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

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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 weigh 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.

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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.

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Other Posts in this Series:

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Archetypes: Outlaw

Rules are made to be broken, and without those at the ready to test the status quo, they never would be.

The Outlaw, or Rebel, is a fiction favorite, striding through their worlds with a confidence bordering on arrogance and shaking the foundations their society has always known — often doing so with little to no help at all from those around them.

They speak to a base human desire to break free of the rules and constraints of regular life. Take ten minutes to listen to any radio station: the message is loud and clear. Pop, Rock n’ Roll, and Punk have all gotten their popularity by settling in the heart of the listener, and make them feel the blood of the Rebel pumping through their veins.

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THE TWELVE ARCHETYPES


 The Outlaw

Also known as the rebel, revolutionary, iconoclast, and misfit, the Outlaw is the archetype that lives for revolution.

The Outlaw, though often motivated by a need to better the world through somewhat questionable means, can also have a desire for revenge against atrocities committed against her.

Independent and radical, the Outlaw employs outrageous or disruptive, shocking habits to shake those they interact with out of complacency.

Though the Outlaw can also be a strong advocate for change, the methods they often employ to get the attention of their oppressor can be outright dangerous or misguided. They can also be dogmatic about their own perspective, and outcast those who do not fit their definition of “good,” thus repeating the cycle of society they are trying to break out of. It is not uncommon for them to turn to crime that harms innocent people on the sidelines, and in the process, lose their way, as well as their sense of morality. They often alienate their friends or those who would otherwise support them.

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Archetypes: Caregiver

Sometimes, all we need is someone to give us unconditional love.

Cue the Caregiver, originally known as the Mother. This person will offer their heart openly and willingly, and extend whatever energies they can to help the hero succeed on their quest. Quick to forgive and encourage, the Caregiver offers characters weary from a long period of strain a welcome respite, in the form of companionship, health care, or emotional support. Sometimes, it is the presence of the Caregiver, or even the memory of that Caregiver, that keeps those that would otherwise fall from giving up. Because not all is bad in the world, and if nothing else, their love is a certainty.

"We'll be with you until the end, Harry."
“We’ll be with you until the end, Harry.”

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 is the final of the Ego types: the Caregiver.

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THE TWELVE ARCHETYPES


 The Caregiver

Also known as the altruist, saint, helper, and parent, the Caretaker is the archetype that is energized and fulfilled by taking care of others.

The Caregiver is moved by compassion and a genuine desire to help others through generosity or dedicated assistance.

As a peaceful archetype, the Caregiver strives to keep harm away from himself and those he loves. He is motivated by goals that assist more than himself, and in fact is prone to martyrdom, due to his need to satisfy everyone else before seeing to his own needs.

Though the Caregiver’s intentions are often meant with the best of intentions, she can sometimes enable bad or weak behavior in those she cares for. Additionally, though selfishness is her greatest fear, either in others or herself, over-extending her energies into those that would take advantage of her generosity can lead the Caregiver to become bitter, often demanding acknowledgment of her “sacrifices”, and guilt-tripping those that aren’t quick to sing her praises.

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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.

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THE TWELVE ARCHETYPES


 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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Other Posts in this Series:

Archetypes-Innocent
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