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Archetypes in literature

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Scott Bennett

on 27 September 2018

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Transcript of Archetypes in literature

story telling

Everyone is the hero in his or her own story. What kind of hero are you?
Villains, enemies, opponents... Who are you up against?
Neutral Characters
How do they pick sides?
Epic Hero
An epic hero is based in history, myth, and legend. He is often connected to a god (or is often even the son of a god, such as Zeus), although he lives his life among mortals.
Romantic Hero
The Romantic hero is less conventional than the epic hero. Many Romantic heroes have been somehow rejected by society or are otherwise non-conventional in their ideas and ways of life - some might be recluses, some might be obsessed with a lost love.
They are often innocent but intuitive, and more alienated or disillusioned than the epic hero.
A hero who is does not exhibit admirable qualities. They can be selfish, cowardly, foolish, or violent. They might have a noble motivation, but are willing to break laws in order to reach the desired outcome.

The alter-ego of the hero. If the hero is selfless, the villain is selfish (Superman and Lex Luther). If the hero is rational and level headed, the villain is wild and unpredictable (Batman and Joker). Shadows are villains that represent the opposite of the hero. In some cases shadows are even family members like an evil twin, or jealous uncle.
The Creature
The Creature/Predator – This nightmarish exaggeration of a wild animal plays on our deepest fears of being eaten by something we never quite saw. We see this in literature that includes vampires and werewolves. In the movies we have seen giant sharks, anacondas, spiders, and aliens.
The Redemptive Villain
Care Takers
The Matriarch/Patriarch – This mother/father/guardian is the strong-armed leader of the family. The dark side of this archetype is controlling, meddlesome and never sees his/her children as quite good enough. The good side of this archetype is loving, supportive and strong – a real leader, willing to take a bullet for the family.
The Best Friend or
Hunting Companion
This loyal companion or companions are regular folks are the moral centers of our hero. They never let the hero get distracted or lost, and they often pull the hero to the side to counsel him. They are dependable, honest, soft-hearted and will always “be there" even after an argument.
Mentors often serve as the hero’s GPS. They are the hero’s conscience and teacher. They motivate the hero to achieve their goals, plant ideas in the hero’s mind that later on the hero draws upon, or initiate the hero into the mysteries of life and love. They also train the hero so that he may have the skills to face dangers he will encounter on his quest.
The epic hero is usually on a quest or voyage, where he faces trials and adversaries that change him in ways that reflect the morals and values of the society from which he came.
Truly evil, the devil speaks with charm and poise and offers the hero everything he might want in order to tempt him away from his course. The devil is bent only on conquest and destruction. He seeks out weakness, and makes contracts and in the end offers only pain.
A bad guy with a good heart. Think the Grinch and Darth Vader. These characters redeem themselves at the end of the story by aiding the hero in a time of need. Often times these characters become villains after betraying the hero or hero's cause.
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