Characters on the Couch (Part 3)

Wednesday, July 26th, 2006

This Follows on from: Characters on the Couch (Part 2). The first part can be found at: Characters on the Couch (Part 1).

The Ruler Archetype

"Power isn’t everything. It’s the only thing"

These characters seek control, prosperity and positions of leadership. They want to be in charge of their situation. At their best they are benevolent rulers seeking to do the best for their subjects or providing leadership for others during times of adversity.

Their dark side can be found in tyrannical behaviour, seeking to control every aspect of a world or their situation with no regard for anyone else. At their worst they become evil dictators and world-controlling maniacs. They become cruel control freaks ignoring the needs of their subjects and minions.

Sigourney Weaver’s character in the film Alien is a ruler who seeks to lead the rest of the crew to safety. The Sheriff of Nottingham, the Bond film villains who seek to rule the world, and the godfather figure in gangster films are rulers who have slipped to the dark side. The ultimate villains in a lot of fantasy stories are rulers. Many of Shakespeare’s most memorable characters are rulers including Hamlet, Macbeth, Richard III, Henry IV and Henry V. In myth, Mab queen of the fairies, Guinevere and Ulysses are examples of this archetype.

Next Part: Characters on the Couch (Part 4).

Leave a Comment

3 Responses to Characters on the Couch (Part 3)

Anonymous Saturday, October 7th, 2006

I believe that Ripley is simply the reluctant hero. The role of hero is thrust upon her, and she accepts it only because there seems to be no other sound choice. Just a thought.

Mark Thursday, July 27th, 2006

I can see where your coming from. Ultimately the problem with any classification system is fitting a character in one of the boxes. I'm not certain which of the other ones Ripley would fit better though.

darkdwarf Thursday, July 27th, 2006

I don't agree that Ripley (Sigourney Weaver's character in Alien) is a ruler who "seeks to lead the crew to safety".

She's put into an unexpected leadership situation and copes well - actually not all that well since the rest of the crew get wiped out.

Not a ruler, more of a reluctant leader who turns out to be not so good at leading, but is pretty good at self preservation.

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