Archetypes: Hero

Life is full of peril. Danger and darkness lurk the corners, and in our blackest moments, most of those journeys would fail if not for the Hero rising up to save the day. He–or she–is the final trump against evil: resilient, strong, and death-defying.

We experience most stories from the eyes of the Hero, and many follow the archetypical journey named after him. The Hero’s Journey, often used to describe works of fairy tale and fantasy (in particular), would not exist without this archetype, the most familiar of all of the Egos.

As I mentioned in prior posts in this series, this collection of posts deals with the archetypes first put forth by psychiatrist Carl Jung, and the use of these archetypes in fiction. Every post deals with the motivations, character profiles, and Shadows (or negatives) of each archetype. This week is the third of the Ego types: the Hero.



 The Hero

Also known as the Warrior or Crusader, the Hero can manifest as many superheroes, sports players, and soldiers. His narrative is well-known.

The Hero only wants to prove her worth, and return home to her ordinary world. However, she is often forced into action by external forces, good or bad.

Once the Hero has taken on his task, he is focused, and will fight for only what really matters. Losing is not an option. The Hero will continue trying to succeed, or die trying. He is addicted to success, and once one goal is complete, he will not be satisfied until the cycle has started again (this is why so many Hero stories can easily span years, in sequel after sequel). The Hero restores peace for everyone but himself. Often, he leaves the fight with both an unhealable wound and a weapon or tool that gives him an advantage over his foes.

Though the Hero is courageous, determined, and disciplined, he is quite susceptible to his Shadow. Apathystoicismrejecting help, and especially arrogance are all vices he has a hard time avoiding. On the extreme side of things, the Hero can become the ruthless villain, ignoring all good and sense for the attainment of his goals.


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Recommended Reading:

Other Posts in this Series:


23 thoughts on “Archetypes: Hero

  1. Great post, Alex. I really love the series you’re doing. And the video was wonderfully done. One of the best explanations I’ve seen. In fact, it’s so well illustrated, I’m thinking it would do wonders for kids in middle school English classes to further illustrate the hero’s journey.
    And I adore all things Campbell related. One of my favorite possessions is a DVD of his called The Power of Myth. It’s tremendous.
    Many thanks for the other links of recommended reading. Off to check them out. I’m sure they’ll be worthy.


  2. Very cool! I agree with all of what you said. It’s interesting to have it broken down like that. Do you think stories are well-served to be reliable/easily accessible by using archetypes, or do you think they get boring that way?


    • Hi Kyra! I haven’t written the Magician yet, so that’s why you can’t find it. 🙂 It’ll be up next month, or the month after. I don’t have my blogging schedule in front of me.


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