What is a Sage Archetype?
A sage archetype is a character having sagacity, wisdom, and acumen to use power and guide other characters around him/her. His/her main task is to demonstrate that power could be held and disseminated through other means such as wealth, influence, sagacity, and magic. Although he could be a magician, he does not act like a magician. His main aim is to guide, advise and help others around him and nothing else. He/she does not use his/her knowledge for the destruction of mankind.
Types of Sage Archetype Characters
Although it is evident that sage archetype characters are always sagacious characters and that they help others, they could be of several types. A sage could be a teacher or a mentor. In religious circumstances, he could be a cleric or even a lady who is a religious mentor or guru though in some religious settings, a woman is not allowed to be a sage. As they have vast knowledge, they could be professors, scientists, or even philosophers. In some cases, they are soothsayers, seers, and even detectives. In fact, a sage could be any character who prefers the welfare of others and offers a piece of sane advice.
Character Traits of Sage Archetype Characters
Like other archetype characters, sage archetypes also share several character traits. They have, however, all the positive character traits with just a few negative ones. Some positive character traits are aimed at helping others. They are mostly determined, incorruptible, loving, and caring. Whenever they are in some situations, they are respectful and insightful, but when they are caught in some difficult situation, they displayed rare qualities of patience and rationality. In some cases, they are also highly argumentative and logical. In fact, they display all the qualities of being a sage. Yet, they could make others feel to have some negative traits.
Negative Traits of Sage Archetype Characters
Some of the negative traits that a sage archetype could have are not as harmful as they are in other characters. For example, in some cases, they display a rare negative trait of arrogance and cold-heartedness. Also, they do not mingle with the public easily and stay isolated most of the time except in extreme cases. Sometimes, they are also overly cautious, but this caution is the better part of valor. While with the public, they are somewhat restless souls and are considered unsympathetic to the point of cruelty, yet this is not their personal choice. They just want to stand aloof to find solutions to the problems they come across.
Sage Archetype Character Examples in Literature
Tiresias in Oedipus Rex by Sophocles
Although it seems that Creon could be the sage of this play, it transpires by the end that Tiresias is a mythical sage or soothsayer who not only senses things but also advises and interprets the oracles, the abracadabra of the Oracle of Delphi. He proves this through his interpretation of what the oracles said about Oedipus, stays cool and calm in the face of adversity, and does not cross his limits when it comes to dealing with Oedipus. He also appears in several other plays and stays the same. Therefore, he is a good sage archetype in Grecian plays.
The Old Major, though, seems to have appeared in the first chapter only, advises not only the animals about their future but also warns them of men. They get this lesson, imbibe it and translate it into commandments for them. Interestingly, his sagacious suggestions and pieces are corrupted and twisted by the end, but he presents a good sage archetype character in the novel.
Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
This beautiful and sagacious character appears in another Tolkien novel, The Hobbit. This character is not only the wizard but also the leader of the Istari order. He appears to be the leading member of the Fellowship. Although he possesses great powers, he does not use these powers excessively and without any precautions. He takes every care when using these powers with the immortality he has got from his Valinor association. Therefore, he appears as a good sage archetype character.
Professor Minerva McGonagall in Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling
An embodiment of sagacity, wisdom, and acumen, she not only excels in education but also in an advisory role. She takes care of Harry at every step of his life, even when he is with the Dursleys. That is why she seems like a helicopter mother archetype as well as she spies on different people only to take care of Harry and save him from any untoward incident. That is why it seems that she is also a sage archetype character in the novel.