Trickster Archetype

What is a Trickster Archetype?

A trickster archetype character is a character who cuts jokes, makes fun, plays pranks, makes faces, and even plays tricks that are not harmful and vicious to others. They are innocent and simple acts of mischievousness. They could be magicians who play with others through their magic tricks. Such characters appear when tragic situations become too tense to bear. They make audiences, as well as other characters, laugh and enjoy life when things become difficult.

Types of Trickster Archetype Characters

As trickster archetype characters appear in various cultures, myths, and folk tales, they are of several types. Some of the major types of trickster archetype characters are as follows.

  1. Jokers
  2. Pranksters
  3. Clowns
  4. Alchemists
  5. Magicians
  6. Wise fools
  7. Truth tellers
  8. Some animal trickster archetype characters are fox, rabbit, coyote, and raven.

Character Traits of Trickster Archetype Characters

Trickster archetype characters are fun-loving people. They tread multiple paths in life, and each path for them becomes a way of enjoyment, fun, and excitement. However, they play with life in a way that each of their trick or prank becomes a lesson to learn. This lesson is often hidden in subtle irony, sweet criticism, and beautiful satire. They play hide and seek with others, not coming out and yet not hiding fully. This feature of their character makes them look as if they have a fun-loving life though sometime they could be in deep personal distress.

Negative Traits of Trickster Archetype Characters

Sometimes pranksters could have negative traits along with various positive traits. It, however, occurs that they turn to bitter humor that could become personal and harm others. They also depreciate somebody or turn to satire that is apparent and clear. When such situations happen, they make things uncomfortable for others. In this connection, it seems that tricksters are highly intelligent people and use situations to their ends only when they are sure that they do not harm others.

Examples of Trickster Archetype Characters in Literature

Example #1

Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare

The trickster’s role in A Midsummer Night’s Dream is played by Puck, who likes to pull chairs under the ladies to make others laugh. Interestingly, Puck always moves the play forward with his witty and interesting asides besides playing tricks with other characters. His hobgoblin status, his quick wit, and his ability to play with other characters make him a good example of a trickster archetype character of Shakespeare.

Example #2

Jack Sparrow in Batman Movie

Although a minor character, Jack Sparrow, appears at several places in the movie as a cunning fellow. His roguish nature makes him vacillate between madness and sagacity. It happens when he sees that his boat is sinking and he is showing confidence without having panicked. Even when he sees dead bodies, he does not flinch. This shows him a good trickster archetype character in Batman.

Example #3

Squealer in Animal Farm by George Orwell

Squealer is a good example of a trickster archetype character who not only makes fun of things through his seriousness but also creates laughing situations with his tail. This clever pig moves around with the great heroes of his time, Napolean and Snowball, and yet he does not become a hero but only distorts things with a smile on his face. He confounds animals in such a way that they take him as a true leader instead of other sincere leaders.

Example #4

The Cheshire Cat in Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

When Alice departs on her adventures, the Cheshire Cat appears and manipulates things in his favor. He advises Alice that she can go through the chaotic world only by taking mad acts or irrational acts. In fact, the Cat defies logic and accepts everything that is absurd to make things better. That is why he is a good trickster archetype character example in English Literature after Puck.