Archetypes in horror literature

Plato referred to archetypes as Forms, which he saw as pre-existing ideal templates or blueprints. Virtually every response you give to your environment—the way you behave—is an expression of an archetype too.

The general belief about archetypes is that there are only a select few. For example, a list of archetypes might have only 4, 6 or The reality is that there are thousands of archetypes. Each one possesses different behavioral patterns and subtleties. It seems appropriate to start our journey with the man who popularized the concept of archetypes.

Perhaps more than anyone else, psychiatrist Carl Jung provided us with a map of the human psyche. Through his analytical psychology, Jung classified many of the driving forces that dominate human behavior. Here are the primary Jungian archetypes, all of which Jung addresses in Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious :. Jung referenced many other archetypes in his work, but the above archetypes list highlights the primary ones.

Perhaps my favorite and the most practical model for understanding archetypes comes from neo-Jungian Robert Moore.

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In King Warrior Magician LoverMoore and Gillette highlight the four primary archetypes in the masculine psyche as well as the eight bipolar shadow archetypes that go with them. Every personality system represents a collection of archetypes. One of my favorite personality models is the Enneagram. Within the Enneagram community, there are two versions of the model. While they are both similar, they use different names to characterize the archetypes.

One model developed by Don Riso and Russ Hudson outlines the nine personality types or archetypes of the Enneagram as follows:. The other model used by the Enneagram Worldwide and highlighted by Helen Palmer in The Enneagram describes the personality archetypes as:. If we add each level as its own archetype, the Enneagram actually contains a list of 81 archetypes.

Plus, each type has wings and variants, which easily quadruples the number of potential archetypes. One of the original archetypes lists is represented by the pantheon of gods and goddesses of Greek Mythology.

As you can see, our psyche is filled with a pantheon of characters vying for our attention. Want to begin to make sense of it all? Start with this guide. This was so helpful. Great comprehensive list on this subject. Would you look at the astrological signs and planets as well?

Most definitely. The 12 Zodiac signs are arguably the original list of archetypes. Thanks for your comments. Please log in again. The login page will open in a new tab.Understanding the Victim Archetype. There are few archetypes as pervasive and deeply entrenched into our cultural identities than the Victim.

Many books and movies use the Victim as a protagonist to great effect. Everyone can relate to the Victim and we love to root for the underdog, the downtrodden and the disadvantaged. There is nothing wrong with this because hidden within the Victim is the Victor. I believe part of our fascination with this archetype and our cultural attachment to it, is the desire for transformation and personal empowerment that comes from the Victim becoming the Victor.

The root of the Victim archetype is a fear that you cannot survive or will not survive. Not just physical survival but the survival of your identity, your hopes and dreams or sense of self.

All victims are entitled. It may take you some time to see your own sense of entitlement but it is important to identify it to be able to transform this interesting archetype from shadow to light.

Working through the Victim may be the most difficult thing you do but it is the most life altering as well. It is impossible to be a Victim without there also being a Villain. There are extreme examples of Victims and Villains such as prisoners of war and their captors, the child and abusive parent, the jailer and the convict but the dynamics between the two are the same.

One the villain has the power and the other the victim is powerless and at the mercy of the other. Recognizing the Villain is as important as recognizing your victimization. Here is a sample of the kinds of things we can feel victimized by:. Motherhood or fatherhood; feeling like a victim to your children and their care as though you have no choice.

Illness, injury and disease is a common one; you can feel a victim to your body, feeling you have no control over whether your body will heal or that your body has failed you and you cannot come to terms with an injury or disease. Insomnia and allergies are two more common villains that many people must deal with. The lack of control that these issues cause, can plunge a normal person right into instant victimization. Or on the flip side, you could feel like your wealth is a burden and feel victimized by how others expect you to help them with your loads and loads of money.

Your relationship to money is great place to observe your Victim. Or our jobs can be a source of victimizationyou could feel unhappy or abused in a job and feel powerless to change the situation. Believing your financial security comes from a job or career is an example of feeling victimized by your job.

Maybe your are the CEO of your company. One interesting villain is your gender : You can feel victimized by being a woman or a man and especially by the roles the over-culture expects of woman or man.

archetypes in horror literature

Or that the law demands you to go to school if you are a younger person. Religion and the organization of such religions can be felt as victimizing because of the stringent expectations and demands that many religious organizations require to be a good member.

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This is true, really, of any organization. But in a religious setting the stakes are higher because usually your soul or personal salvation is on the line. Another really common villain is appearance of the body, such as being overweight, aging and your genetic inheritances i. I have a fiery personality because of my red hair. Blaming, even when it is done factually is still giving power to the Victim.

