Character Archetypes: The Hero

Now to see if it’s possible to subvert this archetype.

Where Landsquid Fear to Tread

Perhaps the best known of all character archetypes is the hero. Most stories have a hero, after all, and even non-standard protagonists tend to be labeled by their relationship to the hero archetype: a tragic hero, for example, or an anti-hero. And one of the most common, most universal (at least according to Joseph Campbell) types of plot is the Hero’s Journey.

Common Aspects of the Hero Archetype:

  • Forced to leave home
  • Often an orphan, or discovers his/her family is not really his/her family
  • Tend to be uniformly “good”
  • Tend to see world as a division of good vs. evil
  • Often “chosen” in some way to defeat some great evil (prophecy, royalty, etc.)
  • Often has special powers in some form
  • Usually driven out into the world by some traumatic event

Luke Skywalker is often considered a perfect example of the Hero Archetype. Orphan, raised by remote relatives, has special powers…

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