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Archetype
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Archetype

Archetype is defined as the first original model of which all other similar persons, objects or concepts are merely derivative, copied, patterned or emulated. The term is often used in literature, architecture and the arts to refer to something that goes back to the fundamental origins of style, method, gold standard or physical construct. Shakespeare, for example, is epitomized for popularizing many archetypal characters, not because he was the first that we know of to write them, but because he defined those roles amongst the backdrop of a complex, social literary landscape. Thus, the characters stand out as original by contrast, even though many of his characters were based on previously-garnered archetypes (Shakespeare often borrowed from fables, myths and magic to construct and embellish his plays).

Jungian archetypes

The archetype is also 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:

The symbols of the unconscious abound in Jungian psychology:

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