Monday, September 20

Archetypal Characters in Storytelling

Stereotypical characters for fiction writers.

Archetypal characters shouldnt be confused with stock characters or stereotyped characters. Weve seen all these characters prior to and will definitely see them again, stock and stereotypical characters are based on character traits; archetypes are based on the characters purpose within a story.

The hero, the coach, the partner. Were all knowledgeable about archetypal characters in storytelling. Weve seen them previously. We understand the functions they play.

Characters Function in Story

Due to the fact that they embody a personality type– habits and attitudes that weve seen before in similar characters, Stock characters feel familiar. The goon, the woman next door, and the sensible old guy or woman are all examples of stock characters. They may serve a purpose in the story (someone needs to serve the main characters at a restaurant), however what stands out is their character, which in some cases feels cliché.

How can we discriminate between an archetype, stock character, or stereotype? Lets use the Knight in Shining Armor and a Damsel in Distress as examples. The damsel works as a plot device, providing the hero with an objective (to conserve her), and the knight functions as a hero whose primary objective is to save the damsel. The function these characters carry out within a story (to be or save saved) need not be appointed to a knight or a damsel. A child could save a young puppy. A witch could conserve a wizard. Or a lifeguard could save a swimmer.

Stereotypical characters satisfy a specific function in a story. The declare signals alter or the start of an adventure. The coach imparts presents, abilities, or understanding to the hero. The limit guardian evaluates the hero or blocks the path forward.

Stereotypical characters reflect social stereotypes, which are extensively held and typically inaccurate or misleading beliefs about groups. Stereotypes happen when qualities, habits, and attitudes are assigned to an entire group.

If we eliminate the character qualities, were entrusted to the function: offer the hero someone or something to save, i.e., an archetypal function.

Stereotypical Characters from The Heros Journey

Joseph Campbell discovered stereotypical characters that exist in stories throughout time and across area. He presented his findings in the Monomyth (or Heros Journey), and Christopher Vogler later adjusted Campbells findings in his book, The Writers Journey. Lets take a look at the eight archetypes of the Heros Journey:

Shapeshifter: A character or entity whose intentions or intentions are uncertain.

Herald: Signals that an adventure (or modification) is imminent.

Shadow: The bad guy and other characters that stand in the Heros way; often they embody the Heros unwanted or negative characteristics.

Threshold Guardian: Blocks a limit that the Hero need to pass; tests the Hero.

Mentor: Teacher and guide.

Trickster: Comic relief; Tricksters are typically drivers for change.

Youll frequently see these archetypes in numerous mixes in storytelling. Some stories might not use a shapeshifter while others may have more than one trickster. A single character can embody multiple archetypes. The character that carries out the function of the Herald might likewise be a Trickster. The Mentor could function as the Threshold Guardian.

Allies: The Heros assistants and good friends.

Hero: Protagonist who undergoes a significant transformation throughout a story and who often changes the conditions of the story world for the much better.

Other Archetypal Characters

The Heros Journey isnt the only source of stereotypical characters. There are other kinds of stories and other archetypes in fiction. Heres a small tasting:

This is simply a small sampling of archetypes you may discover in fiction. You can have a lot of enjoyable recognizing archetypes, but ensure every one carries out a function instead of represents a behavior or personality type. A typical archetype Ive noticed is The Oppressor, a character who uses their power to rob other characters of their rights, liberties, and justice. The Misfit is a character that doesnt harmonize mainstream society and either discovers to fit in or ultimately finds out to be real to who they are.

Anti-hero: This is an inverted hero, the protagonist is not pleasant or takes part in unethical or despicable habits.
Audience surrogate: A stand-in for the audience, to inject concerns and ideas on behalf of the audience.
The Chosen One: A kind of hero who is predestined for greatness or disaster instead of earning it through the options they make of their own free choice.
The Cynic: This untrusting character often provides apprehension or challenges the status quo.

Utilizing Character Archetypes

Character archetypes can be available in convenient during the story advancement process. You may write a draft or overview and feel that its missing something. Maybe your story requires one of the character archetypes to mark the stages and development of your protagonists journey.

Stock characters feel familiar since they embody a personality type– habits and mindsets that weve seen prior to in similar characters. The Heros Journey isnt the only source of stereotypical characters. A common archetype Ive seen is The Oppressor, a character who utilizes their power to rob other characters of their rights, freedoms, and justice. Character archetypes can come in convenient during the story development procedure. Maybe your story needs one of the character archetypes to mark the stages and progress of your lead characters journey.

Have you ever purposefully used archetypes in your stories? Exist any character archetypes youve observed in fiction that arent pointed out here? Share your ideas by leaving a remark, and keep writing.

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