Jungian Archetypes - The Ruler, or the King

Archetypes: Ruler

Power is not everything, it is the only thing.

Taking responsibility not only for his own life, but the lives of others, the Ruler is one of the most recognizable and easily corruptible Jungian archetypes. This is the archetype of power, plain and simple, but what comes with power is a dangerous tightrope walk between order and chaos.

As I have mentioned in prior posts in this series, this collection of essays deal 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 conclude our look at the group known as the Self types, which are defined by goals related to the Ego, or agendas that serve to improve personal spiritual, mental, or physical standings with the world. The Ruler, driven by a need for power, is (fittingly) the final of the twelve archetypes in the series.

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THE TWELVE ARCHETYPES


 The Ruler

jungian-archetypes-the-ruler

Also known as the king, queen, boss, leader, politician, role model, manager, or aristocrat, the Ruler is always at the top of the food chain, and is generally wholly responsible for the atmosphere of the world in which they inhabit. For this reason, it is quite common to either find the benevolent ruler killed or otherwise maimed early on in the story, or the evil dictator, who is the main villain the heroes must overcome by the end. Why is this? Because if the Ruler is available and doing her job properly, there would be no story to tell!

The Ruler is concerned with creating wealth and prosperity, and in order to do that, they must obtain absolute power. By the end of the story, many Heroes may, in fact, be on the path to become Rulers themselves. Unlike the Hero, the Ruler isn’t concerned with a singular purpose—they must way the entirety of the community they oversee, and as such, are rarely universally loved. In fact, there may even be a benevolent ruler who appears wholly the villain, simply because they can not grant the requests of their followers. They exert their power as a first course of action, with or without counsel.

The Ruler, therefore, also has a very real fear: being overthrown. In the Ruler’s mind, he is only doing what is best for the world, but the world may not agree, and so, as the story dictates, he must fall, so the cycle can start again.

The Ruler is one of the most dangerous archetypes to fall into shadow. Aragorn becomes Sauron. Peter Pan becomes Captain Hook. Katniss Everdeen becomes President Snow. When the Ruler falls, they fall with absolute power on their side, and are difficult to overcome without heavy costs to the opposing side.

EXAMPLES

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Recommended Reading:

Other Posts in this Series:

Archetypes-InnocentArchetypes-everypersonArchetypes-HeroArchetypes-CaregiverArchetypes-ExplorerJester Archetypes Jungian archetypes in fictionArchetypes-OutlawArchetypes-THELOVERCreator Archetype Inventor JungExamples of the Sage Archetype Jung
Archetypes: Magician
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Archetypes: Magician

Archetypes: Magician

Rules of reality crumble before some.

If you’ve ever read fantasy, you know the Magician. Catalysts for change, Magicians operate on a plane above everyone else, able to conjure outcomes and affect change in ways that hoist them from mortal to magi in the eyes of the populace.

As I have mentioned in prior posts in this series, this collection of essays deal 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 continue looking at the group known as the Self types, which are defined by goals related to the Ego, or agendas that serve to improve personal spiritual, mental, or physical standings with the world. The Magician, driven by a need for transformation, is next.

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THE TWELVE ARCHETYPES


 The Magician

magician

Also known as the visionary, catalyst, charismatic leader, medicine man, healer, and inventor, the Magician is the archetype that seeks transformation, and a deep connection to the cosmos, whatever their definition of that might be.

The Magician is not involved in the everyday of regular people; they do not find ‘mortal’ concerns interesting or curious. Rather, they seek the threads beneath the surface that tie a world together. Unlike the Sage, however, knowledge isn’t enough. The Magician wishes to harness magic for their own purpose. Similarly, unlike the Creator, who uses the rules of the physical world, the Magician seems to draw his power from supernatural skill or resources.

The Magician is known as the catalyst for a reason. In the Hero’s Journey, the Magician is the pin in the balloon of a hero’s sheltered life. While the Magician, in fiction, is powerful, he is also often maimed by the same power, restricted (or willfully determined) from assisting the transformation of the world, except from a distance. The Magician is the chess-player. One of the reasons that a Magician might not be willing to risk life and limb is because his power is born of ego–to in turn be corrupted or otherwise consumed by “evil” is one of his greatest fears. The Magician has an extreme duty to his own self-preservation.

The Magician is one of the less flexible archetypes, when it comes to fiction. The faults of the Magician are typically unvarying, as if those limitations did not exist, most epics would end at the second chapter. This means that the Magician is often perceived to be a cowardmanipulative, dishonest, and even cultish. However, when a Magician aligns himself fully to the light, away from his Shadow, he can be a force of great healing and transformation for others. The Magician can often return after a fall from grace as a galvanizing force for the Hero, and make all the difference in the world’s darkest hour.

EXAMPLES

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Recommended Reading:

Other Posts in this Series:

Archetypes-InnocentArchetypes-everypersonArchetypes-HeroArchetypes-CaregiverArchetypes-ExplorerJester Archetypes Jungian archetypes in fictionArchetypes-OutlawArchetypes-THELOVERCreator Archetype Inventor JungExamples of the Sage Archetype Jung
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Examples of the Sage Archetype Jung

Archetypes: Sage

All the books in all the world could not contain all there is to know.

