Character Archetypes in Pride & Prejudice and Jane Eyre Flashcard Example #17515

Damsel in Distress
Woman who must be rescued by the hero.
Innocent Youth/Child
Naive, can be an immature adult. Spin– a wise young person. Represents hope for the future of the family/group/tribe.
Wise Old Man
Guide for the hero, helps the hero find his place in the world.
Doesn’t follow the rules of society. Sent away from society for some real or imagined offense.
Isn’t what he seems to be; misleading; causes trouble
Less civilized companion of the hero; often keeps the hero going
Provides comic relief; says things everyone is thinking but is too polite to say (can actually present truth or wisdom)
The one who is against the hero and causes the problem the hero must fix
Perfect example of a man (according to his own culture/time), saves the day, often must descend into an underworld and rise again victorious
Represents law and order
Great Mother
Powerful woman, nurtures the hero; can be good or evil
An obstacle the hero must overcome; something that causes fear
Female version of hero; strong and independent; not satisfied with the status quo
Byronic Hero
In a position to rescue (like the hero), but has a bad reputation–rebellious, arrogant, antisocial, dark, enticingly romantic.
Elizabeth Bennet
Heroine archetype; Everyone expects Elizabeth to marry for money, but she is holding out for true love
Mr. Bennet
Father archetype; Doesn’t do well at this role, which is part of Jane Austen’s point about parents
Mrs. Bennet
Great Mother archetype; Doesn’t do well at this role, which is part of Jane Austen’s point about parents
Lydia Bennet
Damsel in distress archetype; Lydia needs rescuing from her own foolish choices, even if she doesn’t know it
Mr. Darcy
Hero archetype; We don’t think this about Darcy at the start of the book, but by the end, his true nature is revealed
Lady Catherine de Bourgh
Monster archetype; she gets in the way of the hero and is an obstacle that must be overcome (plus everyone is afraid of her)
Who is the villain in Pride & Prejudice?
The villain archetype is the one who causes the problem that the hero must fix. The main conflict that must be overcome in Pride & Prejudice is hinted at in the title– in a sense, Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy must overcome their own pride and prejudices in order to solve the problem. So in that way, Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy are their own villains.
Mr. Wickham
Trickster archetype; Wickham would be the Byronic hero IF he was in a position to save Elizabeth. But she isn’t interested in him once she learns his history. He is more of a trickster because he misleads everyone and causes trouble for the family, which Mr. Darcy, the real hero, must fix.
Jane Eyre
Heroine archetype; Jane is counter-cultural because she has an independent streak and is intellectual. She also rejects a standard marriage proposal from St. John and opts for a non-conventional wedding with Mr. Rochester.
Mr. Rochester
Byronic hero archetype; Mr. Rochester is in a position to save Jane (it is with him that she finds her place), but he has all sorts of issues that give him a bad character. Before Jane can marry him, he must be humbled and suffer the consequences for his bad choices.
Bertha Mason
Monster: Bertha does present herself in a scary way–she isn’t normal (crazy), and she does dangerous, threatening things (sets beds and houses on fire, breaks into people’s rooms while they are sleeping, tears wedding veils). Her presence is an obstacle to Jane’s marriage to Mr. Rochester.
Damsel in Distress: Bertha is to be pitied because she had no choice in her marriage and is not in control of her actions (crazy). She also has not been treated well (locked in the attic and Mr. Rochester tried to marry someone else). She needs to be rescued, although in Victorian times, there were not a lot of options for rescue offered to the mentally ill.
Aunt Reed
Great Mother archetype; remember that this archetype can be good or evil. Aunt Reed is in a position to nurture Jane, but she does the opposite.
Miss Temple
Great Mother archetype; Miss Temple is a positive example in this book; it is her nurturing that helps Jane to learn to balance passion with self-control
Helen Burns
Innocent youth/child archetype; Helen is an example of the wise young person version of this archetype. Her wisdom gives Jane hope for the future– both eternally, and as an example of self-control balancing passion
Mr. Brocklehurst
Wise Old Man archetype; similar to the Great Mother being able to be good or evil, Mr. Brocklehurst is an example of the evil version of this archetype. He is in a position to give Jane guidance about her place in the world, but does the opposite.
St. John Rivers
Father archetype; St. John reveals Jane’s true identity to her; his strict adherence to what is proper and British turns Jane away from marrying him; he is so concerned about law and order that he lacks compassion

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