Character Archetypes and How Writers Can Combine Them (2023)


LLooking for new character ideas? You may want to flesh out existing characters or combine them with another character to maximize drama and develop deeper character arcs. Writing a compelling character is easier said than done. However, it's helpful to consider proven character archetypes to ensure each character behaves in a unique, consistent, and believable way. In this post we will identify the different character archetypes that you can use to level up your own characters. Also, we will include many examples of iconic character archetypes from your favorite movies and TV shows. Finally, we will define which character archetypes can be paired for maxingHarmony…ÖConflict.Let us begin.

  1. What is a character archetype?
  2. character archetypes
  3. Examples of archetypes


Understand character archetypes

Character archetypes are great building blocks for your stories.

You don't want your characters to be too one-dimensional, but understanding why people are attracted to a particular set of character traits will help you analyze human behavior.

Which leads to creating better characters in their scripts. But what exactly does archetype mean?


What is an archetype?

AndArchetypeit's a consistent and typical version of something. It can be a human, an object, or a specific set of behaviors, but the point is that it fits into a proven form that embodies:reiner Form.

ACharacter Archetypethey are the basic characteristics, values ​​and decision-making patterns of a certain type of person.

What does a character archetype do?

  • Allows for a variety of different characters.
  • Fortifies stats for a specific character
  • Establishes unique abilities for the character.

It's important to understand that there is a difference between a story archetype and a character archetype.

You can take classic archetypal characters and insert them into a narrative chain of events that plays against the associated story archetype.

A quarterback who needs to make the playoffs is old, but a quarterback who gets caught up in a homicide investigation and a gambling plot is relatively new. That's how the filmmakers see itthe last boy scoutThey treated their archetypal characters.

Archetypal Charaktere in The Last Boy Scout

In fact, it's one of the best ways to ensure your story is a little fresher and less tired and derivative.

Why are there character archetypes?

People tend to find their place within a group dynamic based on their strongest personality traits.

You may have a group of friends with similar interests, but often one is the "social butterfly" while the other is the "houseman."

Your friends will identify with these consistent traits.

You have now defined yourself through a character archetype.

If you're writing your own scripts, you might want to use a character archetype for your hero or villain.

In other cases, you will want to create a set with many archetypes.

Here's a scene below that features multiple character archetypes:

Character Archetypes and How Writers Can Combine Them (1)

Archetypal Character in Inception •Read the whole scene

It's also important to note that not all characters fit in a small box.

We all have a certain percentage of different personality traits. Which of them dominates most of our personality? Which traits are less common?

Take the Michael Scott fromThe office:

Examples of Character Archetypes • Michael Scott

Michael could be considered the leader or maybe the wild card. Most characters show signs of multiple character archetypes, but there's still a way to make solid choices.

The easiest way is through the removal process.

Indiana Jones, for example, fits into three different character archetypes, but if you remove them individually, what do you get? Would you still have Indiana Jones?

Indiana Jones embodies multiple character archetypes

Eventually, you will learn that there is a dominant character archetype that best exemplifies each individual character.

There are situations likeGame of Throneswhere a character can start out as a seducer but then follow the path of redemption to becoming a warrior, like Jamie Lannister.

These special archetypal characters can be applied to heroes, but can also serve as character archetypes for villains.

(Video) Character Archetypes in Movies Ep1: How to Write a DYNAMIC Leader [Character Traits & Development]

Often the same character traits can be used for different reasons...

You can use your charm for good or for evil.

Also many characters (especially in the comedy)attemptfit into a character archetype that seems appropriate to their personality...

But in reality they only have thatnegative traitsassigned to the type.

Often these characters fall into the archetype of the unlisted characters:

The fool.

This applies to programs likeVeep, where the leader is a bad leader, the rebel is a poor rebel, and the steward can't seem to get anything right.

Season 6 Recap |Veep

You don't lose the label just because a character consistently fails to meet the positive traits of certain archetypal characters.


Full list of character archetypes

Another important thing to keep in mind is how the archetypal characters on this list interact with each other. We've broken this down into categories:

  • allies
  • enemies

Now that doesn't mean you can't have incompatible archetypes on the same team or vice versa, as this often creates a logical conflict. While this is great for storytelling, certain personality types find it much easier to connect with others.

