An archetype ( /ˈɑrkɪtaɪp/) is a universally understood symbol, term, statement, or pattern of behavior, a prototype upon which others are copied, patterned, or emulated. Archetypes are often used in myths and storytelling across different cultures.
In psychology, an archetype is a model of a person, personality, or behavior.
In philosophy, archetypes have, since Plato, referred to as ideal forms of the perceived or sensible objects or types.
In the analysis of personality, the term archetype is often broadly used to refer to:
- A stereotype— a personality type observed multiple times, especially an oversimplification of such a type.
- An epitome— a personality type exemplified, especially the "greatest" such example.
- A literary term to express details.
Archetype refers to a generic version of a personality. In this sense, "mother figure" may be considered an archetype, and may be identified in various characters with otherwise distinct (non-generic) personalities.
Archetypes are likewise supposed to have been present in folklore and literature for thousands of years, including prehistoric artwork. The use of archetypes to illuminate personality and literature was advanced by Carl Jung early in the 20th century, who suggested the existence of universal contentless forms that channel experiences and emotions, resulting in recognizable and typical patterns of behavior with certain probable outcomes. Archetypes are cited as important to both ancient mythology and modern narratives.
Famous quotes containing the word archetype:
“Just as the archetype of the supermomthe woman who can do it allminimizes the real needs of women, so too the archetype of the superkid minimizes the real needs of children. It makes it all right to treat a young child as if he or she were older.”
—Arlie Hochschild (20th century)
“The archetype of all humans, their ideal image, is the computer, once it has liberated itself from its creator, man. The computer is the essence of the human being. In the computer, man reaches his completion.”
—Friedrich Dürrenmatt (19211990)