Characters on the Couch (Part 10)

Wednesday, September 13th, 2006

This Follows on from: Characters on the Couch (Part 9). The first part can be found at: Characters on the Couch (Part 1).

The Outlaw Archetype

“Rules are meant to be broken.”

Outlaws seek revenge and revolution. They want to bring about the destruction of what is working. Their tactics are disruption, shock and outrage. They break the rules and buck the system.

At their worst they go completely over the top. Their dark side sees them slip into villainous and evil behaviour. They become criminal outlaws cut off from society. The road to their dark side may see them rebel because of peer pressure or for the sake of fashion rather than because there is a real need.

Robin Hood, James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause, Marlon Brando in The Wild One, Kirk Douglas in Spartacus, Meryl Streep in Silkwood. Harley Davidson is the ultimate brand endorsement for the modern outlaw archetype. Most fictional bandits, criminals and assassins are outlaws. Barbossa (Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl) and John Malkovich’s assassin in In the Line of Fire are both outlaws.


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