Other Common Archetypes

  • The Servant with Two Masters is always torn between loyalties, often representing a core dilemma in the play that must be resolved (an example might be either lead from Romeo and Juliet who are torn between family and love).
  • The Wise Councillor, sometimes appears as a Senator or doctor, and is usually older. The wise councillor has experience and gives good advice that is often ignored. Sometimes a magician. This figure will often serve to lay out the central dilemma, offer solutions to it, or refuse to be tempted to perform inappropriate action even if the result of doing so is tragic (an example might be Thomas Moore from A Man For All Seasons or Prospero from The Tempest).
  • The Lover, who is often unlucky in love and comes to a bad end. The lover is usually naive and that naivete, coupled with their passion, spells their doom. Sometimes they represent a goal that is to be achieved - a rescue or a union or other resolution to the core dilemma of the play - but sometimes they are a temptation that tries to lead the central character astray.
  • The Bishop, a priest or priestess, usually advanced in years and a heavy purse, soemtimes counting coins, sometimes dispensing sweets to the crowd in a display of charity and prosperity. The Bishop usually straddles both the mudnane world and the spiritual, and presents practical advice as well as spiritual support.
  • The Captain, a bravo or professional soldier, a braggart with a lustful eye who nonetheless is a man of action. The captain is never cowardly, and often dies valiantly despite earlier boastfulness.
  • The Mountebank, a swindling conman, who steals apples from children, often a compatriot of the Beast. Mountebanks may be clever anti-heroes but more often are deceptive, manipulative and crude. They often symbolise a problem that needs to be overcome thorugh wit and cunning (examples might include anything from the man who tricks Jack into swapping his cow for beans, through various Shakespearean clowns, all the way to actual villains such as Iago from Othello).
  • The Beast, a hulking inhuman monster with savage teeth who eats human flesh, especially children. Sometimes it is represented by an orc, although this practice has fallen out of favour a little. It is also represented as a savage thug companion to the Moutnebank. It usually symbolises dark forces, something that must be overcome with strength or combat, hunger, wickedness or evil (an example might be Caliban from The Tempest).

Using the Archetypes

You should treat this list as inspiration, obviously, but it can help to come up with a play on short notice. For example, if you are about to perform a ritual to grant a soldier or group of soldiers extra battlefield prowess, you might scan the list. The targets are from Holberg and are brave warriors, so using Holberg either alongside or in the place of the Captain seems obvious, maybe giving her a sidekick represented by Vassa. You put in a Beast for them to overcome, and a Wise Councillor to offer good advice (representing the ritual). You then throw in a lover to be rescued - after all, you're performing to a small audience of bravos here not a sophisticated Sarvosan crowd - and start to work with the rest of the troupe on some lines and a light action sequence.