36 comments posted
Symbolism or Archetype

I agree that Romeo and Juliet are an archetype, but they can also be regarded as an example of symbolism. What exactly is the difference between archetypes and symbolism?

Posted by Anonymous on Tue, 09/18/2018 - 15:40
Archetypes are wide-spanning

Archetypes are wide-spanning and can often be found across a multitude of literary works. For example, the same archetypes present in Romeo and Juliet can be interpreted to repeat across a multitude of other works. Symbolism is "local" to whomever created the symbolism; just because an author employed a set of keys as a symbol of wisdom, does not mean all set of keys in all stories are a symbol of wisdom.

- Symbolism is the instance, where archetypes are the collection
- Symbolism is unique, where archetypes are general
- Symbolism prescribes relationships, archetypes describes them

Posted by Anonymous on Tue, 10/09/2018 - 12:52
Quest as an archetype...

Does it mean like the chase of something?

Posted by Anonymous on Sat, 01/23/2016 - 20:28

the quest is a motif, as in Heroic quest
but the Hero is an archetype

Posted by Anonymous on Sun, 12/25/2016 - 03:30
Archetypes and Stock Characters

A character that can be seen as an archetype is often referred to as a "stock character." This character regularly appears in literary works and is often assigned typical attributes commonly associated with that type of character. For example: The wicked witch in a fairy tale, the damsel in distress.

Posted by Anonymous on Thu, 10/08/2015 - 04:06
Archetypes can be characters

Archetypes can be characters or structures. Most often they are referenced as character types (hero, villain, sage, villain-hero, tragic hero, etc), but archetypes can also be structural patterns within a literary framework. Examples of structural archetypes include the quest, the fall, the journey, and the ritual story lines. Ultimately, an archetype is merely a recognizable pattern and can be applied to thematic elements, plot sequences, and character types.

Posted by Anonymous on Thu, 07/16/2015 - 16:26

Models after which characters are often crafted (sage, villain, hero, etc.

Posted by Anonymous on Wed, 06/10/2015 - 18:58

The bad guy and then the sheriff. Would that be considered an archetype?

Posted by Anonymous on Tue, 04/14/2015 - 17:10
Allusion or Archetype?

Aren't Romeo and Juliet allusions? Are they both?

Posted by Anonymous on Fri, 12/05/2014 - 02:59
Romeo and Juliet

they are the archetypical "star-crossed lovers"
an allusion must allude to something - refer to some readily identifiable other

Posted by Anonymous on Sun, 12/25/2016 - 03:34
they are neither

they are neither

Posted by Anonymous on Wed, 08/31/2016 - 04:15
They are archetype

Um actually they are an archetype buddy.

Posted by Anonymous on Wed, 09/20/2017 - 16:55
Romeo and Juliet isn't a true

Romeo and Juliet isn't a true story

Posted by Anonymous on Sat, 02/07/2015 - 20:37
duh, but that doesnt mean its

duh, but that doesnt mean its not an archetype...

Posted by Anonymous on Thu, 10/15/2015 - 01:19

But aren't archetypes characters and their types?

Posted by Anonymous on Tue, 10/18/2016 - 18:44
if they were being referenced

if they were being referenced in another book theyd be an allusion lol

Posted by Anonymous on Sun, 12/14/2014 - 07:07


Posted by Anonymous on Mon, 10/20/2014 - 13:59

I would consider an archetype to be related to elements in stories, as well as themes.

For instance, the element of the Hero's Journey can be seen in everything, from Star Wars, to The Matrix, to Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. This is what I see as an archetype. Also, themes can be archetypes. For instance, Romeo and Juliet carries themes of love, passion, fate, and death. And what came along recently that also bears these themes? The Fault in Our Stars.

That's what I see as an archetype :)

Posted by Anonymous on Thu, 07/17/2014 - 23:20
Legend of Sleepy Hollow

So would Brom Bones and Crane also be archetypes?

Posted by Anonymous on Wed, 01/08/2014 - 03:43
Why wouldn't these two

Why wouldn't these two characters be considered archetypes? They were created by Irving as reflections of the dichotomy of Britain and the fledgling US. Each character represents an archetype - maybe not the Jungian archetype - but the archetype of each country's values and belief system - Crane the school teacher, wise and venerable, and Brom Bones the brash upstart who is willing to go to extraordinary means to achieve his goals.

Posted by Anonymous on Sun, 05/17/2015 - 17:34
sleepy hollow


Posted by Anonymous on Thu, 02/06/2014 - 18:48
Are Christ figures examples

Are Christ figures examples of archetypes?

