How many character archetypes are there?

In this post, we go over how many character archetypes are there.

There are around twelve common character archetypes in storytelling. Each archetype carries a bundle of expectations, qualities, and capabilities that help drive The Hero's Journey forward.

What are Archetypes & How Many Character Archetypes Are There?

Carl Jung was a psychiatrist who initially supported the psychoanalysis movement but adopted an analytical psychology framework.

During his career, he created the well-known "12 archetypes," which, as their name implies, basically present each existing individual within one of these, affirming that the society in which we are raised influences so that each person acquires a pattern of motivation and behavior and rules your life accordingly.

Remember that the words "archetype" and "type" are Greek words that mean "source" and "model," respectively. According to Carl Jung, these molds are present in most societies, if not all, and their significance stems directly from this. Based on the "model it came from," one can discover more about the psychology of a specific person.

The truth is that Jung's research can be applied to fiction to understand, analyze, and even create characters consistent with his nature and psyche, regardless of how current or outdated this hypothesis may be.

What Character Archetypes Are There?

1. The Innocent

He is usually a character who expresses happiness and confidence without reservations and has good intentions but can be naive due to the excess of kindness that he sees in others as a reflection of himself. They are usually young and inexperienced individuals.

Example: Snow White.

2. The Friend

They are the most loyal and honest characters and usually accompany the hero archetype. He is constantly looking for his place in the world and a group to fit in with. They also tend to have an intelligent sense of humor and help give perspective to those who accompany them.

Example: Ron Weasley (Harry Potter).

3. The Hero

One of the most recognized archetypes given its role in the stories. Strong and determined characters with a great sense of justice and courage and who have a mission they do not abandon despite adversity.

Example: Superman.

4. The Ruler

Characters obsessed with control and a more developed moral (personal) conscience than usual. They are born leaders and naturally seek power. They are not necessarily evil, but they may possess characteristics that override the well-being or motivations of others.

Example: Tywin (Game of Thrones).

5. The Wise

They have a lot of intelligence and understanding of their environment, and they seek advice and lead those who follow them on the right path. They are found within teaching settings. They value the truth and are curious by nature. They are the characters who usually have the best lines in a story.

Example: Gandalf (The Lord of the Rings).

6. The Magician

They use their knowledge of the universe to give new perspectives (never seen before) to the characters around them. They know how the phenomena of the place around them work and can transform the characters' motivations into different ones thanks to their persuasive capacity.

Example: Sherlock Holmes.

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7. The Creator

They are inventors, artists, or anything that involves bringing to life something that didn't exist before. They suffer active roles within a story because passivity annoys and bores them. Yet, they are talented, creative, and have an imagination that urges them to transcend through their creations.

Example: Victor Frankenstein

8. The Caretaker

They are the most compassionate and empathetic characters, constantly seeking the well-being of others, even above their own. Their generosity distinguishes them, and they give themselves in pursuit of seeing another satisfy their needs. On many occasions, they are represented as a selfless mother.

Example: Matt Murdock

9. The Rebel

Revolutionaries, by nature, constantly seek a sense of justice and change in the face of a situation they consider wrong. Therefore, they can urge others to join their purposes and are in a constant search for freedom.

Example: Katniss Everdeen

10. The Lover

His main goal is to find harmony among his peers. They are peaceful characters and avoid conflict at all costs. In some way, they also seek the acceptance and complacency of others, although this may imply that they get rid of their individualism.

Example: Arnold (Hey Arnold!)

11. The Joker

It is the happiest archetype. They are optimistic and sincere and constantly seek to make others happy. They are always cracking jokes and using humor to defuse awkward situations. However, on many occasions, this humor is a mask to avoid revealing some negative aspect of their past or true emotions.

Example: Chandler Bing

12. The Explorer

They constantly desire to discover new places, ideas, emotions, or anything that gives them that feeling of novelty. They are independent, globetrotting, and hate a sedentary lifestyle and monotony.

Example: Tommy Pickles (Rugrats)

Archetypes enable a structured and playful approach to telling stories. They automatically draw attention to the story and are intuitive and universal. As a result, they are the ideal fundamental tools for storytellers, especially in conjunction with the Golden Circle and the Seven Master Plots.

Here are resources I recommend to get more in-depth knowledge

Storytelling 101 teaches you how to write compelling stories worthy of commercial success. This is best for screenwriters, novelists, filmmakers, videogame writers and storytellers.

Children’s Books 101 teaches you how to write stories that children will love. This is best for aspiring children’s book authors and storytellers.

Owl AI is the revolutionary AI-powered content production platform that helps storytellers, writers, and bloggers of all subject matter easily create highly-polished content.

Success, Money & Mindset Subliminal is a self-hypnosis recording that we recommend to new writers to help with focus, concentration, creativity, and motivation.

Shadow Work Journal: 240 Daily Prompts contains inner work exercises related to relationships, anger, anxiety, self-love, healing trauma, abandonment issues, depression, forgiveness, etc.

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