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.

2 thoughts on “Archetype”

  1. 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.

  2. 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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