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Archetypes

Common situations, characters, and symbols

TermDefinition
Situational archetypes the quest, the task, the journey, the fall, death and rebirth, nature vs mechanistic world, battle between good and evil
The quest hero searches for someone/something to restore the land
The task a part of the ultimate goal, little challenges throughout the quest where the hero performs a super-human deed
The journey hero tries to find truth or information, descends into physical/psychological hell and is forced to find faults; hero's lowest point, accepts responsibility, and returns home
The fall goes from higher to lower point of being, loses innocence, and is accompanied by banishment; caused by hubris (Greek: excessive pride)
Death and rebirth most common situation; cycle of nature, circle of life; morning/springtime: rebirth, night/wintertime: death
Nature vs mechanistic world nature is good; science, technology, and society are evil
Battle between good and evil good signifies eternal optimism, triumphs over great odds; evil signifies larger force/army, greater power, arrogant
Symbolic archetypes light vs dark, Heaven vs Hell, water vs desert, haven vs wilderness, the tower vs the castle, supernatural intervention, ice vs snow, whirlpool, the magic weapon
Light vs dark light suggests good, hope, renewal, and ideas; dark suggests evil, unknown, fear, and ignorance
Water vs desert water is necessary to live/grow, birth & rebirth symbol, used in baptismal services; desert is dry & arid, hard to live/never changes, self-awareness, lonely quest of meaning
Haven vs wilderness haven - place of safety; wilderness - dangerous; heroes take shelter to regain health/strength
The tower vs the castle the tower is a place of evil, symbolizes isolation; the castle is a strong place of safety, holds treasure, may be enchanted
Supernatural intervention Gods intervene on side of the hero (Aeolus gave Odysseus a bag of wings) or against the hero (Zeus crashed his boat)
Ice vs snow symbolizes death, indifferent
Whirlpool destructive power of nature, chaos
The magic weapon symbolizes extraordinary quality of hero, only hero can use it to the fullest, given to the hero by his mentor
Character archetypes the hero, the young man from the provinces, the initiates, mentors, hunting group of companions, the loyal retainer, friendly beast, the devil figure, the outcast
Woman figures earthmother, the temptress, platonic ideal, unfaithful wife, damsel in distress
Star-crossed lovers two character fall in love, disapproved of by society, friends, and family; fated to end tragically for eachother
The creature of the nightmare monster summoned by the deep, threatens life of hero/heroine, often in human or animal form
The hero goes on adventures, self-sacrifice, hard life, tries to be killed at birth, usually raised by foster parents, solves some sort of issue to save the world
The young man from the provinces spirited away at an early age and raised by strangers, considered a stranger and new problems exist when returning home
The initiates young heroes go through a ceremony or training of some kind before the quest, usually innocent and wears white
Mentors serve as a mother/father figure, guardian, teacher, or counselor; work as a role model and teach by example; typically older
Hunting group of companions companions of the hero, fiercely loyal and willing to die, will face any number of challenges to stay together
The loyal retainer duty is to protect the hero, of a lesser social class, reflect hero's nobility
Friendly beast shows nature is on the hero's side
The devil figure evil incarnate, offers something to the hero and makes a trade where the hero must give up something
The outcast figure is banished from society for a real/imagined crime against humankind, destined to become a wanderer
Earthmother symbolizes life, spiritual and emotional nourishment, wears earthly colors
The temptress sensuous beauty with dark hair and attractive body, hero is physically attracted to her, tries to cause his downfall - only want power over him
Platonic ideal source of inspiration, not usually physically attracted to her (more intellectually), spiritual ideal
Unfaithful wife married woman, sees her husband as dull of distant, attracted to more interesting and young men
Damsel in distress vulnerable, naïve, helpless; needs to be rescued by hero, often used to lure the hero
Created by: BCBundy