What is the Innocent archetype?
Did Carl Jung first label this archetype?
How does the Innocent archetype differ from the Innocent Child archetype?
The Innocent archetype was first identified by Carl Jung in his list of 12 archetypes. The Innocent is also a part of everyone, in some small way, and may be represented by the Child archetype that is present in everyone’s psyche to some degree.
With that said, however, the Innocent and the Innocent Child are somewhat different from each other. They may have a few overlapping traits—as many archetypes do—but they are distinct from each other.
The Innocent Child, for example, is a category within the Child archetype. It is a specific kind of Child, and speaks solely to the representation of the Child within a psyche.
The Innocent, however, may be a governing archetype that takes over an individual’s whole Self. The entire Self may be Innocent; it is more than just a division of the Child, and it may be presented by adults and those with adult archetypes, too.
Some Innocents are innocent by choice, or because they aren’t prepared to deal with the world around them just yet. Others are innocent because they can’t help it, or because some circumstance out of their control has pushed them into this archetype.
It may sometimes be difficult to realize that you are an Innocent archetype. You may feel let down or as though you aren’t handling your life the way you should.
If you feel you fit into the Innocent archetype, however, don’t despair. This is not a negative archetype, and it can only help guide you toward more information about yourself as you dive deeper into understanding the meaning behind it. The better you understand your Innocent side, the easier it will be to work through issues as they arise.
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Below, you’ll find specific information regarding the Innocent archetype. Keep in mind that this archetype may often be found in conjunction with others, and that very few individuals showcase a solely Innocent archetype in their psyches. With that said, however, it’s possible for the Innocent to be very strong in people as well as fictional characters.
- The Innocent wants to remain free from having to face the cruelty and harshness of the world around them. They want nothing to do with negativity or difficulty and instead prefer to stay unaware, or to pretend that they are.
- The Innocent archetype just wants to be happy. They can remember with fondness a time when they were at their happiest (whether this is childhood or some other point in their lives), and they want to go back to that time constantly.
- The Innocent also wants everything around them to be okay. They want others to be as happy as they strive to be, and they desperately want the world to be at its best, too. The Innocent tries to see good everywhere, and when they can’t, they may simply look the other way for a while.
- The Innocent wants everyone to understand and be able to relate to them. In fiction, it’s easy for readers or viewers to relate to the Innocent, but in reality, many individuals have a hard time following the positivity of this archetype.
- The Innocent cares about doing good at all times and making sure others do good whenever possible, too. One of the ultimate goals of the Innocent is to do the right thing and to make sure goodness prevails.
- The Innocent cares about others and strives to help them with whatever they are able to offer.
- The Innocent archetype is good at speaking to others. When someone Innocent talks, people tend to listen. This archetype may even be able to sway others to their side, depending on how good of a speaker they really are.
- This archetype is also a strong member of a group and is usually capable of picking up the spirits of those around them. The Innocent may make it easier for dejected team members to stay on task or remember what’s important to them or what inspires them when things get difficult.
- The Innocent is optimistic in the face of danger or negativity.
- It’s very easy for the Innocent to become too naïve to function properly. They may be so far gone into their ideal world that they cannot see dangers or are unwilling to believe someone or something could be negative.
- The Innocent may be very sheltered, either by their own doing or by someone who is in charge of taking care of them. Since others tend to view the Innocent as unable to care for themselves, it’s easy for them to be taken advantage of.
- The Innocent may be quite stubborn and set in their ways.
- This archetype is a generally happy and upbeat one and is almost always capable of seeing the good in every person or situation they come into contact with.
- This archetype can keep up the spirits of those around them and tends to have an infectious smile.
- Whether by their own choice or because of their circumstances, the Innocent may not always realize they’re in a bad situation until it’s too late, and they may require the help of another archetype to get them out of these predicaments.
- The Innocent is energetic and usually fairly bubbly, even when things are grim.
As you can see, there is a strong balance within the Innocent, even though it seems at first glance to be an unprepared archetype that can’t deal with many issues. This archetype is not bad or wrong; it simply is, just like all other archetypes from the Jungian list and beyond.
In order to better understand the concept of the Innocent, it’s important to examine some fictional examples to guide you through your studies. Remember that, just like in real life, Innocent characters are not necessarily children, although some may be.
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Here are a few examples of this archetype to keep in mind:
- Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz: Dorothy’s positive attitude and upbeat thinking land her in the Innocent category.
- Forrest Gump from Forrest Gump: Forrest is Innocent without trying, and his circumstances lead him to fit into this archetype.
- Ophelia of Hamlet: Ophelia tends to remain unaware of what’s going on in the bigger picture around her until it’s too late, and she takes her own life out of grief when she has to face reality.
- Snow White from Snow White: So Innocent that she never even acknowledges danger until it’s right upon her, Snow White is a prime example of the archetype.
- Dory from Finding Nemo: Dory enjoys being happy and easygoing, and although she can’t always help it, it keeps her Innocent.
Are some of your favorite characters from other sources Innocent types? Do you feel like you might also fit into the Innocent archetypal category? Take some time to consider how you relate to the characters listed above or to others you pinpoint as Innocent, and spend a while meditating or otherwise thinking on the possibility within your own life.