What is a Ruler Archetype?
A ruler archetype is a character who rules a state and has the capability, power, strength, and insight to rule it justly or through authoritative methods. Such characters are not volunteers; sometimes they are, but mostly they take charge of things into their hands by force. They have leadership qualities and turn black into white and white into black through their power and force. They are usually not intellectual but are reasonably mediocre in physical, intellectual, and character traits.
Types of a Ruler Archetype Characters
Despite having certain universal features, a ruler archetype could be of many types such as follows.
- A Leader
- A Boss
- A Tribal Chief
- A Queen
- A Dictator
- A Democratic Leader
Character Traits of a Ruler Archetype Characters
Although a ruler always has some good character traits, some of the features make them prominent members of society. The first one is that they have natural abilities to lead the rest, and they have already achieved a good status and high prestige in their respective contexts and social setup. And to top it all, they are aware of this status. That is why they mostly prove charismatic, as they have the power of pull to attract people. Also, they command as well as earn respect and prove authoritative and dictatorial when required. They set examples in success through their multidimensionality as well as multitasking.
Negative Traits of a Ruler Archetype Characters
Despite having complete royal skillsets, some ruler archetypes could have negative traits. Some of the rulers could not have high status or could not have legitimacy. Some could have fears of upheavals, while others could be calm, peaceful, and stable. Some could even be highly barbaric and cruel, as history shows about the Roman and some Anglo-Saxon victors. However, one thing is certain a ruler archetype has more positive qualities than negative traits.
Ruler Archetype Character Examples in Literature
Creon in Oedipus Rex by Sophocles
Creon is a good example of a good, rational, and intellectual ruler who intends to rule justly and does so in the play. Although he does not prove to have the same rational ability in the second play, Antigone, he does well in Oedipus Rex by taking the reigns of the affairs into his own hands and making Oedipus pay for his deeds. However, it is interesting to note that the same ruler is a good as well as a bad ruler archetype example.
Hamlet also has both good and bad ruler archetype examples. The first one is King Hamlet, who is the example of a good and just ruler, the reason that the public endorsement does not come in handy for Claudius and the son, Hamlet, rises up against the unjust ruler. However, conversely, Claudius is an example of an unjust and bad ruler archetype as he does not take care of the public endorsement and also does not create the impression of a just ruler.
Although King Lear is an example of a good ruler who proves through his actions that he is a good king as he understands his subjects but he proves his irrational nature when he comes to the treatment of his daughters. He wrongly assigns duties and hands over his property to the daughters least deserving for that. And interestingly, he ignores and mistreats the one who deserves the most. Therefore, he is a good ruler archetype who mistakenly loses his insight.
George III and Louis XVI in A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Although Dickens has not directly explain the situations prevalent in the two countries at that time, he indirectly alleges that George III is a good king as he has created good conditions for his subject, while Louis XVI is an example of a not-so-good king as the times are worse in France as compared to England. It also points to his inward and unconscious division through binary, in which bad and good king examples show the ruler archetypes.