Simply, The Hero Archetype is a recurring pattern of character, symbol, or issue found in the mythology and religion of all cultures. Swiss analytical psychiatrist, Carl Jung defined his concept of Archetype as a formula that is the result of “countless experiences of our ancestors…the existence of definite forms in the psyche which seem to be present always and everywhere.” ~ ‘The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, Collected Works.’
The evolution of Archetypes over the past 90 years has grown from Jung’s original 12 to more than 325 subtypes. Humans didn’t “invent” archetypes, but they do express them in the conscious world of art, literature, and religion. Unconscious energies take form as what we call “heroism” in this way.
So, we define The Hero as a trait within ourselves, remembering that the classical collection of The Hero characteristics will include most of the following as they do in Zorro.
Unusual circumstances of birth; sometimes in danger or born into royalty
Leaves family or land and lives with others
An event, sometimes traumatic, leads to adventure or quest
Hero has a special weapon only he can wield
Hero always has supernatural help
The Hero must prove himself many times while on adventure
The Journey and the Traumatic Wound
Hero experiences atonement with the father
The Hero can be male or female, showing the same traits
Motto: Where there’s a will, there’s a way
Core desire: to prove one’s worth through courageous acts
Goal: expert mastery in a way that improves the world
Greatest fear: weakness, vulnerability, being a “chicken”
Strategy: to be as strong and competent as possible
Weakness: arrogance, always needing another battle to fight
Talent: competence and courage
The Hero is also known as: The warrior, crusader, rescuer, superhero, the soldier, dragon slayer, the winner and the team player.
In early 19th century California the masked swordsman hero Zorro was a champion of the people against the tyranny of Spanish rule (Anthony Hopkins / Zorro I). The ruthless Governor learns Zorro’s secret identity is Spanish Nobleman, Don Diego de la Vega. The Governor attacks him, leaving him imprisoned, his wife dead and his baby daughter (Catherine Zeta-Jones) abducted to be claimed as his own child.
Twenty years pass, and the Governor develops a plan to bring California under his total control. Don Diego escapes his long imprisonment and prepares for revenge. A fantastic tactic involves the training of an orphan to become his successor (Antonio Banderas / Zorro II). Together, the two men engage with the Governor and his American henchman to save California and rescue Don Diego’s kidnapped daughter. Once again, the enemies of freedom and justice in California fear the man who leaves the mark of the Z.