Hero Archetypes


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What is the Hero archetype?

Did Carl Jung first identify the hero archetype, or did someone else name this one?

Are there other names for hero archetypes?

The Hero archetype is possibly the most widely-recognizable, and it is certainly one of the most common, especially when it comes to fictional characters. It’s not hard to identify the Hero in most works of fiction, but in reality, it may be a little trickier to find the people who fit into this category.

Carl Jung listed the Hero as one of his original twelve archetypes, and it has been present throughout history, dating all the way back to the first recorded stories. This archetype drives much of fiction, and the Hero is almost always the character around whom the story revolves.

There aren’t any other names for the Hero, specifically, but there are variants on the Hero that will come into play depending on the character or person in question. These variants can help specify more about a Hero and can help determine what, if any, future archetypes he may showcase as well.

Read through the information below to find out more about the Hero archetype.

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Hero Details

In order to fully understand a Hero archetype definition, you should break down the archetype based on its various features and qualities. Below, you can find specific details to make it easier to get an idea of this archetype. Take some time and think about what you read in order to determine whether or not you may be a Hero archetype yourself.


  • Grandstander: Also known as the Bully, the Grandstander thinks he’s better than everyone else and wants others to think that, too. He may be loud, brash, obnoxious, or mean in order to get the attention of those around him.
  • Coward: The Coward allows others to do what they want all the time, and never sticks up for himself. Something bad happened to him in his past that now guides all of his decisions, and it won’t let him become the great Hero he is meant to be.
  • Superhero: The Super Hero archetype is a step beyond the Hero. The Superhero is almost all-powerful and godlike, although they may have a flaw that prevents them from reaching this height.
  • Warrior: The Warrior is not technically a variant of the Hero, and is in fact a different archetype. However, they are very similar and share many qualities.


  • The ultimate goal and objective of the Hero is to be so good at being a Hero that they can transition into another archetype. This may sound counterproductive, but in reality, the Hero is not the final stage of either the feminine or the masculine archetypes. Therefore, the Hero wants to become something more than they are, even when they are successful. They want to live their life, live it well, and feel like they have something to show for themselves when all is said and done.


  • The Hero wants to have a chance to mature. This goes hand-in-hand with the idea that the Hero is not the end of an individual’s archetypal path. Many Heroes, after their quest is done, just want to settle down and have a life of their own.
  • The Hero wants to be able to be themselves. They like to solve problems their own way and make decisions based on their morals and beliefs.
  • The Hero wants to determine their potential and then see that potential realized. They know there’s something more out there than what they are currently, and they are willing to go on a journey to find it.


  • It is the goal of the Hero to understand something new and important about themselves, even if they don’t realize it consciously. When a Hero makes this realization and then returns to their starting point having improved or changed because of it, then their quest is through.
  • The Hero wants to succeed in their quests. They want to be able to find the item, solve the puzzle, or save the day, depending on the task that is set before them.
  • Heroes want to become leaders. Even those Heroes who start out reluctantly eventually want to have the help of a strong team behind them.


  • The Hero is generally a good-natured person or character who is able to get along well with many, although not afraid to speak up when they see something they feel is morally wrong.
  • The Hero often has some abundance of strength, whether it is physical, emotional, or spiritual. They use this strength to achieve their goals and succeed in their quests.
  • The Hero is noble and, when he is a positive incarnation of the archetype, they are driven by good morals that represent the feelings of the majority of their society. This, in turn, makes the Hero relatable.


  • Heroes can get swept up in the idea of impressing others and being recognized for what they do. They may lose track of what it really means to be giving, altruistic, and kind.
  • Heroes may lack courage, and may instead only pretend to be courageous. When this happens, they become fearful or intimidated by the situations they are supposed to be able to handle.
  • Heroes may become aggressive and violent, much the same as Warriors.


  • The Hero is generally good, kind, and compassionate.
  • Heroes are motivated by their desire to fit in and belong as well as their love for a place, person, thing, or idea that is meaningful to them.
  • Heroes often come from tragedy or darkness and transform into something that transcends this negativity.


Now that you’ve had a chance to look over the concept of Heroic archetypes, you may find yourself wondering whether or not you could be a Hero. Although this archetype is more prevalent in fiction than in reality, there’s no reason why it can’t work for you, especially if you feel you showcase the attributes that are related to the Hero.

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Learn more by considering the hero archetype examples listed below:

  • The Avengers: All of the characters in The Avengers are part of the Hero archetype. Some fit into different Hero variants than others, but at the end of the day, they are all Heroes.
  • Hercules: Hercules is both Warrior and Hero at times, but for the most part, he remains Heroic in everything he does.
  • Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games: Katniss is an example of a young girl who fits the Hero role. She finds a cause and works to make a difference for the better.
  • Luke Skywalker from Star Wars: Luke is one of the most iconic fictional Heroes. He comes from nothing, experiences tragedy, and goes on a quest to find himself and his place in the world.
  • Wonder Woman: Wonder Woman fits into the Superhero variation of the Hero archetype. She is very powerful, she doesn’t let anything stop her, and her morals remain strong as she fights in the name of her people.

These examples are just some of the many Heroes out there in the world of fiction and mythology. Remember that a Hero can be anyone, and that Heroes may grow out of other archetypes or into new ones depending on the course of their development.



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