Tying theme to each archetypal character

by Patrick St.Hilaire

Question: How to tie the theme to each archetypal character? For instance the protagonist is stronger because his value or theme approach separates him from the world but what about the guardian or contagonist? How do you tie theme to the conscious or faith characters giving them value?


Answer: It's important to remember that the archetypal characters are part of the overall throughline of the story. The overall throughline will have one thematic argument, such as selfishness vs. selflessness or faith vs. disbelief. The archetypal characters may be involved in various events that demonstrate the advantages and disadvantages of each side of the argument.

So let's assume that your contagonist, for example, tends to act in a selfish manner at times. You may show how sometimes that choice is advantageous and at other times it is disadvantageous.

Or you might have another character who also acts selfishly, but in a different way or in different situations, and so is judged differently.

This invites the reader to weigh up whether selfishness is generally good or bad.

At the same time, you may have other characters who act selflessly. (Perhaps your protagonist?) Again, sometimes this may be the best choice. Other times it may be a bad choice.

In this way, you can build up a very complex argument, inviting readers to have a lot of fun weighing up the pros and cons of each side of the argument in order to reach a conclusion as to which principle is better.

As the writer, you are free to stack the evidence however you like. But don't make it 100% on one side, because then you're not letting the reader weigh things for themselves.

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