By: Kayla Frosinos, Caroline Arrant, and George Cleaver


1) A very typical example of a certain person or thing

2) An original that has been imitated

3) A recurrent symbol or motif in literature, art, or mythology.

Some Situation Archetypes

The Quest- This motif describes the search for someone or some talisman which, when found and brought back, will restore fertility to a wasted land, the desolation of which is mirrored by a leader's illness and disability.

The task- This refers to a possibly superhuman feat that must be accomplished in order to fulfill the ultimate goal.

Death and Rebirth- The most common of all situation archetypes, this motif grows out of the parallel between the cycle of nature and cycle of life. It refers to those situations in which, someone or something, concrete and/or metaphysical dies, yet is accompanied by the sign or birth or rebirth.

Some Symbolic Archetypes

  • Light vs. Darkness
  • Water vs. Desert
  • Heaven vs. Hell
  • Haven vs. Wilderness
  • Supernatural Intervention
  • Fire vs. Ice
  • Colors
  • Numbers
  • Shapes
  • Nature
  • Objects
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Some Character Archetypes

The Hero- who will fulfill a necessary task and who will restore harmony to the community.

Initiates- young heroes who, prior to the quest, must endure training and ritual

Mentors- serve as a teacher or counselor to the initiates

The Evil Figure with the Ultimately Good Heart- This devil figure is saved by the hero's nobility or good heart

The Outcast- This figure is banished from a community for some crime (real or imagined). The outcast is usually destined to become a wanderer.

The Damsel in Distress- This vulnerable woman must be rescued by the hero. She also may be used as a trap, by an evil figure, to ensnare the hero.

The Creature of Nightmare- This monster, physical or abstract, is summoned from the deepest, darkest parts of the human psyche to threaten the lives of the hero/heroine. Often it is a perversion or desecration of the human body.