Book Definition: The ancient memory images in the collective unconscious. Archetypes appear and reappear in art, literature, and folktales around the world.

In Your Own Words

  • An archetype is an original model of a person, ideal example, or a prototype after which others are copied, patterned, or emulated.
  • Most stories, literature, folktales, and legends have these archetypes, or models of a type of character; the legendary, courageous hero, the evil villain, the temping mistress, the trickster, etc.
  • Stereotypes of how society portrays something/someone.
  • Basic character types that all people from different cultures instinctively understand and use in narratives.


  • Gandalf from Lord of the Rings embodies the archetype of a magician or trickster.
  • Harry from the Harry Potter series embodies the archetype of the hero, and Voldemort is an example of the evil villain.
  • Hercules would be an example of the willing hero archetype while Hades would be an example of the devil and evil villain archetype.
  • Spiderman would represent the archetype of a hero, while the Green Goblin would represent that of a villain.
  • The archetype of mother is known to be nurturing and protective, like Mrs. Weasley from Harry Potter.
  • In Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3, Junpei represents the archetype of the Jealous Rival.
  • In The Batman Trilogy, Bruce Wayne is the archetype of a hero while Albert is the archetype of the caring, elderly person.

Additional Resources