How are archetypes used in literature?


I am beginning the study of archetypes and want to understand how they are used in literature. I get that an archetype can be things like “the villian” or “the mother figure” but what is the point of these? Examples?


Hi there!

First and foremost, I’m going to direct you to this website to see a complete list of archetypes –

Now, onto your question of what the point of archetypes is. I believe the point of these typical characters, settings, or themes are specifically up to each author. Different archetypes might be used for different purposes. For example, the mother figure might be the only archetype in a story, but her role is that of a guide, if you will. It could be that the main character needs that guidance. Hence, the mother figure.

So you see, the meaning behind the use of any archetype is much more specific than a broad, blanketed answer. Are there any specific references or archetypes you are wondering about?