Character Archetypes Part One: The Ego Types


Character development. Character Archetypes. Ego types.

See Part Two: The Soul Types and Part Three: The Self Types

When writing fiction, the characters are crucial to the story. Without characters, there would be no plot, no conflict, and no story. A character without a defined personality (including strengths and weaknesses) can affect the entire story.

Character archetypes can help develop strong characters by:

  • identifying potential internal conflicts
  • identifying potential external conflicts
  • identifying strengths
  • identifying weakness
  • identifying possible motivators
  • determining how a character might achieve a goal
  • giving insight into how the antagonist might attempt to exploit the protagonist (or prevent the protagonist from achieving a goal)

“Archetype” is from the ancient Greek words archein and typos, which mean “original” and “pattern or type.” The combined meaning is an “original type” upon which all similar objects, concepts, or persons are emulated, copied, modeled, or derived from.

The psychologist, Carl Jung, used the concept of archetype or “original pattern” for his theory of the human psyche. He believed a universal archetype resided in all human beings, and this universal archetype evolved based on human motivation.

Jung defined twelve primary archetypes based on human motivation. Each type has a unique set of meanings, personality traits, and values. The twelve primary archetypes are grouped into three main types—Ego types, Soul types, and Self types. Each type within the three groups shares a common driving source.

While the personalities of most people will fit several archetypes, there will be one dominant archetype.

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Great read. The ability to understand and analyze the characteristics of types will help you understand how you need to create a hero in various versions of genres.