An archetype is a universal theme, story or character which is so fundamental that, regardless of how many times it is used (or misused), it never becomes stale, dated or Cliché
. This is the opposite of discredited tropes
, which started out as good ideas but were used so often they became cliché. A "pure" archetype is always a partial personality, rather than a rounded character. In fiction or life, an excessively archetypal character is likely to come across as two-dimensional, if not one-
dimensional. (And in real life, they may be mentally ill!)
For example, Star Wars
was purposefully built upon Archetypal Characters
, to which it owes its longevity. The entire story hinges upon The Hero's Journey
, which is an archetypical story.
An interesting point is that many tropes could easily be considered archetypes in and of themselves.