The archetype is a concept of psychologist Carl Gustav Jung. In this context, archetypes are innate prototypes for ideas, which may subsequently become involved in the interpretation of observed phenomena. A group of memories and interpretations closely associated with an archetype is called a complex, and may be named for its central archetype (e.g. "mother complex"). Jung often seemed to view the archetypes as sort of psychological organs, directly analogous to our physical, bodily organs: both being morphological givens for the species; both arising at least partially through evolutionary processes.

There are four famous forms of archetypes numbered by Jung:

  1. The Self
  2. The Shadow
  3. The Anima
  4. The Animus

The symbols of the unconscious abound in Jungian psychology:

  1. The Syzygy(Divine Couple, e.g. Aeons)
  2. The Child (examples: Linus van Pelt, Tommy Pickles from Rugrats, Arnold Shortman)
  3. The Superman (the Omnipotent)
  4. The Hero(examples: Siegfried, Beowulf, Doc Savage, Luke Skywalker, Thomas A. Anderson ("Neo"), Harry Potter)
  5. The Great Mother manifested either as the Good Mother or the Terrible Mother (examples: Glinda, Good Witch of the North)
  6. TheWise Old Man (examples: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Gandalf, Albus Dumbledore)
  7. The Trickster or Ape (examples: Brer Rabbit, Otto Rocket, Bart Simpson, Bugs Bunny, Loki, Eris, Eshu,Trix's Rabbit)

"Archetype" is sometimes broadly and misleadingly used as a substitute for such other words as prototype, stereotype, and epitome. Examples:

  • Mother
  • Father
  • Hero
  • Warrior
  • Martyr