Homegoing: Analysis of Archetypes

When you feel like a law is unjust a Victim will fell justified in complaining and in more extreme cases, such as losing your child in a custody battle, you may feel angry and resentful toward the judge or the law. Or the expectations of our culture such as stereotypes can be a real means to falling into victimization for example, if you are from another country, you may feel shame about your heritage or you may be trying to fit in when it goes against who you are.Literature is filled with the familiar character archetypes that we come across in every book we read, whether it is fictionclassic or contemporary.

These are the starting points of any writing related to film or book. In this article we will take you to a smooth ferry ride which is all about understanding archetypes, their many types and their uses in literature.

The term archetype is the derivation of two Greek words: arche meaning first principle and typos meaning impression. A simpler definition of archetypes would be something like this:. Models that are used to define and represent reoccurring characters and themes are called archetypes.

When we take a look at literature, we see that it is full of common situations, similar characters and symbolism. Many a times, authors use these archetypes to base their characters on, because they are relatable and have an emotional impact on the audience, therefore resonating with them and attracting empathy.

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Even across cultures, there is a vast variety of common archetypes that define the redeeming qualities of a specific character, whether it is the Greek myths we talk about, or the British traditional romance, or even science fiction. To get a closer look at the idea of archetypesyou should understand some basic form of archetypes that have been described in literature.

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According to Carl Jung, a person can be categorized into four different archetypes that exist within him. Every story comes with a bunch of characters that are more or less the same in order to play a specific part that adds up to the story. Most of the times the archetypes that we observe in most stories are the protagonistthe villain, the love interest and sometimes the scapegoat. These and so many more archetypes are established as per the story line and they contribute to make the story whole, without which the story would lose its essence.

Read on five tips to perfect the art of short story writing. When it comes to family, if we look closely, there are certain archetypes there as well.

Understanding Archetypes in Literature and Art: Definition and Types

For instance, the father figure is used to symbolize power, dominance and a sense of authority, while the mother archetype is to show love, care, nurturing nature and a sweet presence, whereas the child represents new beginning, innocencefreedom and vulnerability.

Contrary to the common belief, archetypes are not restricted to characters or personas rather, they can revolve around situations or symbols too. Examples of such situations or symbols could be a quest for something, the beginning of an affair, loss of innocence or working towards a goal.

archetypes in horror literature

The quest archetype makes the hero do things they would not have done otherwise. The beginning of an affair could mean happiness or sadness, the loss of innocence could be shown through violence or sexual means.

Sometimes symbols such as water could mean resurrection, new life or cleansing. We often relate some characteristics to some specific animals which can then be used as archetypes. For instance, dogs are often related to loyalty whereas cats are self-involved and self-serving. Horses represent bravery and the idea of never backing down, snakes are often shown as enemies disguised as friends and lions represent utmost strength.

These animal archetypes can be used to add an element to the story. Probably the most easily recognized archetypes in any literature are the character archetypes. That is, because every story has them and without character archetypes, the story would lose its meaning and become a dull rattle about the local news. These character archetypes are used to induce emotions of love or hatred for a certain character. Almost every story has a hero archetype around which the whole story revolves, like Harry Potter in the Harry Potter series.

archetypes in horror literature

Then comes the villain figure who is the symbol of evil, for example Lord Voldemort in Harry Potter series. Some very famous archetypes of exceptional stories are two lovers, outcast, damsel in distress etc.Without a setting, your story cannot be anchored, leaving your plot and characters to float unmoored in the vacuum of space — given your setting is not the actual vastness of space. A setting is what gives your character depth and forces him or her to react to outliers that are not within his or her own development.

The following is a list of my 13 favorite setting archetypes. Again, as with all of the other archetypes that we previously discussed, the list can be endless.

Like sweeping unsightly dust bunnies under the rug, authors, especially those of short fiction, sometimes leave the details to be dwelled upon later. Often times, the details of the setting are never returned to and are left lacking substantial substance within a story.

Always make sure to leverage the setting in any story, because the setting combined with other archetypes will make your story that much more memorable. If you have enjoyed this topic, be sure to check out other posts in The Archetype Series. Primary Menu Skip to content. Like this: Like Loading Post to Cancel. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email.

By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use. To find out more, including how to control cookies, see here: Cookie Policy.Post a Comment Feedbacks welcome and appreciated. This is a personal thing, really. I discovered doing it this way kind of leaves room for a little improvisation for me, at leastI can focus on the individual character archetypes and talk about each one at a time instead of lumping them together in one bogus family tree.

The Vampire. And probably, the most famous of the undeads. Somebody once commented on how swiftly the character has evolved through time and even faster than the flu. Modern films and books keep inventing new forms of the vampire story finally creating vampires who can co-exist with humans in a near-cordial relationship.

