What are the male archetypes? Male archetypes are energy types that Douglas Gillette believes are present in the collective unconscious. There are generally five male archetypes: the magician, the alpha male, the beta male, the gamma male, and the sigma male. The magician archetype is the manipulator of energy and is the most rare. The alpha male is the leader and has high amounts of masculine energy. The beta male is the follower and has lower amounts of masculine energy. The gamma male is similar to the beta male but is more in touch with his feminine side. The sigma male is the outsider who doesn’t conform to any societal norms.
Each archetype has its own strengths and weaknesses. For example, the king archetype is the most mature and balanced, while the warrior energy is strong and aggressive, but can be impotent. The magician energy is creative and powerful, but can be addictive, and the lover energy is passionate and intense, but can also be impotent.
There are many examples of male archetypes in pop culture. The most common are the mature masculine archetypes of the delta male and the four archetypes. Other less common ones include the addicted lover, impotent lover, and boyhood archetypes. These archetypes represent different aspects of the male psyche and can be seen in many men in pop culture.
The archetypes of masculinity, which were originally specified by Robert Moore after expanding on the concepts of archetypes outlined by Carl Jung, generally incorporate just four elements of the masculine. However, there are some other archetypes that may be considered masculine more often than not.
Although these archetypes are masculine in nature, this does not mean they can’t apply to women; many times, they apply to real-life women just as often as men. They may be found less commonly in fictional women simply due to the nature of fiction, but even so, there are plenty of fictional women who showcase masculine archetypes as well.
Read through the information below to help determine which masculine archetype, if any, best applies to you. With several to choose from, you may be surprised to find that one or more of these archetypes provides the ideal way in which you can categorize yourself, your personality, and your psyche.
Learn more as you read on.
The Archetypes of Masculinity
Below, you’ll find a quick but thorough rundown of seven of the archetypes most commonly associated with masculinity. Take this opportunity to think about any real-life or fictional people you may know who embody one or more of these archetypes.
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Option #1. King
- Like the Queen of the feminine archetypes, the King is the epitome of masculinity and the goal of all of the other masculine archetypes. When a man or male character reaches his highest point, he embodies all of the good qualities of the other masculine archetypes and develops a strong, powerful, kind, and benevolent ruler personality that shines through as the King. Good Kings understand that someone else will be the King someday, and that they should help train and mentor younger men to allow this to happen. Negative Kings want to hold all the power forever, and they may become corrupt because of this.
Option #2. Warrior
- The Warrior is physically strong, but he is also courageous and has more emotional strength than he lets on. The Warrior is considered an archetype of destruction, but in his positive form, he only destroys so that something new can be created afterward. When this happens, the Warrior usually helps enact a change for the better in some way, even if it means he has to cause harm initially to make that happen. There are pros and cons to the Warrior archetype, and some people fear him because of this. As long as he doesn’t allow the Shadow to take over and make him too aggressive, however, the Warrior remains a positive archetype.
Option #3. Magician
- The Magician has a lot of knowledge and always wants more. This archetype seeks information above all else, and he prefers to make decisions that are grounded in facts and education rather than driven by emotional choices. He also relies heavily on technology and is always looking for new and original ways to utilize the technology he has at his disposal.
Option #4. Lover
- Driven by passion in all of its forms, the Lover loves above all else. This love may be romantic, and it very often is, but it doesn’t have to be. A Lover can be driven by love and affection for family, friends, pets, or even for a cause. What is important in the Lover archetype is that he is empathetic and understanding, that he is not afraid to be vulnerable when he has to be, and that he recognizes his love for what it is. Anything else that follows allows the Lover to fulfill his role.
Option #5. Mentor/Sage/Wizard
- Mentors, which may also be called Sages or Wizards, are similar to some of the main male archetypes, but they are not included in the basic list. They are, however, often represented by male characters, and their traits lean toward the masculine. Mentors want to protect and guide those who are younger and more inexperienced than they are. They also seek out knowledge, and prefer to share knowledge as well. They may, however, be too slow to act in comparison with younger men who fit into other archetypes.
Option #6. Divine Child
- The Divine Child is considered the positive Child archetype of boyhood. This Child is energetic, upbeat, and recognizes his sense of Self for what it is. He is destined to become a Hero or even a King, and he is willing to listen to the advice of those who have real wisdom to share with him along the way. There are other Child archetypes of masculinity, but the Divine Child is one of the most common.
Option #7. Everyman/Orphan
- The Everyman or Orphan archetype is not necessarily a masculine one. However, since many main characters in fiction tend to be male, it leans more in that direction than toward femininity. The Orphan is the archetype that is most relatable to many in the audience. This character has had something tragic or difficult happen in his life, and now all he wants is to find a place where he feels safe and loved. His desire to fit in and to matter to those around him keeps him moving forward.
The archetypes of masculinity are intended to help guide men and male characters through their lives. The natural progression is intended to move men from the Child to the Magician, then to the Lover, then to the Warrior, and then to the King. Of course, this does not always happen in real people or in fiction, but the concept does provide the basic idea of manliness as it relates to archetypes.
Here are a few examples that can make these archetypes a little clearer:
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- King: Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings. As a literal King, Aragorn embodies everything noble and serves as the ideal ruler for his people.
- Warrior: Black Panther from the Marvel films. Black Panther will defend his home at any cost, and he walks the line between King and Warrior as he does so.
- Magician: The Doctor from Doctor Who. The Doctor knows a lot more than he lets on, and he’s always trying to find out more. He uses technology to piece together puzzles and solve problems at every turn.
- Lover: Romeo from Romeo and Juliet. The classic Lover, Romeo is driven by his passion and makes all of his decisions based on his love.
- Mentor: Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings. Gandalf shares his wisdom with those who need it most, even after his downfall.
- Divine Child: Peter Pan. Peter Pan remains a child forever, and in this way, he can be considered part of the essence of boyhood.
- Orphan: Luke Skywalker from Star Wars. Luke also fits into the Hero role, of course, but he is an Orphan/Everyman too. He is relatable to the audience and makes decisions based on his desire to find a place to belong.
Can you think of anyone else who might fit into these archetypes from your favorite sources of fiction? Which characters from movies, TV, video games, books, or mythology represent the masculine archetypes we’ve discussed here today?