Some will have more harmonious interactions, while others will have more chaotic interactions.

like in this scenethe Avengers.

The Avengers at their lowest point

They all share the anger of the moment, but each shows it in their own way. Don't be afraid of these interactions in your stories.


1. The leader

Our first character archetype isFührer.

In general, this character archetype is powerful, a person of action. You are confident, motivated and courageous.

This is beneficial for staying active and adding momentum to the story, but they can often be arrogant and overbearing. This is great for creating lots of natural conflict.

Here's a video that explains how to create a dynamic leader in your story:

Archetypal Characters: The Leader •Subscribe on YouTube

The leader - allies
  • The warrior
  • the janitor

Leaders want to be around team players, and more often than not, team players are the ones who care about rules and standards.

This usually results in strong, trusting relationships with a warrior's strong will and a caregiver's responsible approach.

The Leader: Enemies
  • The rebel
  • the jester

The leader has a plan and wants to stick to that plan.

Anyone who seems to shy away from caution or relies heavily on improvisation naturally gets under the skin of every manager.

A true leader knows they are responsible for more than their own skin, so anyone who is a gentleman will inevitably botch the job.

The Leader: Common Professions
  • King Queen
  • president
  • CEO
  • attacking player
  • Generally
Examples of the leader archetype
  • Gandalf-Lord of the rings
  • Selina Mayer– Vep
  • Jack Aubrey—master and commander


2. The caretaker

Our next character archetype isthe janitor.

Typically, this character archetype prioritizes the needs of others. They want to fix the world. They are kind, generous and supportive.

You will often have meaningful conversations with your protagonist.

But they can often be tame, vulnerable, and an easy target for a villain to capture or manipulate.

Archetypal Characters: The Nurse Archetype •Subscribe on YouTube

The caretaker - ally
  • Führer
  • The teacher

The caregiver will often bond with those who have a lot of responsibility or a lot of weight on their shoulders.

They will often bond with a teacher because they are willing to overlook negative traits and set them aside as "necessary evils."

The Caretaker: Enemies
  • The seducer
  • the jester

The main thing a janitor can't stand is when characters take advantage of others. This automatically makes the seducer a problem area.

The caretaker will put up with a rogue under the right circumstances, but if not, he'll enjoy the antics of a wild card.

The Nurse: Common Professions
  • therapist
  • Maestro
  • doctor/nurse
  • Babysitter
Examples of the Caregiver archetype
  • Juan Watson—Sherlock
  • Sam Wise—Lord of the rings
  • Gary Walsh—Veep
  • Dr. Stephen Maturin —master and commander

related posts

(Video) Character Archetypes In YA Fiction by Jennifer Brody


3. The Seducer

Our next character archetype isThe seducer.

In general, this character archetype is charming, a person with charisma. You are confident, persuasive and cunning.

They are often graceful, provocative, and mysterious, but can often be manipulative and a bit jaded.

For a quick example, look no further than Han Solo.

Archetypal Characters - The Seducer • Han Solo

The Seducer - Allies
  • The rebel
  • shipwreck

Often the seducer gets along with others who are reaching for their own throats, but also with those who are vulnerable to manipulation.

Seducers need someone to impress, and this is where the castaway can be a powerful, ignorant agent on behalf of the seducer.

The Seducer - Enemies
  • Führer
  • The teacher

Often a leader and teacher can see through the deceiver. They won't trust you, knowing that the seducer will take the shortcut when it's available.

The Seducer - Common Professions
  • spy
  • Lawyer
  • Salesperson
  • player
  • Detective
  • Thief
Examples of the archetype of the seducer
  • Eames—Beginning
  • Jack Vincennes—LA confidential
  • Dan Egan—Veep


4. The castaway

Our next character archetype isshipwreck.

Usually, this character archetype observes somewhat withdrawn from a safe distance. You are devoted, loyal and introspective. But they can often be gullible and emotional.

Imagine Brian, the mastermind of a movie full of archetypal characters:The Breakfast Club.

Archetypal Characters - The Castaway • Brian the Brain

The Castaway - Allies
  • Führer
  • the jester

The castaway seeks inspiration and often finds himself with a wayward leader or a fairly fluid joker.