The Werewolf. It wields a form of power stronger than a man's and a wolf's combined.

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Aliens or ETs are intelligent life forms from space. Another good example are the set of ETs on the X-Files. I decided I'd detach these set of villains from the monsters for a special reason; most psychos are super-intelligent beings. Their level of intelligence is probably too advanced for them and they eventually, self-destruct. The characters called monsters besides anacondas, devilish sewer rats, usually possess a low IQ yet, their blood boils with the essence of evil.

The zombie is a specie of mindless, reanimated corpses who feed on human flesh. George A. These characters are also shape-shifters as well as the undead. I have placed the Ghosts and the daemons or spirits in this category. Ghouls are desert-dwelling, shape-shifting, evil daemons. But since I also refer to the ghost, ghouls are also spirits of dead people and include the supernatural beings like evil spirits and the likes.Horror movies seem to always employ the same basic formula for their characters, especially if the plot calls for a group of friends falling prey to whatever villain or obstacle in place.

Most might be annoyed by the continued use of the same characters, but those characters are important and serve a purpose in the viewing experience. While not every horror movie uses this formula, it is definitely a recognizable theme within the genre. He is attractive, narcissistic, and usually not all that bright. He is a macho man, believing himself the strong alpha male which is, more often than not, his downfall.

He usually dies in an attempt to vanquish the villain. He is usually a womanizer, and only tolerated by the other characters. He is important in the horror movie because he presents us with a dilemma. For women, he is the object of desire; for men, he is the object of envy.

He is strong, handsome, and popular with the ladies. He is what every man wishes to be, and what every woman wishes to possess. But he becomes a villain within the group. When he is confronted by the villain, we root for the killer. She is just The Jock in female form. Not necessarily a cheerleader, she is a pretty girl who is not very bright and not very nice. She is mean, but she is also beautiful so the other characters, mainly the guys, tolerate her.

She is the object of desire or envy respectively, and is easy for viewers to hate and the villain to kill. This is always the character who becomes the most terrified in her situation. She becomes absolutely hysterical, which means she also becomes incredibly annoying.

From my experience, there has been either a stoner or a nerd, but hardly ever both unless, of course, the stoner is a nerd.The novel Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi is a book set in Africa and America from the s to present day, focusing on the slave trade, how it affected both the African people and its politics, and how it shaped black culture in the United States.

It begins from the perspective of Effia, a young Ghanaian girl, and switches to the perspective of her half sister Esi, also from Ghana, who is stolen from her community and sold into slavery overseas. Every chapter switches perspectives, and also moves down one generation. The format in which this book is written makes it difficult to identify a protagonist, or one main plot, as the characters, time period, and location switches every chapter. This effectively emphasizes the changes that occur as time progresses, yet also differs from the mainstream format of a novel, as it does not develop its characters, setting or personal conflicts.

archetypes in horror literature

That being said, there are still many archetypes that can be identified, as there are definite motifs that link the chapters, and many different archetypal characters that can be found in each unique chapter. Effia is the first main character in the novel, who grows up being abused and ridiculed by her mother, who forces her to marry a white slave trader, and leave the village.

All throughout her life, Baaba is horrible to Effia, calling her cursed, unlovable and infertile all while showing love and affection to her brother.

Psychological Reflections on Cinematic Terror: Jungian Archetypes in Horror Films

Baaba beat Effia. The Terrible Mother archetype personifies every bad quality a mother could have; a mother that shows dominance and authority, yet lacks the loving, nurturing qualities mothers typically have. Despite the abuse, Effia becomes a gentle, caring mother to her son.

Another example of the Terrible Mother is the Stepmother in the fairytale Cinderella.

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She abuses Cinderella, treating her like a maid rather than a daughter, outwardly favouring her other two daughters. Though Cinderella was abused, she did not turn angry and cold towards others, but remained kind and peaceful.

This reveals that characters can stay true to who they are, even though they endure hardships. This archetype reveals that, like the Stepmother, Baaba did not care for her stepdaughter, yet the abuse did not change her into a hateful, broken woman, but strengthened her to become a great wife and mother.

Another character archetype in this novel is the Villain. Ness, daughter of Esi, lives on a cotton plantation in America. She once lived at a place she calls Hell, with her master whom she refers to as the Devil. The author uses the archetype of the Villain show how brutal the living conditions at the plantation are. It honestly struck fear into my heart, I felt like I was witnessing firsthand how terrifying and dangerous life was for the slaves.

The author personified evil within this man, the Devil. Using the archetypal colours to signify violence, evil, and blood, red and also lifelessness and decay grey provides an image of terror, emphasizing the point that this Villain is as evil as the Devil himself.



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