Characters on the Couch (Part 9)

Wednesday, September 6th, 2006

This Follows on from: Characters on the Couch (Part 8). The first part can be found at: Characters on the Couch (Part 1).

Leaving a Thumb Print on the World

The Hero Archetype

"Where there’s a will there’s a way."

The hero’s core desire is to act courageously. With heroes it’s all about winning and overcoming a challenge. They remain courageous no matter what the difficulties. They seek to master the world in a way that improves it. Duty and loyalty are key values for them. They are moral, ambitious, and highly respected. They often die young.

On the path to their dark side arrogance, ruthlessness and an obsessive desire to win, no matter what the cost, wait in ambush. They risk slipping from being the archetypical hero to being a simple bully. Their need for a challenge and an enemy may lead to them creating one if there isn’t one. They can suffer from serious ethical problems because of this need to win, especially if they throw their morals away.

Key examples include Captain Kirk, Robin Hood, King Arthur, Indiana Jones, Superman, most of the Knights of the Round Table, Samson, Achilles and Nike. Many sports personalities’ public personae fall into this category. The list of villains who are the epitome of the shadow form of the hero is as long as the list of heroes. Francisco Scaramanga is the shadow form to Bond’s heroic spy in The Man with the Golden Gun. If the ultimate bad guy in an action film isn’t a hero gone bad their right hand inflictor of violence and mayhem probably is.

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