Friday, 14 October 2011

Looking at Characters: Identifying Archetypes

Once I had finished looking at Character Archetypes I thought I'd be best to look at a range from characters from different mediums and identify which of the new archetypes I've discovered recently do they come under, this is to help get to grasps with defining the characters I have yet to create through the use of examples.

The Punisher / Frank Castle

Frank Castle is one of the many Vigilantes that feature in Marvel Comics but with a drastic difference from many other Heros in the Marvel Universe. After the deaths of his Wife and Children at the hand of The Mafia during a gangland execution in Central Park, New York. Castle, becoming obssesed with vengence began to wage war on all forms of crime with the brutality that the Mob showed his family. Using a variety of weapons and skills from his tenure in the army as a war veteran The Ounisher as Castle now calls himself has a no limits and isn't beyond Killing those who have done wrong making him a very different type of Hero than conventional ones such as Spider-Man or Thor.

The very nature of The Punisher already builds up and interesting ways to approach what archetype he is. His willingness to Kill and general violent streak is often traits of The Shadow but the punisher does this for the greater good making him and "Anti-Hero" his past events and catalyst to becoming The Punisher earns him the title of "Tragic Anti-Hero". Due to many of The Punisher's exploits he can also be seen as "The Judge" as he not only declares who has been evil or good but also punishes them accordingly. By the Chinese Zodiac Archetypes Frank Castle would "The Dog" who "Believes in justice for all. Fights for principles. Sometimes bad tempered, self-righteous."

Vincent Vega

Vega is one of the many characters that appear in the 1994 film Pulp Fiction. Working for gang boss Marsellus Wallace, it is Vega's job to collect items from clients/customers and use aggressive negotiation skills, often with a handy tool such as a fire arm. In the film Vega has been tasked with keeping Wallace's Wife Mia company for the evening, taking her to a movie or restaurant whilst Marsellus is off negociating Business deals of the sort. Ultimately Vega's stash of Herione is the main catalyst for the events to follow, Mia mistaking it for Cocaine overdosing.

Essentially Vega is a hired goon who in other parts of the film is just that but in his own segment is the main character. Through out the film Vega can be veiwed as a "Caretaker" or "Performer" for Wallace but within his own segment in the film Vega's Behaviour and mannerisms can dub his as a "Cycnical Anti-Hero". Pulp Fiction is a great film at showing that character's archetype roles can change by simply presenting a story told from their perspective or centre upon them and that it's the audience's point of veiw that also makes the archetype.

Kaepora Gaebora

Kaepora Gaebora is the Wise Owl that appears in several Legend of Zelda games, often providing hints and clues as to what the player should do next or giving backstory to the events unravelling. It's said during "Ocarina of Time" that Kaepora is the the reincarnation of a Sage adding to the reasons why he knows so much and can guide the player.

Clearly Kaepora can be identified as a "Sage/Mentor" character in that his sole purpose is to guide and inform the player but he can also be viewed as a "Catalyst" in that with out some of his clues the player would not know where to progress from their current stage. The Character has appeared in some kind of essence/symbol in other games but not as Kaepora, In "Link's Awakening" an Owl appears and guides the character but is not Kaepora, in "Twilight Princess" a large bird like entity protects the forest areas showing the role of the Owl being a "Guardian" rather than a "Sage". Through out other games there are Owln Statues that provide useful information showing that not just the character but the form of the character can be an archetype.

Looking at existing characters and trying to figure out their archetypes is a good way to establish how you want your character to be like being through influence or inspiration. With my research into archetypes coming to an end I will be looking for more sources of inspiration for ym own characters.

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