Tag: trickster

Character Archetypes Series: #9 Trickster

Character Archetypes Series: #9 Trickster

We have thus come to the end of this long journey. We explored the Hero’s Journey with its stages and Campbell’s archetypes. However, there is a final archetype that supports the Hero on his journey: the Trickster: we talk about him in the last article of the Character Archetypes Series. Last but not least.

Indeed, it is often a character that is remembered very easily even after a long time. Let’s find out who the Trickster is and what are its characteristics.

Who is the Trickster

Trickster represents the archetype of the cheater, of someone who lies.

However, he is not an antagonist to the Hero. He is someone who accompanies him on the Journey but who is unable to be honest about himself.

Often this character has a comic streak.

Let’s think of the Disney cartoon Mulan. Mushu is Mulan’s guardian red dragon who pretends to have been sent to protect her. In reality, his primary interest is to return Mulan home, victorious, so that he can be reinstated among the ancestors.

Mushu, like Donkey in Shrek corresponds to the archetype of the Trickster and retains some comic characteristics. Donkey too, in fact, supports Shrek in his business but for his personal interest.

In Harry Potter, instead, Dobby represents this archetype. He is the elf of the Malfoy’s family, who accompanies Harry Potter causing him some trouble every now and then.

The role of the Trickster

This archetype has a double well-defined function:

  • dramaturgical function: this character generally has the task of playing down the narrative.
  • psychological function: the trickster laughs at his own limits while trying to overcome them.

Put simply, we can define this character as the shoulder of the Hero.

It is a very useful archetype because it helps to ease the tension during the Hero’s Journey, as difficult moments, or a quarrel between the Hero and the Allies. For this reason, the Trickster has usually a part in moments immediately before the battle. For all these reasons, the reader or the viewer becomes easily fond of him.

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bibisco provides you with its novel writing software to create the characters of your narration, according to the model of Campbell’s archetypes.

Character Archetypes Series: #9 Trickster - bibisco interview mode
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bibisco interview mode

Thanks to the interview mode you will thus be able to create a Trickster that has a good comic streak and that the reader or spectator will quickly become attached to. Creating the characters will be simple, fun and the final result is absolutely satisfying.

The final steps of the Hero’s Journey

The Hero must now go home.

The enterprise does not end with passing the Supreme Ordeal. Even the road back home is however full of pitfalls that try to make the Hero fall into temptation again.

The Hero makes it clear why he decides to return to his Ordinary World, instead of staying in this new, extraordinary world. In this passage, the beginning of the end of the Journey, the protagonist faces the consequences for deciding to challenge the Shadow and his dark forces during the Supreme Ordeal. 

Character Archetypes Series: #9 Trickster - Hero's journey - 
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Illustration by Valentina Forni @cloudandcowfish

The moment in which the Hero feels he has definitely changed is that of the Resurrection.

In this step, the Hero passes the ultimate test ever. In this journey back to his Ordinary World, he proves to have changed, resisting what would have previously led him to a different way.

And for this reason, it is approaching the last phase of the Journey: the Return with the Elixir. The protagonist of the narration returns home but does not do it empty-handed. He brings with him a treasure that will be useful to his entire community.

The message of this final part is clear. It is important to know how to share one’s mistakes, one’s growth and change with people around us.

“Life has no meaning. Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer.”

Joseph Campbell

Conclusions

The Hero has come to the end of his enterprise. In the same way have we in this narrative between archetypes and moments of the Hero’s Journey.

The Hero has completed the Supreme Ordeal and deserves the just reward. This is usually an object, such as a sword, a person like one’s beloved or simply the awareness of the change that the Hero has faced since leaving the Ordinary World.

In this journey we have learned that the different types of archetypes hide in every Hero and also in each of us. There are those who are Allies, Trickster, who have a function as Herald or Guardian, or who have become the Shadow because they have succumbed to their weaknesses, and to the dark side of each one.

Our Hero who accompanied us on our long journey is now ready to enjoy his Ordinary World with a new awareness of himself and leaves us the way to continue on our personal and daily Hero’s Journey.