destined to become a wanderer.
A human or animal character that plays dubious jokes or tricks, makes fun or is made fun of, and may be camouflaged as one of the demigods of a religious tradition. It often seems that he plays tricks for his own amusement rather than for malicious reasons.
An archetype with two distinct points of view, the damsel in distress may be a true victim who cannot save herself. Alternatively she may be a weak-minded idiot who is too stupid or vain to save herself. Either way she is vulnerable and must be saved by the hero. Because the hero knows this, the damsel is often used as a trap.
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