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The Hero*

The hero is a protagonist whose life is a series of well-marked adventures. The circumstances of his birth are unusual, and he is raised by a guardian. Leaves his kingdom. Has courage, strength, and honor.

Young Man from the Provinces

The Hero returns to his home and heritage where he is a stranger who can see new problems and new solutions.

The Initiates

young heroes who prior to thier quest must endure some training or ceremony


a wise and trusted counselor or teacher

Mentor-Pupil Relationship

the mentor teaches the hero necessary skills for surviving the quest

The Threshold Guardian

tests the hero's courage and worthiness to begin the journey

Father-Son Conflict

Tension is built due to separation from childhood after they met as men

Hunting Group of Companions*

Loyal companions willing to face hardship and ordeal in order to stay together

Loyal retainers

Retainers duty is to reflect the nobility and power of the hero

Friendly Beast

Animal companion showing that nature is on the side of the hero

The Shadow*

A worthy opponent with whom the hero must struggle in a fight to the end. Must be destroyed.

The Devil Figure*

The character is evil incarnate

The Evil figure with a good heart

A devil with the potential to be good. This person is usually saved by the love of the hero

The temptress or Black Goddess

Characterizes by sensuous beauty. She usually brings the protagonist down. Witch or a vampire

White Goddess

Good, blond, beautiful maiden.

The unfaithful wife

A woman married to a man she sees as dull or distant and is attracted to more virile, interesting men.

Star-Crossed Lovers

Two characters engaged in a love affair fated to end tragically for one or both due to disapproval of society, friends, family or some tragic situation

The Creature of Nightmare

A monster usually summoned from the deepest, darkest part of the human psyche to threaten the lives of the hero/heroine. Often it is a perversion or desecration of the human body.

The Scapegoat

An animal, or more usually a human, whose death in a public ceremony expiates some taint or sin of a community. They are often more powerful in death than in life

The Outcast

A character banished from a social group for some real or imagined crime against his fellow man, usually destined to wander from place to place.

The Platonic ideal

A woman who is a source of inspiration to the hero, who has an intellectual rather than physical attraction to her.

Damsel in Distress

A vulnerable woman who needs to be rescued by the hero. She is often used as a trap to ensnare the unsuspecting hero

The Earth Mother

Symbolic of fruition, abundance, and fertility, this character offers spiritual and emotional nourishment to those with whom she comes in contact

Light vs Darkness

Light usually suggests hope, renewal, or intellectual illumination; darkness implies the unknown, ignorance, or despair

Innate Wisdom vs Educated Stupidity

Some Characters exhibit wisdom and understanding of situations instinctively as opposed to those supposedly in charge. Loyal retainers often exhibit this wisdom as they accompany the hero on the journey

Supernatural Intervention

Spiritual beings intervene on the side of the hero or sometimes against him

Fire and Ice

Fire represents knowledge, light , life and rebirth, while ice like the desert, represents ignorance, darkness, sterility, and death

Nature vs Mechanistic World

Nature is good while technology is evil

The threshold

Gateway to a new world which the hero must enter to change and grow

The Underworld

A Place of death or metaphorically an encounter with the dark side of the self. Entering an underworld is a form of facing a fear of death

Haven vs Wilderness

places of safety contrast sharply against a dangerous wilderness. heroes are often sheltered for a time to regain health and resources

Water vs Desert

because water is necessary to life and growth, it commonly appears as a birth symbol, as baptism symbolizes a spiritual birth. rain, rivers, oceans, ect. also function the same way. the desert suggests the opposite.

Heaven vs Hell

man has traditionally associated parts of the universe not accessible to him with the dwelling places of the primordial forces that govern his world. the skies and the mountaintops house his gods, the bowels of the earth contain diabolic forces.

The Crossroads

a place or time of decision when a realization is made and change or penance results

The Maze

a puzzling dilemma or great uncertainty, search for the dangerous monster inside of oneself, or a journey into the heart of darkness

The Castle

a strong place of safety which holds treasure or princess, may be enchanted or bewitched

The Tower

a strong place of evil, represents the isolation of self

The Magic Weapon

the weapon the hero needs in order to complete his quest

The Whirlpool

symbolizes the destructive power of nature or fate


Symbolizes uncertainty


red: blood, sacrifice, passion, disorder
green: growth, hope, fertility
blue: highly positive, security, tranquility, spiritual purity
black: darkness, chaos, mystery, the unknown, death, wisdom, evil, melancholy
white: light, purity, innocence, timelessness (negatives: death, horror, supernatural)
yellow: enlightenment, wisdom


3- light, spiritual awareness, unity, male principle
4- associated with the circle, life cycle, four seasons, female principle, earth, nature, elements
7- the most potent of all symbolic numbers signifying the union of three and four, the completion of a cycle, perfect order, perfect number, religious symbol

The Quest

what the hero must accomplish in order to bring fertility back to the wasteland, usually a search for some talisman, which will restore peace, order, and normalcy to a troubled land

The Task

the nearly superhuman feat the hero must perform in order to accomplish his quest

The Journey

the journey sends the hero in search of some truth that will help save his kingdom

The Initiation

the adolescent comes into his maturity with new awareness and problems

The Ritual

the actual ceremonies that initiate experiences that will mark his rite of passage into another state. a clear sign of the character's role in his society

The Fall

the descent from a higher to a lower state of being usually as a punishment for transgression. it also involves the loss of innocence

Death and Rebirth

the most common of all situational archetypes, this motif grows out of a parallel between the cycle of nature and the cycle of life. thus morning and springtime represent birth, youth, or rebirth while evening and winter suggest old age or death

Battle between Good and Evil

obviously, a battle between two primal forces. mankind shows eternal optimism in the continual portrayal of good triumphing over evil despite great odds

The Unhealable Wound

either a physical or psychological wound that cannot be fully healed. the wound symbolizes a loss of innocence

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