Jester Archetype

What is a Jester Archetype?

A jester archetype is a character having humor at his fingers’ tips to demonstrate the hypocritic world and make fun of such characters. He/she does not show his/her inner thoughts or his/her opinion about hypocrisy and other social follies but just makes fun of the people who indulge in such activities to make others laugh. Interestingly, a jester often self-d6epreciates himself instead of just pointing arrows of his satire on others.

Types of Jester Archetypes Characters

There are four major types of jester archetypes. In some books or movies, such an archetype could be a simple clown, while in some other writings, such a character is a comedian. However, in some classics, such characters have been presented as fools. In Hamlet, the character of the gravedigger seems a fool, but he is not a real fool. Instead, he makes fun of the conversation of the prince. In some other stories, tricksters also appear to make fun of the people, such as in Indian American stories. Therefore, there are four types of jester archetypes as follows.

  • Clown
  • Comedian
  • Fool
  • Trickster

Character Traits of Jester Archetype Characters

Jester archetype characters have certain character traits that make them likable and loveable. Some of them include their entertaining nature and unconventional intellectuality. It lies in their perspectives that they see situations differently from other people, understand them and then comment upon them or act in a way that hypocrisy is exposed. Further, they are not only innovative but also inventors of words and phrases. When things go highly tense during tragic episodes, their appearance on the scene makes things comfortable and easygoing. Although it seems that they just create laughable situations, their real purpose lies in making people feel easy and comfortable and realize mistakes.

Weaknesses in Jester Archetype Characters

Jesters, despite their strengths, have some weak points that make their characters not the so-serious type of people. It lies in their fun-loving nature. People often do not take them seriously and just avoid them so that they should not create embarrassing situations for them. When such situations happen, jesters also make things worse at times when it comes to sensitive natures. It also happens that sometimes they prove highly insensitive when they do not understand sensitive natures and cause brawls over minor issues.

Jester Archetype Characters Examples in Literature and Movies

Example #1

First Clown from Hamlet by William Shakespeare

Give me leave. Here lies the water; good: here
stands the man; good; if the man go to this water,
and drown himself, it is, will he, nill he, he
goes,–mark you that; but if the water come to him
and drown him, he drowns not himself: argal, he
that is not guilty of his own death shortens not his own life.

Although this conversation by the First Clown in Hamlet shows something that is quite funny about the drowning of a person, it has some relieving impacts on the tensely tragic atmosphere. Yet, the conversation has deep wisdom lying in it that only the great minds like Hamlet could have understood. This is a great jester archetype example.

Example #2

Fool in King Lear by William Shakespeare


Truth’s a dog must to kennel; he must be whipped
out, when Lady the brach may stand by the fire and stink.

Although this funny conversation shows how a fool talks, however, it shows underlying wisdom in an apparently simple conversation of how a fool defines the truth and the dog and associates them with each other. This is also a good example of a jester archetype, showing some character traits of this archetype.

Example #3

Major Major in Catch 22 by Joesph Heller

Although the very name seems funny, having a double and triple repetition of the same wording, this shows the jester archetype and its presentation in postmodern writings. Heller has demonstrated how bureaucracy names in a foolish way to show seriousness. This is also a type of jester archetype.

Example #4

Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare

Fairy, thou speak’st aright;
I am that merry wanderer of the night.
I jest to Oberon, and make him smile⁠
When I a fat and bean-fed horse beguile
Neighing in likeness of a filly foal;

This conversation of Puck paints him in a funny way because he is engaged in self-deprecating behavior, making himself a butt of fun and mockery of others. This is also a good jester archetype example by William Shakespeare.