What is the King archetype?
Does it come from the Jungian concept of archetypes, or was it identified elsewhere?
Are there any other names for this archetype?
The King archetype as it is defined in a modern sense was not included in the original 12 Jungian archetypes. However, this archetype is sometimes also referred to as the Ruler, which is one of the original twelve.
It is important to note, however, that the Ruler archetype and the King archetype may vary depending on the context. For the most part, they are one and the same; the Ruler, though, may be considered more of a leadership role than some iterations of the King.
In this article, you’ll find out all the details of the King archetype. You’ll learn about its variations, including both positive and negative ones, and you’ll be able to find out some of the qualities that make this archetype what it is.
When you take time to think about the King archetype, be sure to consider how it relates to you. You may realize, on further introspection, that you yourself embody the elements of the King archetype. On the other hand, you might find yourself drawn to King figures in literature and movies, and this may tell you a little something about yourself as well.
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Below, you’ll find detailed points about the King archetype. This information can be crucial in helping you better understand your own psyche and sense of Self. Take some time to look over these points and learn more about how the King archetype influences your life.
- Tyrant: The Tyrant cares more about power and control than anything else in his life. He is afraid of losing his power at all times, and therefore lashes out and becomes frightening and violent in order to protect it.
- Weakling: The Weakling is abusive emotionally and cannot take responsibility for his actions. He is a negative and overbearing Shadow King who cannot stand the thought of lacking control.
- Mature King: The Mature King is the ultimate goal of the King archetype. This King is older and wiser, and he has had enough life experiences to help shape him into a benevolent and kind person.
- Divine Child: This is the Child variant of the King. Divine Children will grow into Kings one day.
- The goal of the King archetype is to both mentor and to leave behind a legacy. The King wants to be remembered, and in order for this to happen, he is determined to share his experiences, wisdom, and knowledge with those who come from the following generation. The King, in a positive variation, understands that he cannot live forever, and therefore wants his memory to be preserved by those who take his lessons to heart. He wants to see his “kingdom” (family, workplace, or hometown) thrive, and to know that it will even after he is gone.
- The King wants to bring together all the chaotic energy of his “kingdom” and to help it find peace. He believes in a settling down and a calmness that may not have always been present. In the context of the Self, this means the King wants his mental state to find peace.
- The King wants to be respected. Even if he does not overdo it and never becomes a Shadow King, he still wants those who are younger or less experienced than he is to respect his life and wisdom.
- The King wants to nurture in his own way. The nurturing of the King is not the same as the nurturing of the Father, or the Mother, but it is compassionate regardless.
- This archetype wants to have control. Once again, this doesn’t always mean the King must pass into the Shadow King, but it does mean that he strives to hold onto his control even in the face of danger or threats.
- The King wants to be able to access his own power. He may know he is strong, but he may not be aware of how to utilize that strength until he has enough experience to make it happen.
- The King is good at making decisions in a snap, and he can make tough choices that others in the kingdom may be unable to handle.
- The King is noble and loyal to his kingdom and to those he has sworn to protect.
- The King is capable of putting a stop to war and chaos, and he can instead bring peace and life to the world around him.
- The King understands where and when to put rules into place so that his kingdom can be made safer or more effective.
- It is very easy for the King to become so wrapped up in himself that he feels he is the most important figure in the world.
- The King can easily fall into the trap of using other people to his own advantage, rather than caring about them or listening to what they have to say.
- In some instances, the King can become abusive and violent, spreading chaos instead of peace.
- The King may make too many difficult decisions and may then become afraid of making anymore, backing out of them and passing his responsibility onto someone else.
- One important trait of the King archetype is his mentorship. He wants to help others, and especially to assist younger men who may be on their own journey toward finding their inner King.
- The King is a mature and wise archetype that is the culmination of the life of a man. In the context of the archetypes of men, the King is the ultimate goal toward which all men strive.
- The King is intended to be a combination of the positive aspects of many other archetypes of men, including the Lover, the Warrior, and the Magician.
Were you able to learn something new about yourself and those around you? Or did you find out something about the fictional characters you love? There are many King archetypes both in the world and in fiction, and this is a fairly common archetype to come across. The King is also considered one of the four archetypes of men, and many men in the real world do fit into this leadership role.
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As you expand your knowledge of the King archetype, consider the following examples to help guide you:
- Mufasa in The Lion King: Although doomed from the beginning, Mufasa is a beloved and kind King who shares his wisdom with his son and guides him, even in death.
- Odin in Marvel’s Thor: Odin walks the line between a Positive King and a Shadow King, if only because his King qualities do not allow him to be as forgiving as he might like to be otherwise.
- King Arthur: King Arthur is a classic King archetype who uses his power for the greater good and to protect his kingdom.
- Voldemort in Harry Potter: As a Tyrant, Voldemort is a Shadow King who becomes obsessed with the idea of power and control.
- Frollo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame: Frollo is a Weakling Shadow King who abuses both emotionally and physically. He can’t stand losing control of those around him.
With these examples to help you learn more, you’re sure to understand the King archetype and everything it has to offer in no time.