Archetype may sound like a complicated word, but the meaning is simple: Famous psychologist Carl Jung described archetypes as universal patterns that are familiar in all stories.
Jungian archetypes are behaviors and ways of understanding the world that are highly developed but that we aren’t immediately aware of. Their existence is deduced through the analysis of myth, art, dreams, stories, and religion. Basically, they’re everywhere — and even if you don’t speak another language, you’ll probably recognize archetypes in their art and culture.
Jung described archetypal events (like birth, death, marriage…) archetypal motifs (the apocalypse, the creation…) and archetypal figures (hero, caregiver, trickster…). But what does all of this mean for us today? It turns out that archetypes are still hugely significant, especially for aspiring writers.
Screenwriter Christopher Vogler took it a step further when he wrote The Writer’s Journey and proposed that Jung archetypal figures — typically used to describe character’s personalities — can be used to describe “influential forces” within a given narrative. From the Hero to the Herald to the Mentor, these personalities can not only serve as “characters” but also as ways to move a story ahead. Today’s infographic describes eight Jungian archetypes that can advance any story.