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Character Archetypes that Every Writer Should Be Aware Of

character archetypes

When it comes to writing truly unique characters, it is important that you have a set strategy. A great way to create characters is to utilize character archetypes. What are character archetypes though? They are characters that represent a set of universal behaviors, and through the years, writers have used these archetypes to create truly interesting characters. There are many character archetypes, and if you want to be able to create great characters, you should be aware of all of them. Here are some character archetypes that every writer should know.

1. The Creator

The creator archetype is a character that is obsessed with his or her craft. Their entire world revolves around their works, and they are often brilliant, artistic, and somewhat strange. Because of their obsession they also have a certain disregard for the things and the people around them. A great example of this character is Willy Wonka, who was a candy maker who was obsessed with creating the most outlandish sweets in the world.

2. The Warrior

The warrior archetype is usually the hero in the story, and he or she relies in will, physical prowess, and skill. They are usually quick to act, and will strive to overcome great odds. Some great examples of this character archetype are King Arthur, Hercules, and Aragorn to name but a few.

3. The Sage

The sage archetype usually takes up an advisory role in stories. They are considerably wise, and yet are not really the main hero. The sage is usually portrayed as older than the hero and other characters. Some great examples of the sage are Gandalf, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Dumbledore.

4. The Ruler

This archetype often shows the challenges of a leader, and the eventual corruption they face, should they fail to meet these challenges. The ruler could be a benevolent character, or a tyrannical one. Their key attributes are strength, charisma, and power. However, their great power could also make them suspicious or power hungry. A great example of this weakness is the main character of the Shakespearean play, Macbeth. He was a great general, however, due to a prophecy and a need for more power, he was compelled to murder his king.

5. The Magician

The magician archetype is a very interesting one. The character is usually characterized by his or her thirst for knowledge. The magician does not have to have a magical nature. Instead, he or she has key attributes such as intelligence, and power. The character is capable of incredible feats of intelligence, yet their overconfidence in their abilities could be their undoing. Great examples of this character archetype is Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Strange.

6. The Joker

The joker archetype represents the hedonist aspect of humanity. This character is a nonchalant one that is always in pursuit of the next thrill. He or she does not take anything seriously, and is often looked on as fool or a clown. The key attributes of this character are a love for pleasure, and disregard for the responsibilities in life. A great example of this trope is Puck from Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream.

7. The Rebel

This archetype is all about fighting against the establishment. The key attributes of this character are outspokenness, rebelliousness, and courage. They are usually inspiring, and very likeable characters, and their main goal is to change the world for the better. The best example of this character archetype is Katniss Everdeen from the Hunger Games fame.

8. The Seductress

The seductress archetype may seem sexual in nature, however, it is more than that. This archetype’s main goal is to tempt other characters to give in to their desires. These desires could be for sex, love, money, food, or power. The seductress usually gives deals that have strings attached. A great example of this archetype is Delilah from the Biblical tale of Samson.

9. The Lover

The lover archetype is all about love, and his or her whole world usually revolves around this emotion. This archetype is often used in love stories, however, they could also be used for comedic effect if the obsession with love becomes too intense. Some great examples of the lover archetype are Helen and Paris from the Iliad. They were so consumed by their love that they were willing to have whole kingdoms go to war.

10. The Orphan

The orphan archetype is very straightforward. The character is an orphan who is placed in a very harsh predicament. The main goal for this character is to rise from their humble beginnings. The orphan archetype has a great deal of appeal for most people, because the situation of the orphan just compels readers to root for him or her. The best example of the orphan archetype is Harry Potter, who is considered one of the most iconic characters of all time.

11. The Caregiver

The main concept of the caregiver archetype is their caring attitude. They have a caring nature, and they want to keep other characters safe. While these characters are usually portrayed as grandmothers and nannies, they could also be fathers, mothers, siblings and best friends. A great example of this archetype is Samwise Gamgee of the Lord of the Rings. He was willing to sacrifice himself for his master and best friend Frodo multiple times, and did so without any thought for himself.

12. The Child

The main concept behind the child archetype is innocence, and the challenges of growing up. The main attribute of the archetype is an optimistic nature, however, this could also backfire on the character and become naiveté in certain situations. One of the most iconic characters that uses this archetype is Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz book series.

Conclusion

If you are going to write characters, it is important that you know how to utilize character types. Remember that using character archetypes are a very efficient way to create characters. With this article, you’ll be able to create truly great characters of your own.

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