Anything else is too "halfway" and reinforces the idea that things are cemented in place with no room for change on the surface.

The Castaway - Enemies
  • The teacher
  • The warrior

Both the professor and the warrior will look at the castaway and see someone who is somewhat parasitic. In their eyes, the shipwrecked man is too weak.

The Castaway: Common Professions
  • office worker
  • Conductor
  • gardener
  • Artist
  • Cook
Examples of the castaway archetype
  • Frodo—Lord of the rings
  • Amy Brookheimer—Veep

related posts

  • How to write a sitcom script →
  • Pulp Fiction Screenplay Analysis →
  • How to write a musical →


5. The rebel

Our next character archetype isThe rebel.

Usually, these archetypal characters are energetic, individualistic, and thrill seekers. They are smart, capable and courageous.

But they can often be cynical and short-tempered.

Think about how Tyler Durden got inFight Clubbrought a whole new perspective to the world of storytelling.

Tyler Durden, the archetypal rebel

The rebel - ally
  • The seducer
  • shipwreck

The rebel is generally interested in maintaining himself and breaking the rules to get what he wants. The Seducer has useful abilities for the Rebel.

The castaway is outgoing and cynical enough to win a rebel's goodwill, and they share a penchant for challenging the status quo.

The rebel - enemies
  • Führer
  • The teacher

The rebel will see these two as old guard and will not be willing to redefine methods and approaches to goals.

A rebel is usually much more of a guesser and verifier, while a professor is more of a scientist and the leader is more loyal to the institutions.

The Rebel: Common Professions
  • Perpetrator
  • fighter pilot
  • Adventurous
  • spy
  • Cowboy
  • mercenary
  • mechanic
Examples of the rebel archetype
  • rubbing -There Soldier James Ryan
  • NonconformistTop Gun
  • House of Will —goodwill hunt
  • Jonas Ryan—Veep


6. The Joker

Our next character archetype isthe jester.

Usually, this character archetype is an unpredictable, improvisational person. They are often brutally honest, humorous and creative.

But they can often be sarcastic, impulsive and curious.

Despite their loyal friendship, Walter inthe big lebowskicould be a prankster in any scene at any time.

Writing archetypes like Walter must be great.

The Joker - Allies
  • The warrior
  • shipwreck

The Joker pairs well with a Warrior because both are action-oriented and often need each other's abilities.

Castaway and Wildcard share some common traits, one of which is their tendency to be more impulsive and fluid.

The Joker - Enemies
  • Führer
  • The teacher

The wild card is all about doing what they want when they feel like it, and it's all based on instinct. That's difficult for a manager.

It's also difficult for a professor who does so much research that someone living without preparation can look ridiculous.

(Video) Common Thriller Archetypes (Character Types)

The Joker: Common Professions
  • collar azul
  • Artist
  • Beautician
  • freelancer
  • Tramp
  • gypsy
  • Traveller
Wildcard archetype examples
  • walter-the big lebowski
  • Mike McLintock—Veep
  • charlie kelly—It's always sunny in Philly
  • Doktor Holliday —Grabstein

related posts


7. The Professor

Our next character archetype isThe teacher.

Usually, this character archetype is literal, funny, and very often a genius. They are logical, problem solvers and sincere.

But they can often be socially forgetful and rigid.

Spock hereStar Trekcould be the perfect archetypal example. He prioritizes logic over everything, but what makes this character even more interesting is his semi-human side, which is in constant conflict.

Spock • Examples of archetypes

The professor - ally
  • the janitor
  • Führer

The teacher is often an imperfect social being, and that often means a caregiver is the only person who has the patience to endure it.

The leader is usually someone who takes their work seriously, which earns you a teacher's respect more than anything else.

The professor - enemies
  • The seducer
  • the jester

The Professor will get tired of the slick antics of a charmer and the unpredictable actions of a joker. Everything a professor does is thought out, so a joker can get in their way, too.

The Professor – Common Professions
  • Lehrer
  • Detective
  • economist
  • engineer
  • pathologist
Examples of the teacher archetype
  • Sherlock Holmes -Sherlock
  • Greg Haus —Haus
  • Kent Davidson—Veep


8. The warrior

Our next character archetype isThe warrior.

