Over the years, I’ve analyzed dozens of movies via the lens of 5 main character archetypes: Protagonist, Nemesis, Attractor, Mentor, Trickster. This is my concept, that a lot of movies have actually these five narrative dynamics at occupational in them:

A character or personalities with a conscious goal towards which they are moving forward: Protagonist.

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A character or characters who carry out an oppositional force: Nemesis.

An ally that is many connected to the Protagonist’s emotional development: Attractor.

An ally that is most linked to the Protagonist’s intellectual development: Mentor.

A character who switches from ally to foe, enemy to ally, and tests the will certainly of the Protagonist: Trickster.

We watch this set of narrative dynamics in movie after movie after movie, enough to suggest there is a pattern at occupational here. So this week, a series on these five character archekinds in movies.

Today: The timeless 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz.

IMDb plot summary: When a nasty neighbor tries to have her dog put to sleep, Dorothy takes her dog Toto, to run amethod. A cyclone shows up and also carries her to the magical land also of Oz. Wishing to rerevolve, she starts to travel to the Emerald City where a good wizard stays. On her means she meets a Scarecrow who demands a mind, a Tin Man who wants a heart, and a Cowardly Lion that desperately demands courage. They all hope the Wizard of Oz will certainly assist them, prior to the Wicked Witch of the West catches up via them.

Protagonist: Dorothy Gale (Judy Garland)

Clearly Dorothy is the story’s Protagonist:

The story is told with her perspectiveIt’s her journeyThe plot and also all the other characters revolve about herHer character goes via the many substantial metamorphosis


Generally a Protagonist begins a story in a state of what I contact Disunity. Joseph Campbell, that composed the seminal work “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” which affected George Lucas in creating Star Wars and also has actually had a vast impact in Hollytimber, describes it this way:

The Hero is making execute, but feels something absent, a sense of discomfort or anxiety. The Hero requirements to change, also if they are unmindful of that require.

This is an important point, one demonstrated when Dorothy sings “Somewright here Over the Rainbow” and also in specific through these lines :

“Someday I’ll wish upon a starAnd wake up wbelow the clouds are farBehind me.Wright here troubles melt prefer lemon dropsAway over the chimney topsThat’s wbelow you’ll discover me.”

What are Dorothy’s clouds? What are her troubles? Clearly she has an concern through Miss Gulch, that’s how the movie begins, yet an additional event in an recurring battle between the “old witch” and Dorothy’s dog, Toto. But the submessage of the song and the eactivity which drives Dorothy as she sings it derives from something else.

Fundamentally I think she feels a sense of alienation, prefer in some exceptionally genuine way she doesn’t belong wbelow she lives:

She’s a young girl surrounded by civilization older than she (in the Kansas scenes, tbelow are salso various other people and each of them is an adult).Everyone on the farm — from Auntie Em and Uncle Henry to the hired aid Hunk, Zeke, and Hickory — has actually a particular project or task. Dorothy does not.Nor does she have anyone (various other than Toto) to play via, one reason she gets right into trouble while “walking along the railing between the pig pens” and falling in, necessitating Zeke to rescue her (this incident reinpressures just how she simply doesn’t fit in with the ways of the farm).She also dresses in different ways than everyone else in a crisp blue-and-white dress whereas the others wear dingy job-related garments.Perhaps the single best contributing factor for Dorothy’s sense of aliecountry is a truth we may tend to overlook: she is an orphan.

So we deserve to say the Protagonist starts The Wizard of Oz in a state of Disunity: She’s living in a home that doesn’t feel prefer home. She yearns to “fly away” to some dream-choose place “over the rainbow” wbelow she will certainly discover a feeling of belonging.

Without a doubt it takes a magical trek with Oz via all its difficulties and complications, allies and adversaries to aid Dorothy transcreate from an alienated girl right into someone that by the end feels around the farm and its human being — “there’s no location prefer house.”

Nemesis: Miss Gulch / The Wicked Witch of the West (Margaret Hamilton)

Functioning in opplace to Dorothy is Miss Gulch. She rides her bicycle to Uncle Henry and Aunt Em’s farm to take amethod Toto stating, “If you don’t hand over that dog, I’ll carry a damages suit that’ll take your totality farm!” Dorothy’s response? To cry out at Miss Gulch: “You wicked old witch!” This sets right into activity how Miss Gulch transcreates into the Wicked Witch of the West as soon as Dorothy reaches Oz.



Attractors: Hunk / Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), Hickory / Tin Man (Jack Haley), Zeke / Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr)

The Attractors start the story as the farm’s 3 hired hands: Hunk, Hickory, and Zeke, as cshed to friends as Dorothy has (aside from Toto). Once Dorothy journeys to Oz, these three acfirm her in the develop of Scarecrow, Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion. Her allies alengthy the means, they play an essential role in Dorothy’s change of heart around her house earlier in Kansas — befitting their duties as Attractor personalities.

DOROTHYOh, you’re the best friends anybody everhad! And it’s funny, yet I feel as if I’verecognized you all the time. But I couldn’thave, could I?

Friends. These three serve as a bridge to help Dorothy find a actual sense of house.

Mentor: Glinda (Billie Burke)

The Mentor is Glinda. A good witch, she dispenses wisdom to Dorothy consisting of advice around the ruby slippers, going to see the Wizard of Oz, even telling her to “follow the yellow brick road.” All that is the stuff of a Mentor character.

Trickster: Professor Marvel / The Wizard / The Gatekeeper / The Carriage Driver / The Guard (Frank Morgan)

Tright here is Professor Marvel who then plays the role of 4 various other personalities in Oz: The Doorman, The Guard Who Cries, The Carriage Driver, and the Wizard of Oz. Each version of this character (with the exception of the Carriage Driver) tests Dorothy, occasionally an ally, periodically an opponent, in concert via a Trickster.

Of course it’s the Wizard himself that offers the greatest challenge: To carry ago the Wicked Witch’s broom. But then one more obstacle when rather of escorting Dorothy earlier residence in his warm air balloon, he flies amethod — leaving Dorothy crestfallen, however preparing her for Glinda’s wisdom — “Just click your heels and repeat, ‘There’s no location choose home’” — to enable her to return to Kansas.

Trickster: Toto

One other Trickster: Toto. The little dog is the one that precipitates every little thing by harassing Miss Gulch. Gets taken ameans, escapes, bring about Dorothy running away, discovers who the real Wizard is by pulling ago the curtain, and also causes Dorothy to miss out on the balloon trip back to Kansas when he leaps out to chase a cat. Ally, opponent, enemy, ally… tests.


The journey to Oz permits Dorothy to get the intellectual awareness of exactly how much Auntie Em has actually done for her, however it is with the bonding experiences with Scarecrow, Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion that she concerns a deeper emotional understanding — these 3 are her friends. Due to the fact that of these newuncovered friendships, she discovers a sense of belonging, fulfilling her require that her residence in Kansas is truly a house.

As Dorothy expresses in the very last lines of the movie:

DOROTHYHome! And this is my room — and also you’reall here! And I’m not going to leave hereever, ever aobtain, because I love you all!And — Oh, Auntie Em — there’s no placeprefer home!

Once she returns, the area which as soon as did not feel like a house, does, a clear instance of her metamorphosis.

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This is simply one many type of movies which reflect these five primary character archekinds. That shelp, I am not arguing this is the only means to approach writing a screenplay. Tbelow is no ideal means to write. Eextremely writer is different. Eextremely story is various. All I am saying is there is something going on below about this particular collection of narrative dynamics as exhibited in the form of character types. And they have the right to be a large help for writers as we engage our personalities, their interrelationships informing our story-crafting and plotting process.