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Archetype Examples

An archetype is a symbol, usually an image, which recurs often enough in literature to be recognizable as an element of one's literary experience as a whole. Carl Jung used the term "archetype" to refer to the generalized patterns of images that form the world of human representations in recurrent motifs, passing through the history of all culture. Archetypal literary criticism argues that archetypes determine the form and function of literary works, that a text's meaning is shaped by cultural and psychological myths. Archetypes are the unknowable basic forms personified or concertized in these recurring images.

Since archetypes are rooted in the collective unconscious, they may be conceived through the psychic activity of any individual, be it in the form of dreams, art works, the ancient monuments of religious activity, or the contemporary images of commercial advertising. Such archetypes as the "innocent babe," the "unheeded prophet," the "philosopher's stone," and the "heavenly ascent" are repeated in numerous works of cultural creation. Other common archetypes and recognizable character types such as the trickster or the hero, symbols such as the apple or snake, or images such as crucifixion are all laden with meaning already when employed in a particular work.
-General Maximus
-William Wallace
-King Leonidas

Meaning: The Warrior - This archetype is described as an aggressive, skillful, loyal, disciplined, and often emotionally detached male figure. These brave men fight for honor or to protect and serve that of which they believe in strongly; whether it be a home, a love, or ideal. Today the Warrior archetype lives on in our reverence for those who serve in the armed forces. Properly tapping into the Warrior's energy provides a man with an unsurpassed power source which will fuel him to reach his goals, fight for worthy causes, achieve greatness, and leave a lasting legacy.
Warrior Male Character Hero
Tragedy
Meaning: The tragedy is the consequences of human overreaching and egotism
Story
Comedy
Meaning: The plot of a comedy involves some kind of confusion that must be resolved before the hero and heroine can be united in love.
Story
Voyage and Return
Meaning: Stories of normal protagonists who are suddenly thrust into strange and alien worlds and must make their way back to normal life once more.
Story
Rags to Riches
Meaning: A modest and moral but downtrodden character achieves a happy ending when their natural talents are displayed to the world at large. In the real world this applies to anyone with an undeniably incredible talent who wants to break through and be successful.
Story
Overcoming the Monster
Meaning: The hero must destroy the monster to restore balance to the world. In the real world this could be overcoming an addiction, debt, beating an illness or any thing else that requires something to be defeated for the hero to win.
Story
The Maze
Meaning: A puzzling dilemma or great uncertainty, search for the dangerous monster inside of oneself, or a journey into the heart of darkness.
Symbolic Symbols
Heaven vs. Hell
Meaning: Man has traditionally associated parts of the universe not accessible to him with the dwelling places of the primordial forces that govern his world. The skies and mountaintops house his gods, the bowels of the earth contain diabolic forces.
Symbolic Symbols
Nature vs. Mechanistic World
Meaning: Nature is believed to be good while technology is evil.
Symbolic Symbols
Fire and Ice
Meaning: Fire represents knowledge, light, life, and rebirth, while ice, like the desert, represents ignorance, darkness, sterility, and death.
Symbolic Symbols
Supernatural Intervention
Meaning: Spiritual beings intervene on the side of the hero or sometimes against him.
Symbolic Symbols
Innate Wisdom vs. Educated Stupidity
Meaning: Some characters exhibit wisdom and understanding of situations instinctively as opposed to those supposedly in charge. Loyal retainers often exhibit this wisdom as they accompany the hero on the journey.
Symbolic Symbols
Light vs. Darkness
Meaning: Light usually suggests hope, renewal, or intellectual illumination; darkness implies the unknown, ignorance, or despair.
Symbolic Symbols
The Unhealable Wound.
Meaning: Either a physical or psychological wound that cannot be fully healed. The wound symbolizes a loss of innocence.
Situational
Battle between Good and Evil.
Meaning: Mankind shows eternal optimism in the continual portrayal of good triumphing over evil despite great odds.
Situational
Death and Rebirth.
Meaning: This motif grows out of a parallel between the cycle of nature and the cycle of life. Thus morning and springtime represent birth, youth, or rebirth, while evening and winter suggest old age or death.
Situational Story
Archetype Meaning
An archetype is a noun that refers to a very typical example of a particular thing or person, or an original that has been imitated. Archetype, in literary criticism, a primordial image, character, or pattern of circumstances that recurs throughout literature and thought consistently enough to be considered a universal concept or situation.
Archetype Examples
The 12 archetypes.