Posted by Anonymous on Fri, 08/30/2013 - 21:06
no you are really wrong

no you are really wrong

Posted by Anonymous on Fri, 09/16/2016 - 15:26


Posted by Anonymous on Sun, 10/05/2014 - 04:35
christ figures are definite archetypes

christ figures as are angels, demons are all archetypes
joseph campbell is a great source --easy to understand if you watch Bill Moyer's wonderful discussions with him

Posted by Anonymous on Mon, 01/13/2014 - 06:01
yes and no

An archetype is most easily understandable as a symbol that is understood by every culture on the planet. Yet it's not really a symbol.

google examples of archetypes and google Carl Jung

Posted by Anonymous on Wed, 01/30/2013 - 00:36
Not all cultures are the same

There are some archetypes that may cross over various cultures but what one may consider to be the character traits of a hero in one culture may not be the same character traits deemed to be heroic in another culture. For example, in the Chinese epic, "The Journey of the Monkey" (sometimes just referenced as the "Monkey"), most Americans would safely believe that the Monkey character is the hero because the Monkey embodies bravery and strength; he is the gallant, magical protector of the Buddhist Monk while the Buddhist Monk journeys to India and back to China. In truth, the hero of the folklore/epic (depending on whose opinion you choose to accept) is actually the Buddhist Monk because he embodies the Buddhist belief of complete detachment. When confronted with thieves on the crossroad, the Buddhist Monk does nothing to safe himself or his personal belongings; whereas, the Monkey fends off the thieves and saves the Buddhist Monk and the belongings.

It is the complete different of cultures that creates a confusion for English readers. The Monkey seems heroic but, in relation to the culture that created and embraced "The Journey of the Monkey," the true hero is the Buddhist Monk. For that matter, the Monkey has the characteristics that are thought less of, and his role in the story is to teach people how not to behave.

To think in terms of the entire planet, Archetypes becomes a much different discussion; however, in terms of the average Archetype to American readers, the definition on this site is a good one. For students who are confused on this subject, you can also place Archetypes in relation to movies for better understanding. In film, you know a "bad boy" when one is presented and you know a "mean girl" when she snarls with an endearing yet cold smile. Though a "mean girl" may have a different name and come from a different region/time frame from one movie to the next, you know her when she is presented on film. In each film, the "mean girl" is made up of the same ingredients. In literature (and the term is also use in films), Archetypes are created with the same ingredients from text to text.

Posted by Anonymous on Tue, 03/19/2013 - 18:03
Cultural archetypes

AS I read your explanation of "The Journey of the Monkey," it does seem to me that the Buddhist monk IS the archetypal hero according to how I teach literary archetypes. The monkey defending the monk appears to be the "Friendly Beast" or "Loyal Retainer" archetype who also has heroic qualities but is not the central protagonist to the story. The "bad boy" and "mean girl" you mention sound like stereotypes (flat characters that don't change). Archetypes appear in all stories and are usually fully developed characters - a character in a story often plays more than one archetypal purpose in regards to the symbolism of the human psyche as introduced by Carl Jung. I believe that understanding the archetypes in stories transcends culture and operates metaphorically for all humans, just as "theme" is something in a story that applies to all humans.

Posted by Anonymous on Wed, 11/19/2014 - 00:15
Chinese Title

It might also be worth mentioning that the Chinese title for the tale is "Journey to the West". The translated English title puts unnecessary emphasis on the monkey character.

Posted by Anonymous on Thu, 08/01/2013 - 20:29

Its more like... the basic love story has been recreated throughout history. Same scheme. Different characters.

Posted by Anonymous on Sun, 11/04/2012 - 00:24
Not quite

It's more like the stock characters- the Hero, the Mentor, the Love Interest and the Trickster. Characters only be an example of an archetype if they share certain characteristics with the definition of that particular archetype.
As always, I could be wrong. There does seem to be some confusion on this page among others over what exactly it means.

Posted by Anonymous on Sat, 02/04/2012 - 07:42

This is just how I see it, just written better. Ha.

More examples:

Princess Leia (Star Wars) is the loyal, aggressive, tomboy princess. Archetype.

Child Catcher (Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang) is the creepy, maniacal, government hired villain. Archetype.

James Bond (James Bond) is the smooth talking, ladykiller, street smart, border line criminal that we hate to love. Archetype.

Posted by Anonymous on Mon, 10/22/2012 - 15:14

you mean like Cleopatra and beauty?

Posted by Anonymous on Sat, 10/01/2011 - 16:49
More Info...

Archetypes are immediately identifiable and even though they run the risk of being overused, they are still the best examples of their kind. - Yea can you please provide more information of this I mean i barley understand it right now.

Posted by Anonymous on Sun, 08/28/2011 - 07:31
Well, what I understood is

Well, what I understood is that archetype is like talking about a concept, person, or an object and explaining its impact(s) on the surrounding.

For example, if you'd talk about how a rich person wouldn't give away a penny to anyone and keep all his money for himself only, then when the time comes and he goes bankrupt and no one helps him when he pleads for help...the archetype here is greed. You're trying to convey how greed corrupts a person and what might be the aftermath (on himself and on the surrounding).
An example of an object might be the ring itself in Lord of The Rings, which resembles power and how such immense power might lead to...

Hope that helps :)

Posted by Anonymous on Mon, 02/20/2012 - 22:55
Yeah, It does. I think I get

Yeah, It does. I think I get it.

Posted by Anonymous on Wed, 11/05/2014 - 01:47

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