Over the years, i’ve analyzed dozens that movies through the lens of five primary personality archetypes: Protagonist, Nemesis, Attractor, Mentor, Trickster. This is mine theory, that most movies have these five narrative dynamics at job-related in them:

A character or characters with a mindful goal towards which they are relocating forward: Protagonist.

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

An ally who is most linked to the Protagonist’s emotional development: Attractor.

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

A character that switches from allied to enemy, opponent to ally, and also tests the will certainly of the Protagonist: Trickster.

We watch this set of stare dynamics in movie after ~ movie after ~ movie, enough to indicate there is a sample at occupational here. For this reason this week, a series on these five character archetypes in movies.

Today: The classic 1939 movie The magician of Oz.

IMDb plot summary: as soon as a nasty neighbor do the efforts to have her dog put to sleep, Dorothy takes her dog Toto, to operation away. A cyclone appears and carries her to the magical land of Oz. Wishing to return, she starts to take trip to the Emerald City where a good wizard lives. On her means she meets a Scarecrow who needs a brain, a Tin guy who desires a heart, and also a Cowardly Lion that desperately needs courage. They all hope the magician of Oz will aid them, prior to the evil Witch the the West catches up v them.

Protagonist: Dorothy Gale (Judy Garland)

Clearly Dorothy is the story’s Protagonist:

The story is told v her perspectiveIt’s her journeyThe plot and all the other personalities revolve roughly herHer personality goes v the most far-ranging metamorphosis


Typically a Protagonist starts a story in a state of what I speak to Disunity. Joseph Campbell, who wrote the seminal occupational “The Hero through a thousand Faces” which affected George Lucas in creating Star Wars and also has had a substantial impact in Hollywood, defines it this way:

The Hero is make do, but feels other missing, a sense of uncomfortable or tension. The Hero requirements to change, even if they space unaware of that need.

This is a vital point, one demonstrated as soon as Dorothy sings “Somewhere end the Rainbow” and in specific with this lines :

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

What room Dorothy’s clouds? What space her troubles? clearly she has an concern with miss out on Gulch, that’s how the movie begins, yet an additional incident in an recurring struggle in between the “old witch” and Dorothy’s dog, Toto. Yet the subtext of the song and also the feel which drives Dorothy as she sings it derives native something else.

Fundamentally ns think she feeling a sense of alienation, favor in some very real means she doesn’t belong where she lives:

She’s a young girl surrounded by civilization older than she (in the Kansas scenes, there room seven various other humans and each of them is one adult).Everyone top top the farm — from Auntie Em and Uncle Henry to the hired assist Hunk, Zeke, and Hickory — has a certain job or task. Dorothy does not.Nor does she have actually anyone (other than Toto) to play with, one reason she gets right into trouble while “walking along the railing in between the pig pens” and also falling in, necessitating Zeke to rescue her (this event reinforces just how she simply doesn’t to the right in through the means of the farm).She also dresses in different way than anyone else in a fresh blue-and-white dress whereas the rather wear dingy work clothes.Perhaps the solitary biggest contributing element for Dorothy’s sense of alienation is a reality we may tend come overlook: she is one orphan.

So we have the right to say the Protagonist starts The magician of Oz in a state that Disunity: she living in a residence that doesn’t feel favor home. She yearns come “fly away” to part dream-like place “over the rainbow” whereby she will find a feeling of belonging.

Indeed the takes a wonder trek v Oz with all its challenges and complications, allies and enemies to aid Dorothy change from one alienated girl right into someone that by the finish feels around the farm and also its civilization — “there’s no place like home.”

Nemesis: miss out on Gulch / The wicked Witch the the West (Margaret Hamilton)

Functioning in opposition to Dorothy is miss Gulch. She rides her bicycle come Uncle Henry and Aunt Em’s farm to take away Toto stating, “If you nothing hand over the dog, I’ll carry a damages suit that’ll take it your whole farm!” Dorothy’s response? come cry the end at miss out on Gulch: “You evil old witch!” This sets right into motion how Miss Gulch transforms right into the evil Witch that the West once Dorothy get Oz.



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

The Attractors start the story as the farm’s 3 hired hands: Hunk, Hickory, and Zeke, as close come friends together Dorothy has actually (aside from Toto). As soon as Dorothy journeys come Oz, these 3 accompany she in the type of Scarecrow, believe Man, and also the Cowardly Lion. Her allies follow me the way, lock play a crucial role in Dorothy’s adjust of heart around her home back in Kansas — befitting their roles as Attractor characters.

DOROTHYOh, you the finest friends anyone everhad! and also it’s funny, but I feel as if I’veknown you all the time. But I couldn’thave, could I?

Friends. These three serve together a leg to aid Dorothy discover a genuine sense that home.

Mentor: Glinda (Billie Burke)

The Mentor is Glinda. A great witch, she dispenses wisdom come Dorothy consisting of advice around the ruby slippers, walking to watch the wizard of Oz, also telling her to “follow the yellow brick road.” All that is the stuff of a Mentor character.

Trickster: Professor Marvel / The sorcerer’s / The Gatekeeper / The Carriage Driver / The security (Frank Morgan)

There is Professor Marvel that then dram the function of four other characters 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) test Dorothy, sometimes an ally, occasionally an enemy, in concert through a Trickster.

Of course it’s the Wizard himself who gives the best challenge: to bring ago the angry Witch’s broom. But then one an ext obstacle when instead of escorting Dorothy earlier home in his hot air balloon, he paris away — leaving Dorothy crestfallen, however preparing she for Glinda’s wisdom — “Just click your heels and repeat, ‘There’s no ar like home’” — to enable her to return to Kansas.

Trickster: Toto

One various other Trickster: Toto. The tiny dog is the one that precipitates whatever by harassing miss Gulch. It s okay taken away, escapes, cause Dorothy to run away, discovers who the genuine Wizard is through pulling earlier the curtain, and also causes Dorothy to miss the balloon flight back to Kansas as soon as he leaps out to chase a cat. Ally, enemy, enemy, ally… tests.


The journey to Oz enables Dorothy to gain the intellectual awareness of just how much Auntie Em has actually done for her, yet it is with the bonding experiences through Scarecrow, tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion that she concerns a depths emotional understanding — this three are her friends. Because of these newfound friendships, she discovers a sense of belonging, fulfilling her need that her residence in Kansas is important a home.

As Dorothy expresses in the really last present of the movie:

DOROTHYHome! and this is my room — and you’reall here! and I’m not going to leave hereever, ever again, due to the fact that I love friend all!And — Oh, Auntie Em — there’s no placelike home!

Once she returns, the location which when did not feel like a home, does, a clear instance of she metamorphosis.

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This is simply one plenty of movies which reflect these five primary personality archetypes. That said, i am not suggesting this is the only means to strategy writing a screenplay. Over there is no right method to write. Every writer is different. Every story is different. All i am suggesting is over there is something going on here about this specific set of stare dynamics as exhibited in the form of character types. And they deserve to be a vast help for writers as we connect our characters, their interrelationships informing ours story-crafting and plotting process.