Archetypal Character Sets
Civilization, the Animal Kingdom, the school – these are different systems with their own set of characters, but all of them have rulers, all of them have tricksters. Similarly, we all have inner rulers and we all have inner tricksters. By studying the fox next to the Joker next to the Shadow you will learn how to better design a character into which your audience members can project their own shadows.
There are a few major benefits that come out of this work:
You will gain a deeper understanding of our inner voices and become better able to represent them on screen.
You will learn how to translate your inner voices into whatever drama you’re writing. If you’re writing a story of animals, you’ll understand how animals set up their own archetypal system with the fox as trickster, lion as ruler, and so on. If you’re writing a story set in a HS, you’ll understand that the principal is the ruler and class clown is the trickster, and you’ll understand how little John from Robin Hood can help you write your principal, or how Robin Hood can help you write the class clown. In the case of Disney’s Robin Hood, we already see them make Robin Hood into a fox and shadow of the culture, which is ruled by a lion. So this is to say, one of the benefits of studying archetypal character is that you can learn how to translate one into the other.
In sum, the idea is for you to develop a deep understanding of the common voices in the heads of your audience and how those voices translate into different systems.
So here’s what we’re going to now do – we’re going to look at different systems of archetypes—the family, the society, the animal kingdom, etc.—and we’re going to look at how the psyche projects into them.
Each set of archetypes is its own system that sets up its own dramas – family dramas, social dramas, astrological romances, emotional tensions…