Queen Archetype

What is a Queen Archetype?

The queen archetype characters are often women in leadership roles, taking the helm of the affairs of the state into their own hands with sovereignty and power to rule. In some cases, such characters could be supportive of their husbands, while in other cases, they could be absolute rulers after the death of their husbands. In such rare cases, they could rule the state from behind closed doors, proving their power and royalty through invisible actions. Such stock characters fall under the single category of queen archetype characters.

Types of Queen Archetype Characters

Despite its character traits similar to the king archetype, a queen archetype has several categories. Such characters could have the following types.

  1. An absolute queen archetype
  2. A dictator queen archetype
  3. A tyrant queen archetype
  4. A shadow queen archetype
  5. A mother queen archetype

Character Traits of Queen Archetype Characters

As the title is suggestive that a queen archetype is not only a capable leader but also a powerful female figure ruling a state. She works as an organizational figure who dominates the world of patriarchy and matriarchy equally, with power enough to determine the course of the state. Yet, she is compassionate, benevolent, and kind to her subjects and leaves lasting impressions as the mother of the nation or the state. She often demonstrates her firmness of resolve and strength of character to show her opponents the determination to rule. Yet she has her own weaknesses.

Negative Traits of Queen Archetype Characters

Despite being powerful female queen archetypes, these types of characters often have some negative traits or even several negative traits. These negative traits could be jealousy, antipathy, hostility, impatience, and arrogance. One interesting thing about the negative character traits is that they often prove highly tyrannical and dictatorial when it comes to dealing with their inner and outer opponents and managing state affairs ruthlessly. This ruthlessness, sometimes, crosses limits and borders psychological insanity. This could be due to some inner or psychological issues, as some queen archetypes in ancient literature have demonstrated.

Examples of Queen Archetype Characters in Literature

Example #1

Penelope in Odyssey by Homer

Daughter of Icarius, the Spartan King, and queen of Ithaca is an example of a queen archetype who not only stands with the king, Odysseus, loyally for many years, but also takes care of his son, Telemachus, as well as his kingdom. She continues weaving the parchment to cause a delay for the suitors to marry any one of them but she does not budge from her stand. Her persistence, her patience, her love, and loyalty to her land make her the best queen archetype character who has won the hearts and minds of the readers. Yet, she has some shortcomings in that she does not rule the state but helps the ruler and has no commanding personality as a queen should have.

Example #2

The Story of the Queen of the Flowery Isles by Andrew Lang

This story presents two queens; the widowed queen who rules the Flowery Isles and the Queen of all the isles. As the widowed queen is the archetype of a good and caring mother, the Queen of all isles is an example of a bad queen archetype. She is not only jealous but also highly dictatorial and oppressive due to her jealous nature and cruel commands. Both queens exist side by side, presenting good examples of both types of character archetypes, having good and bad qualities. Although the appearance of the Prince of the Emerald by the end and his story of appearing as a dog amuses the readers, the queen archetypes rather baffle them.

Example #3

Gertrude in Hamlet by William Shakespeare

An interesting character in her own way, she presents examples of both, good as well as bad queen archetype characters. She is good until she is the queen of King Hamlet, who is just, legitimate and legal. However, when she steps out of this bond and marries Claudius, the usurper, her image also becomes blurred, and she becomes rather a model of a woman having frail nature and commitment. Yet, she is not the great model queen that could be presented as a good or a bad character archetype. The representation of both archetype characters is, however, very much there in her behavior and actions in the play.

Example #4

Silver Chair by C. S. Lewis

Although it seems that she is a royal character, the Green Lady or the Emerald Witch, as she is also known as the protagonist of the story, rules single-handedly and even proves more commanding and authoritative than kings when she enslaves Prince Rilian. The interesting thing about her is the status of the Queen of the Underland, by virtue of which she is also a queen archetype example. She also falls into another archetype category, that is, the magician, as she uses her witchcraft to enslave the prince of Narnia. Yet, the bad features in her character make her a bad queen archetype character.