Category:Archetypal Character

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It may seem redundant at first as strictly speaking an archetype is simply an example of something, in short every trope is a story archetype. However here we are using the term in reference to a concept in Jungian Psychology of the same name.

An Archetypal Character is a character who appears over and over in legends far and wide, even in cultures that have shut themselves off from the world. The blood drinking risen dead are an Archetype as almost every culture has come up with their own legends independent of each other. Angel is an archetype: the tragic hero trying to overcome the evils of his past. Coyote is an archetype. Xena is an archetype. Any of these may be disguised as a Space Alien.

Some lit-theories classify archetypes by the role/purpose the character inhabits for the story. These classes are: Protagonist, Antagonist, Reason, Emotion, Sidekick, Skeptic, Guardian, and Contagonist.

A related concept is the "ectype", a distorted or flawed version of the archetype. For example, Batman is archetypal. He's a rich man who dedicates himself to anonymously fighting crime (protecting society) with a variety of gadgets. Many of the characters in Watchmen are ectypes based on this archetype.

Additionally, many characters combine aspects of various archetypes to form more complex characterisations:

  • Heroic Messiah—A savior who isn't above cracking some heads if needed; Sisko on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha also qualifies by her patented The Power of Friendship delivered by kicking lots of ass method. Also from TV: The teaser trailer for 24 (see: http://24trailer.com/ ) unveiled in late October 2006 suggests that in this season Jack Bauer may be presented as a Heroic Messiah figure. Also, the Doctor from Doctor Who in most of his forms.
  • Heroic Trickster—A character who's just as happy pummeling villains with his wit as with his fists; Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Spider-Man, the Doctor.
  • Messianic Anti-Hero—See Refusal of the Call. A character dragged kicking and screaming to his destiny to save us all; Thomas Covenant The Unbeliever in Lord Foul's Bane. Or, if we're going to be literary, the prophet Jonah from the Old Testament. Ichigo Kurosaki from Bleach also qualifies, as does Rincewind, who has accidentally saved the world more times than he ever wanted to.
    • Moses also came up with a lot of excuses NOT to go liberate the Israelites. But Lord, I don't speak Hebrew. But Lord, nobody is going to believe me. But Lord...
  • Heroic Seeker—Out to learn The Truth, even if he has to beat it out of someone. Magnum, P.I. and many detective characters.
  • Heroic Messiah with Oedipal issues—Luke Skywalker of Star Wars.
  • Hidden Depths is what happens when two opposing archetypes are combined to throw off the viewer.
  • Messianic Seeker - Locke from Lost. The Others have been waiting for him, but they're the ones who must answer his questions about the island.