Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Fool

By Celinda Barefield

It being spring, I thought I’d share an archetype with you. Though there are many to choose from, such as the “Betrayer,” “Casanova,” and “King Arthur” archetypes, I thought that a sub-character archetype would be fun for a change, so I chose the “Fool” archetype. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Why that one?

The “Fool" is one of the longest standing archetypes in history. It traces its origins as far back as Homer’s Iliad. It was made famous by Shakespeare. Every single one of Shakespeare’s plays included this archetype. A current example of the “Fool” is the character Neville Longbottom in the popular Harry Potter series. Here is a character that, but for a simple chance of fate, could have been the main character of the series. Instead, he is seen as the “Fool.”

So what is the “Fool” archetype anyway? It is a character that for the sake of the story is the laughing stock. He is the center of most jokes, but not because of his own choosing. Luckily, he is also usually the wisest character in the story, or at least he has a piece of wisdom that surpasses all the others showing him to be the smartest person of the group even though everyone thinks him the dumbest. Sadly, his wisdom is often ignored leading to the downfall of a main character. It is the “Fool” that helps get a point across that others would otherwise ignore.

“Fools” make for great sub-characters. They provide comic relief to a tense situation while providing needed insights into the world of the main characters. Most stories have them if you look hard enough. You might even be creating one as you read!


purpleprose 78 said...

Good archetype. Especially useful in fantasy novels and comedies.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the blog, Celinda! Well done. Ginny