Jung’s Archetypes: The Ego Quartet

You can see examples of each one in the above picture, which I’m going to attach to each of the posts.  This one is going to be about the 4 Ego Archetypes, which are Innocent, Everyman, Hero, and Caregiver.  As you can see each one is in a different cardinal section, which helps further divide them.  Now, I’m going to do my best to give my own take on this in terms of writing.  Will it be perfect?  No, but I’m hoping to get clear points across and help people in the character creation.

The Innocent

Motto– Free to be you and me.

The Innocent falls into the ‘Freedom’ cardinal, which is a desire for paradise.  These are characters that want safety and are scared of doing something wrong.  They might have a severe fear of punishment, but also a naivete that allows them to be led into unwittingly going against their own desire.  Innocents can be overbearingly optimistic and some readers will find them annoying because they will continue smiling even when bad things are happening.  Many authors use them as obnoxious side characters that are destined to be broken over the course of the story.  Still, there is strength in an unwavering positive attitude if written correctly.  It can even be their greatest weapon.

Reason for this one being under ego is because they are fueled by ego.  It is their personal belief that there is good in everyone that drives them.

The Everyman (Also Called ‘The Orphan’)

Motto– All men and women are created equal.

The Everyman is part of the ‘Social’ cardinal, so they have a focus on connecting to other characters.  They want to belong and fear being left out, which can also turn into a fear of standing out.  Unwilling heroes can fall into this category even though they may have to eventually change to another archetype.  An interesting aspect of the Everyman is that due to wanting to be part of a group, they have a high risk of losing their individuality.  This can be a character who is taken over by a belief system that causes harm to them or others.  You might think these characters are weak, but they do have a strength in that they tend to be very grounded.  Unlike the Innocent, they aren’t as positive and have a level of standards.  That possibility of brainwashing isn’t as easy to do as you would think because the groups they join needs to attract them.

Now, I mention ‘The Orphan’ here, which is an alternative and darker version.  These are characters who have been emotionally and/or mentally betrayed.  A sense of abandonment is here to some extent. Characters want someone to take over their life or at least guide them to a better one.  Failure to connect creates more disappointment, which can turn them into an angry and manipulative character.  Personally, I’m not a fan of this being called ‘The Orphan’ because of the connotation.  I would call it ‘The Outcast’, which would be the Everyman’s shadow.  Both want to connect, but one is still trying for good while the other is using the connections to lash out.

The Hero

Motto–  Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

This is probably the archetype that everyone can imagine fairly easily.  The Hero is the character who sets out to leave a mark on the world.  You see them in mythology and modern tales, each one sharing the same courageous core.  This archetype actually has a fear of being afraid, which can lead to arrogance and reckless behavior.  You get a variety of ego here though.  Some characters will acknowledge their limits then work within those or seek to extend them.  Others continue on as if they are perfect, which is asking for trouble.  Even if you knock a Hero down a few pegs, they continue marching on or find an alternate route.  Don’t think I really have to say more about this one since it’s the clearest of the 12 Archetypes.

The Caregiver

Motto–  Love your neighbor as yourself

The Caregiver is part of the ‘Order’ cardinal, which is why they are focused on protecting other people.  It isn’t always the same level.  Some characters will want to defend all they see while others have a single charge that they are focused on.  Martyrs are fairly common here.  While the Everyman has empathy, the Caregiver is even more so.  The former senses the emotions in regards to their own state while the latter feels the emotions of others to know how to react.  Seeing pain and sadness will drive them to fix the problem.  Sacrifice is not uncommon for these characters, which can make them very powerful.

The downsides here are that they can be easy to manipulate or cross a line in their desire to protect.  A villain can force a Caregiver to work for them by taking hostages.  It’s not a great plan since it falls apart once the people are hurt or the Caregiver finds a way to free them.  Still, this is a commonly used weakness.  The crossing of a line is when you have a villainous Caregiver.  They are determined to protect someone to the point where they are hurting other people.  Best example that I can think of is the version of Mister Freeze who was trying to help his cryogenically frozen wife.  He was doing evil deeds to protect and revive her.  Villains like this can be turned hero if their charge is rescued from a situation or convinces them to change their ways.  On the other hand, they can also go full berserker if the one they protect is killed.

What do you think of the Ego types?

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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20 Responses to Jung’s Archetypes: The Ego Quartet

  1. L. Marie says:

    The Ego types seem to be a staple in stories of all kinds. Did you come up with the mottoes? Those really fit. The photos of well-known characters also help.

    Would you consider Lost to be an innocent?


  2. Judi Lynn says:

    This is really interesting. I shared on twitter and my author Facebook page. I’ve used enneagrams and horoscopes, but forgot about Jung.


  3. inkspeare says:

    Interesting. I enjoyed reading this very much. It made me think how the main characters or heroes of today seem to have morphed and exhibit an array of many characteristics that may fall into many categories, a blend, although it seems that one is predominant. I enjoyed watching some CW series, and the other day, I was commenting to my husband that today’s heroes are a bit messed-up (meaning confused/challenged/unclear …). This post made me think of that. Thank you for sharing this; I truly enjoyed it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is the most interesting thing I’ve read in a long time as far as writing goes. I think your graphic is outstanding as well. Really looking forward to the rest of the series.


  5. You could make a personality profile off your graphic. I mean no one person is a pure Archetypes but rather has dominant features. I could see a character as an Innocent with recessive Lover traits. Excellent information.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. V.M.Sang says:

    Thanks for the post, Charles. Fascinating for writers and nonwriters alike. I’m going to keep this for reference, and I’ll reblog it, but not today as my own blog is out every Tuesday.


  7. Reblogged this on Author Don Massenzio and commented:
    Check out this interesting post from Charles Yallowitz’s blog with Jung’s Archetypes: The Ego Quartet


  8. Lots of my characters are Everyman… Everywoman… Everyperson? Not so much as craving belonging as being certain of who they are and what they want their life to be. They don’t have extraordinary abilities, but just want to do their jobs quietly without fanfare. While heroes are out saving the world, Everypersons and Caretakers are creating the world that is to be saved.

    So for me, the down side of being an Everyperson is that you are invisible. Your work is taken for granted and you are ignored by “important” people.


    • An Everyman archetype can be a hero, but it looks like they tend to be part of a group. They’re a difficult one to use as a main protagonist because they are trying so hard to be a part of things. It does work as a tale about finding one’s path and identity.

      Liked by 1 person

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