Siren Archetype

What is a Siren Archetype? 

Symbolic of feminine power over men, a siren archetype presents a female figure in fantasy stories. She is not only sensuous and attractive but also alluring and enchanting, bamboozling the male minds into allurement and using them to her own ends. She is seductive, tempting, and enticing to the point of deceptiveness. Although most of these traits are highly negative, she could be positive at times when she actually loves a person. Even in such cases, it is interesting to know that the siren archetype proves negative.

Types of Siren Archetype

There are several types of sirens. Each type is based on specific character traits that make them prone to one or the other type. Five major types of sirens are given below.

  1. Goddess siren
  2. Competitor siren
  3. Companion siren
  4. Mother siren
  5. Seductive or sex kitten siren 

Character Traits of Siren Archetype

As sirens always satiate their personal desires, they are “enjoy your life” type of archetype characters who are always engaged in sensual pleasures. They even try to break the social boundaries set in this connection. In this quest, they become highly confident and seem quite exotic, but these features certainly add to their seductive power. One thing about them is quite interesting is that they are not only attractive but also enjoy men to the extreme. In fact, they make life livable through their enjoyment and revelry.

Negative Traits of Siren Archetype Characters

 Despite having positive traits, siren archetype characters have some negative traits as well. In fact, they consider life only a luxury that must be enjoyed at every cost. In this quest, they sometimes use machinations that border negativity, such as the use of seduction. Although they do not hate men, sometimes they disregard their manly powers and lure them to their destruction, though it rarely happens.

Examples of Siren Archetype Characters in Literature

Example #1 

Sirens in The Odyssey by Homer

Homer presents sirens in his poem The Odyssey. When Odysseus and his crew members passed by an isle, they stayed there for a while the sirens tried to tempt them. However, Circle alerted them about it. Therefore, he plugged the ears of his crew members with beeswax. There is no mention of how exactly they sang and how many they were, they were surely alluring in their songs when they sang. Their main purpose was to tempt his men to them. However, being aware of the risks, Odysseus saved his men from them. They seem good siren archetype examples in literature.

Example #2

The sirens in Metamorphoses by Ovid

The characters of the sirens appear in the fifth book of Metamorphoses by Ovid. He states that they are the human companions of god, Proserpina. He states that they are daughters of Achelous and have feet and wings like birds but faces like girls. He also adds that they were with Proserpina when she was busy picking flowers in the spring, and the gods took pity on them and blessed them with limbs to cross the seas. They are also good siren archetype characters through their mention in Metamorphoses is quite short.

Example #3

A Siren in Purgatorio by Dante Alighieri

Dante presents the character of a siren in his popular Divine Comedy’s part, Purgatorio. Dante presents the pilgrim as having a dream of a siren who is not only cross-eyed but also crooked feet. She has a pale color, and when the pilgrim looks at her, she attracts him. She discloses herself as a siren and claims that she has already lured Ulysses and that she has done this through her singing. This also seems a good siren archetype character mentioned by Dante.

Example #4

The Sirens in Argonautica IV by Apollonius Rhodius

Argonautica is a journey of Jason by Apollonius Rhodius, the Grecian poet. Chiron warns Jason when he embarks upon his journey that he should take Orpheus with him so that he can resist the temptation of the sirens. When Orpheus hears the voices of their songs of the sirens, he draws his own lyre, starts his song, and sings so beautifully that their song dies in the beauty of his melody. However, one crew member of their ship jumps into the sea when he hears the song of the sirens, but Aphrodite’s timely help saves him. This shows the power of this archetype character.