Archetypes: Explorer

There are those that refuse to be caged in.

We know them. They are in the eyes of the imaginative child, or in the heart of our favorite cartoon characters’ songs. We are exposed to this archetype first, most likely because of its significance to exploring our world and learning, each day, how much wider it is than we thought the day before. The explorer is a self-fulfiller. They are self-motivated, self-driven, and self-sufficent. Independence is their hallmark.

As I have 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 we are beginning the group known as the Soul types, which are defined by goals related to personal development, or agendas that serve to improve their spiritual, mental, or physical standing with the world. The Explorer, driven by a need for freedom, is up first.



 The Explorer

Also known as the seeker, wanderer, pilgrim and iconoclast, the Explorer is a character that, familiarly, seeks to escape the confines of their average life by traveling the world or exploring its many mysteries.

The Explorer is moved by the possibility of a more fulfilling and authentic life by being more true to herself, and unlike the Hero, needs no inciting incident to try and find it on her own.

Conformity is what terrifies the Explorer the most. To while away, unfulfilled and bored, is death to her. I could cue the lyrics of many Disney princess songs at this point, but you get the idea. We have all seen this character many times. Especially as children, it is the archetype most easily identified with. The Explorer loves to learn about his world.

The Explorer has its Shadow side however, as with all the archetypes. They are self-sufficient, but sometimes so much so that they become misfits, or actively repel others because group mentalities seem to equal conformity. In her quest to be more fulfilled, the Explorer may become an aimless wanderer, or even a thrill-seeker. Their goals are often unachievable, and in trying to ever scale that expectation, often disappoint themselves and excuse their lack of decision by suggesting they haven’t learned enough to try.


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Recommended Reading:

Other Posts in this Series:


41 thoughts on “Archetypes: Explorer

    1. Yeah, it took me almost three hours to really think of any women in the category that were a) fictional and b) not Disney! Kind of surprising!


    1. Thanks so much, Sue. I’m glad you like it. 🙂 I may continue this sort of series thing after the archetypes are done (we’re nearly halfway through already). We’ll see! I may want to go into story arcs next time. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, they are! Because we need someone who will move proactively. The Hero archetype (linked in the post) is reactive, and so always sort of needs fire under his feet to keep progressing.


  1. I’ve been meaning to read these series of yours since I discovered your blog in the AtoZ Challenge.
    I’m really enjoying it.
    I’m curious to see what archetypes I use the most. At the moment, I don’t think I use the explorer all that much… at least, not in my current WIP 😉

    I really enjoy the motivation for Sherlock Holmes to be here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad you’ve been enjoying the series! I thought long and hard about whether I was going to put Sherlock on this list or not, but my instinct wouldn’t let me press publish until he was added to the line-up.

      I’m finding a lot of people don’t use the Explorer too much. Maybe because on paper, the energy of the Explorer is hard to capture… much harder that a wide shot of a film or hook of a song can express.


  2. Thanks so much for providing a link over at Sourcerer to this series, I don’t know how I missed it! I love working with the explorer archetype; they can be a lot of fun. I will definitely check out the other posts in the series 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it! This was my favorite one so far, but next up is the Lover, and I’m hoping I can go at it from a unique angle. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m familiar with the archetype concept, but tend not to think about it when I’m reading something. I guess if I really thought hard something like this might start seeming more clear to me.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the comment, Arlee. I do feel that way about a lot of different things (I get lost pretty quick on the TV Tropes website), but with the archetypes, I like the idea of using them as a framework, just to make sure my cast of characters is well-rounded enough.


  4. I am glad these are back, and I really need to look into the image galleries a bit. That one up there looks nice. What do you think of this signature for event visits? And do you know if html works in comments on Blogger?

    Instigator-in-Chief at Sourcererblog

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Gene’o! I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s continuation. 🙂

      And yep, that signature looks great, and will work on Blogger. 🙂

      Let me know if any of the artists interest you. They’re all very friendly!

      Liked by 1 person

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