Archetypes in Literature

Hero/heroine
Courageous and goal-oriented characters. He/she never admits defeat and does not stop until the task is completed. Performs brave, good, deeds. Usually endowed with great strength or abilities.

Rugged individualist
Character who lives by his/her own standards and beliefs. Often a leaders who does not conform to societal. Person who pursues independent thought or action, usually “outdoorsy”, or different

Trickster
Neither all good nor all bad- animal or person who engages in trickery, violence or magic. Character often in Native American mythology. Sometimes has supernatural ability to change forms to suit his/her purpose. May be funny, mischievous, immortal, scandalous, or bizarre.

Innocent
Naive, very trusting and optimistic. Will often try anything because he believes the world is good and everything will turn out okay. Person, especially a child, who is free of evil or sin. Simple, inexperienced, or unsophisticated person.

Faithful companion
Never forsakes his mentor/hero no matter the task. He never questions the motives but simply follows his/her hero/heroine. Sidekick- always there to help the hero.

Outsider/outcast
One that has been excluded from a society or system, isolated or detached from the activities or concerns of his or her own community. Commits some type of deed that results in his/her ejection from the inner circle. He/she often becomes a homeless wanderer. FORCED to separate himself/herself from society

Villain
Nemesis of the hero. He/she chooses to do wrong and is ruthless in the pursuit of evil. Wicked or evil person

Caretaker
Shows genuine concern for persons in need. He/she believes everyone deserves a chance at a good life. One who looks after or takes charge of goods, property, or a person

Earth Mother
The protector of life, environment, and family. She is all-powerful and in some Native American myths quite vengeful once angered. AKA Great Mother- loving/nurturing/caring

Misfit
Character who is different from societal “norm” in appearance, beliefs, and/or standards. One who is unable to adjust to one’s environment or circumstances or is considered to be disturbingly different from others. CHOOSES to separate himself/herself from society

Rebel
Character compelled to take chances. He breaks from the traditional journey to follow adventure and/or danger. Often displays repressed rage against tradition. One who resists or defies authority or generally accepted convention/rule

Lonely orphan
Also referred to as the underdog. Character who expects little but is often street smart and lucky. Often used to teach others how to understand and appreciate unexpected fortune

Shrew
Woman with a violent, scolding, or nagging temperament

Mother/father figure
maternal or paternal character who takes care of others, Similar to the caretaker archetype, but can sometimes give “hard lessons” (be strict and harsh in order to teach a lesson)

Monster/villain
Horrific or terrifying character that is often at odds with the protagonist. Often has immortal qualities and characteristics

Scapegoat
Character who gets blamed for everything.