There are 8 essential archetypal characters, each of which represents a different aspect of our own minds.
The Protagonist portrays our
initiative, Antagonist our reticence to change. Reason is our intellect, Emotion
our passion. Skeptic is our self-doubt, Sidekick our self-confidence. Finally,
Guardian represents our conscience and the Contagonist is
Naturally, each must be developed as a complete person as
well as in its dramatic function so that the reader or audience might identify
with them. Yet underneath their humanity, each archetype illustrates how a
different specific aspect of ourselves fares when trying to solve the problem at
the heart of the story.
In this manner, stories not only involve us
superficially, but provide an underlying message about how we might go about
solving similar human problems in our own lives.
Here are the eight
archetypal characters, described in terms of their dramatic
PROTAGONIST: The traditional Protagonist is
the driver of the story: the one who forces the action. We root for it and hope
for its success.
ANTAGONIST: The Antagonist is the
character directly opposed to the Protagonist. It represents the problem that
must be solved or overcome for the Protagonist to
REASON: This character makes its decisions and
takes action on the basis of logic, never letting feelings get in the way of a
EMOTION: The Emotion character responds
with its feelings without thinking, whether it is angry or kind, with disregard
SKEPTIC: Skeptic doubts everything —
courses of action, sincerity, truth —
SIDEKICK: The Sidekick is unfailing in its
loyalty and support. The Sidekick is often aligned with the Protagonist though
may also be attached to the Antagonist.
Guardian is a teacher or helper who aids the Protagonist in its quest and offers
a moral standard.
CONTAGONIST: The Contagonist hinders
and deludes the Protagonist, tempting it to take the wrong course or
From the Dramatica