November 30, 2010

archetypes - trickster

Well, we’ve come to the end. Today’s post is devoted to the Trickster, the last of the archetypes. You can also read the earlier posts about the Hero, Mentor, Threshold Guardian, Herald, Shapeshifter, Shadow, and Ally archetypes.

The Trickster archetype embodies the energies of mischief and desire for change. Usually characters in stories that would be considered troublemakers, clowns, or comical sidekicks would fall into the Trickster archetype. They can be allies working for the hero, or they could be villains working for the shadow. They may be entirely neutral entities, working for their own gain.

The Trickster can also be the hero. These types of Tricksters are the heroes of stories where the defenseless but quick-thinking hero is put up against much larger and more dangerous enemies. In The Hobbit, Bilbo is a Trickster Hero. Even though he is only a humble hobbit, he manages to steal the One Ring from Gollum, keep giant spiders from eating his dwarven friends, saves his friends from the wood-elves, and he manages to steal treasure from the mighty dragon Smaug.

A lot of the time, the Trickster is the comic relief, the character that takes the seriousness and throws a humorous spin on it, making light of the situation. Unrelieved tension, suspense, and conflict can be emotionally exhausting. The Trickster brings a little laughter in, giving the audience the suggestion that the outcome of the story doesn’t look so bleak after all.


  1. Other than the mentor, I think this is the archetype that best suits me. Maybe I'm a trickster-mentor...

  2. I would have to agree, good sir.