Archetype

Definition:
An archetype is a reference to a concept, a person or an object that has served as a prototype of its kind and is the original idea that has come to be used over and over again. Archetypes are literary devices that employ the use of a famous concept, person or object to convey a wealth of meaning. Archetypes are immediately identifiable and even though they run the risk of being overused, they are still the best examples of their kind.

Example:
Romeo and Juliet are an archetype of eternal love and a star-crossed love story.

4 thoughts on “Archetype”

  1. Carl Jung defines archetypes as universal patterns and symbols in human nature and in the universal psyche of humanity. They are images that represent twelve different types of characters – the innocent, the hero, the orphan, the caregiver, the explorer, the rebel, the lover, the creator, the jester, the sage, the ruler, and the magician. Joseph Campbell took Jung’s ideas and applied them to world mythologies, creating a much more powerful way to tell a story.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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