Typically, this character archetype is brave, self-sacrificing, a person of honor. They're strong-willed, they're involved, and they have a code.

But they can often be stubborn and obsessive, like Sarah Connor inthe terminatorFranchise.

Sarah Connor, the archetypal warrior

The warrior - ally
  • Führer
  • The teacher

A warrior needs something to fight for, and often that can be a leader rather than a thing. Warriors are motivated by honor and a code, which means they respect those who, like a teacher, have their own code.

The Warrior: Enemies
  • the janitor
  • shipwreck

In general, the warrior will see a soul carer or soul seeker and see its attributes as a complete waste of time. The caretaker is too worried about the consequences, while the shipwrecked man is too lethargic to be a warrior.

The Warrior: Common Professions
  • Soldier
  • police officer
  • Bomber
  • Lawyer
  • Journalist
  • missionary
Examples of the warrior archetype
  • Aragorn—Lord of the rings
  • Ryan—There Soldier James Ryan
  • white bud —LA confidential
  • Ben Cafferty-Veep


Charakterarchetypen in Sets

While the character archetypes are designed to interact with each other, any one of them can be used as a primary.Held.

Just because the leader has many of the classic qualities of a main character doesn't mean the castaway can't be the main character in his own story.

However, if your story involves a group, squad, or team, you will often build that team based on your unique character traits.

When you are behind enemy lines, your commando team will need a green beret, marine, driver, engineer, sniper, and spy.

These are specialties that make a successful team as you need different skills for each problem you encounter.

These abilities (like professions) are often associated with specific archetypes.

Let's take a look at some examples of films and series that have used the cast and how they have applied the character archetypes.

The Character Archetype |Game of Thrones

Let's take a look at the examples of archetypes inGame of Thrones.

Game of Thrones season 5 recap

Cersei/Daenerys: The leader

Samwell/Jorah - The caretaker

Jamie/Euron - The Seducer

Tyrion/Sansa - The Castaway

Bronn/Arya – The Rebel

The Dog - The Joker

Davos/Varys – The Professor

Jon Snow/Brienne - The Warrior

The Character Archetype |the Avengers

Let's take a look at examples of archetypes in MarvelAvengers: Infinite War.

Archetypal Roles in Infinity War •Subscribe on YouTube

Captain America/Black Panther - The Leader

Scarlet Witch/War Machine - The Caretaker

Iron Man - The Seducer

Hulk/Gamora - The castaway

Thor/Loki - The Rebel

Starlord/Spiderman – Der Joker

Doctor Strange/Vision – Der Professor

Black Widow/Thanos - The Warrior

The Character Archetype |Beginning

Let's take a look at the archetypal characters inBeginning.

(Video) 8 Common Character Types Writers Should Know - Christopher Vogler

Different archetypes in origin

Cobb - The leader

Ariadne - The caretaker

Eames - The Seducer

Fischer - The castaway

Saito - The Rebel

Evil - The Joker

Yusuf - The Professor

Arthur - The Warrior

The Character Archetype |There Soldier James Ryan

Let's take a look at the examples of archetypes inde SpielbergThere Soldier James Ryan.

Machine Gun Nest |There Soldier James Ryan

Miller - The leader

Horvath - The caretaker

Mellish - The Seducer

Upham - The Castaway

Ruby - The Rebel

Jackson - Der Joker

Wade - Der Professor

Ryan - The Warrior

The Character Archetype |Ocean's Eleven

Let's take a look at the examples of archetypes invon SöderberghOcean's Eleven.

Create a Crew |Ocean's Eleven

Danny Ocean - The leader

Rusty Ryan - The caretaker

Frank Catton/Saul Bloom - The Seducer

Linus Caldwell - The Castaway

Basher Tarr - The Rebel

Virgil/Turk Malloy - Der Joker

Reuben Tishkoff/Livingston Dell — El Professor

Yen - The Warrior

Until next time

How do I write better dialogue?

you wrote beautifullyGUTscript but you know it could be great. Could better dialogue be the missing piece? Want screenwriting tips to help you write better dialogue? How about movie and TV samples for each category? Check out this post below!

Next: Write a better dialogue →


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