Benevolent mentors and custodians of wisdom are some of the hallmark characters of fantasy. Part mystic, part genius, the Sage is an essential driver of the Hero’s Journey, delegating the task of changing the world to their often younger, more naive and eager fellows. The Sage differs from the Creator in that they do not always use their knowledge to change the world, and very rarely do they desire to create something new––in this, the Sage might be closer to the Explorer. While the Explorer’s goals are outward, the Sage’s are inward.

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 continue looking at 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 Sage, driven by a need for knowledge, is next.

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THE TWELVE ARCHETYPES


 The Sage

The Sage is an archetype that is most commonly used in fantasy.

Also known as the scholar, expert, detective, thinker, teacher, mentor, savant, and philosopher, the Sage seeks to understand the world in analytical ways, processing reality with logic and the wisdom of their often long life.

The Sage seeks nothing but the truth. Whether that truth is uncomfortable or heart-rendering, it will be accepted, as the only meaningful path in life is one that pursues truth.

Personal truth based on falsehood is one of the great fears of the Sage, and so they are always questioning what they know to be true. This eagerness to find contradiction sometimes leads the Sage to be misled, or even manipulated by others who are aware of their weakness. In addition, the Sage can be addicted to learning, spending so much time pouring over books and information that they never actively engage in the threat facing their world. One of the most easily recognized representations of this fault is Morla, the giant turtle from the Neverending Story, who is so trapped by her knowledge that she will not even pull herself out of the mud she is in, even to help save her world.

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The Sage, being one of the pillars the Hero can depend on, is not easily corruptible. Though the Sage can function in ignorance, when the wool is removed, they often more easily accept that change than the other archetypes. But a shadow Sage is not impossible. A Sage surrounded by profound ignorance may become fed up with such an unenlightened world, and would be happily engage in its political, religious, moral, and spiritual sabotage. A Sage can also become overly criticalimpractical, or even unsympathetic to those not on their intellectual plane. Due to the nature of genius, a Sage may also become addicted to mind-numbing substances.

EXAMPLES

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Recommended Reading:

Other Posts in this Series:

Archetypes-InnocentArchetypes-everypersonArchetypes-HeroArchetypes-CaregiverArchetypes-ExplorerJester Archetypes Jungian archetypes in fictionArchetypes-OutlawArchetypes-THELOVERCreator Archetype Inventor Jung
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Jester Archetypes Jungian archetypes in fiction

Archetypes: Jester

You only live once, and life’s not worth living without a little fun.

In fact, if you happen to be the Jester, present-minded joy is your first and primary concern. As a Jungian archetype, the Jester takes a break from the often romantic or courageous ideals of his cousins, displaying a masterful use of humor to reveal, heal – even hide – the deepest recesses of human trauma and subconscious.

As I have mentioned in prior posts of 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 dives into the last group of Archetypes, the Self Types, which are defined by goals related to independent desires for development, power, or life. The Jester, whose main desire it to stay fully, happily “in the moment,” is today’s selection.

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THE TWELVE ARCHETYPES


 The Jester

Jester archetype joker practical joker

Also known as the clown, trickster, comedian, practical joker or the fool, the Jester is an archetype that is at peace with the paradoxes of the world. He uses humor to illuminate hypocrisy, and also level the playing field between those of power and those without.

The Jester is a fun-loving character who seeks the now, inviting others to partake in creating a self-depreciating form of satire. The Jester is also almost always male, though this may be more from the cultural gendering of humor more than a limitation on the archetype itself. The Jester excels at projecting infectious joyletting go, and banishing depression or aggression from their friends and enemies. They strive for light-heartedness and carefree living.

A moot life is a Jester’s worst nightmare. In some cases, a Jester can also have a second “dragon,” which takes the form as humor being raised as a shield to deflect inquiries about personal trauma. Since fun and humor are requirements for a Jester’s lifestyle, periods of time where humor might be inappropriate make them uncomfortable, and maybe even willfully insensitive.

The Jester does not seek to solve the story’s problem. His main purpose on the journey is the journey itself. The outcome rarely matters to him, and in some cases, he may even be a bit of a devil’s advocate in the interest of spicing things up. The Jester does not reminisce, or plan for the future. In his darker, shadow form, the Jester may be prone to constant inebriation, or drug abuse. These vices could also manifest as a pervert, or any other negative trait defined by a lack of impulse control.

Unlike some of the other archetypes, there is also a secondary, split framework for this archetype in fiction. The Jester is sometimes cast as the comic relief (often the best friend to the lead character). The main difference between the Jester-as-Jungian and Jester-as-Comic-Relief is that the latter does not know he is the Jester. Comic reliefs are built as humorous foils for the audience, yet still often show the same characteristics of the classic Jungian archetype.

EXAMPLES

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Recommended Reading:

Other Posts in this Series:

Archetypes-Innocent
Archetypes-everyperson
Archetypes-Hero
Archetypes-Caregiver
Creator Archetype Inventor Jung
Archetypes-Outlaw
Archetypes-Explorer
Archetypes-THELOVER
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