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 most movies have actually these five narrative dynamics at work in them:

A character or characters through a mindful goal toward which they are relocating forward: Protagonist.

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A character or characters who provide an oppositional force: Nemesis.

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

An ally who is the majority of associated to the Protagonist’s intellectual development: Mentor.

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

We see this set of narrative dynamics in movie after movie after movie, enough to imply tbelow is a pattern at work-related 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 actually her dog put to sleep, Dorothy takes her dog Toto, to run away. A cyclone appears and also carries her to the magical land of Oz. Wishing to rerotate, she begins to travel to the Emerald City where an excellent wizard resides. On her means she meets a Scarecrow who requirements a mind, a Tin Man that wants a heart, and a Cowardly Lion that desperately requirements courage. They all hope the Wizard of Oz will help them, before the Wicked Witch of the West catches up through them.

Protagonist: Dorothy Gale (Judy Garland)

Clearly on Dorothy is the story’s Protagonist:

The story is told with her perspectiveIt’s her journeyThe plot and all the various other characters revolve approximately herHer character goes via the most significant metamorphosis


Usually a Protagonist starts a story in a state of what I call Disunity. Joseph Campbell, that created the seminal work-related “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” which affected George Lucas in composing Star Wars and has actually had actually a huge influence in Hollylumber, explains it this way:

The Hero is making carry out, yet feels somepoint absent, a sense of discomfort or tension. The Hero needs to readjust, even if they are unmindful of that require.

This is a crucial point, one demonstrated once Dorothy sings “Somewbelow Over the Rainbow” and in particular via these lines :

“Someday I’ll wish upon a starAnd wake up wbelow the clouds are farBehind me.Wbelow troubles melt choose lemon dropsAmeans above the chimney topsThat’s where you’ll uncover me.”

What are Dorothy’s clouds? What are her troubles? Clbeforehand she has actually an issue with Miss Gulch, that’s just how the movie starts, yet one more occurrence in an ongoing battle between the “old witch” and also Dorothy’s dog, Toto. But the submessage of the song and also the emovement 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 means she doesn’t belong wbelow she lives:

She’s a young girl surrounded by world 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 also Uncle Henry to the hired aid Hunk, Zeke, and Hickory — has actually a certain task or task. Dorothy does not.Nor does she have actually anyone (various other than Toto) to play through, one reason she gets into trouble while “walking alengthy the railing in between the pig pens” and also falling in, necessitating Zeke to rescue her (this event reinpressures how she just doesn’t fit in via the methods of the farm).She also dresses in a different way than everyone else in a crisp blue-and-white dress whereas the others wear dingy occupational clothing.Perhaps the single greatest contributing element for Dorothy’s feeling of alienation is a reality we might tfinish to overlook: she is an orphan.

So we can say the Protagonist starts The Wizard of Oz in a state of Disunity: She’s living in a home that doesn’t feel like home. She yearns to “fly away” to some dream-favor location “over the rainbow” where she will certainly find a sense of belonging.

Undoubtedly it takes a magical trek via Oz with all its obstacles and also complications, allies and adversaries to help Dorothy transform from an alienated girl into someone who by the finish feels around the farm and also its human being — “there’s no area choose residence.”

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 also Aunt Em’s farm to take away Toto stating, “If you don’t hand over that dog, I’ll bring a damage suit that’ll take your totality farm!” Dorothy’s response? To cry out at Miss Gulch: “You wicked old witch!” This sets into motion how Miss Gulch transforms right into the Wicked Witch of the West once Dorothy reaches Oz.



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

The Attractors begin the story as the farm’s three hired hands: Hunk, Hickory, and Zeke, as close to friends as Dorothy has (aside from Toto). Once Dorothy journeys to Oz, these 3 acagency her in the create of Scarecrow, Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion. Her allies along the way, they play a vital role in Dorothy’s readjust of heart around her residence back in Kansas — befitting their roles as Attractor characters.

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

Friends. These 3 serve as a bridge to aid Dorothy discover a real sense of residence.

Mentor: Glinda (Billie Burke)

The Mentor is Glinda. A excellent witch, she dispenses wisdom to Dorothy including advice about the ruby slippers, going to see the Wizard of Oz, also informing 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)

Tbelow is Professor Marvel that then plays the role of 4 other personalities in Oz: The Doorguy, The Guard Who Cries, The Carriage Driver, and the Wizard of Oz. Each variation of this character (through the exception of the Carriage Driver) tests Dorothy, occasionally an ally, occasionally an adversary, in concert via a Trickster.

Of course it’s the Wizard himself who gives the greatest challenge: To bring back the Wicked Witch’s broom. But then another obstacle as soon as rather of escorting Dorothy earlier residence in his warm air balloon, he flies amethod — leaving Dorothy crestfallen, yet preparing her for Glinda’s wisdom — “Just click your heels and repeat, ‘There’s no area like home’” — to allow her to return to Kansas.

Trickster: Toto

One other Trickster: Toto. The bit dog is the one that precipitates everything by harassing Miss Gulch. Gets taken amethod, escapes, bring about Dorothy running away, discovers that the real Wizard is by pulling earlier the curtain, and causes Dorothy to miss out on the balloon trip back to Kansas as soon as he leaps out to chase a cat. Ally, opponent, adversary, ally… tests.


The journey to Oz enables Dorothy to acquire the intellectual awareness of just how a lot Auntie Em has actually done for her, but it is via the bonding experiences with Scarecrow, Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion that she concerns a deeper emotional understanding — these three are her friends. Due to the fact that of these newdiscovered friendships, she discovers a feeling of belonging, fulfilling her require that her residence in Kansas is truly a residence.

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

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

Once she retransforms, the area which once did not feel choose a home, does, a clear example of her metamorphosis.

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This is just one many movies which reflect these five primary character archetypes. That sassist, I am not saying this is the just way to strategy creating a screenplay. Tright here is no best means to compose. Eexceptionally writer is various. Every story is various. All I am suggesting is tbelow is somepoint going on here around this certain collection of narrative dynamics as showed in the form of character forms. And they have the right to be a huge help for authors as we communicate our personalities, their interrelationships indeveloping our story-crafting and plotting procedure.