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My question is about "Gone with the Wind," and is actually more about cinema than literature (I haven't read the book), but I think it might also be pertinent here.

How would you call Rhett Butler's character archetype in "Gone with the Wind"? I don't mean so much his alpha-male, bad-boy or a self-made-man aspect, but him as a character who can successfully operate on both sides of the political divide without caring much for neither. He isn't a go-between, and the "crafty self-made-man" does not really capture his free movement between the two sides, his transcendent or dialectical position. Is there a term for a character archetype like him?

"The player" would work, but I find it somewhat lacking as it subordinates his position to the divide rather than suggesting how he transcends it. He is no Harlequin. Trickster is a bit too generic

  • What exactly is a character archetype? What do you hope to learn from identifying this character's "character archetype"? How do we know that this character even has a character archetype? – user111 Sep 13 '17 at 1:45
  • I think you know what I mean by archetype and this is what I am asking, which archetype does he remind you (I gave plenty of examples of archetypes that have been used for him). My goal is to compare him with other similar characters in other works. If you think he doesn't represent any archetypal character, well, fine. That wasn't the question – Howard Roark Sep 13 '17 at 2:54
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    "I think you know what I mean by archetype" I mean, I'm familiar with the word archetype as used by Jung, but none of the examples you gave are of Jungian archetypes. So I don't know what you mean. It would be nice if you could edit this question to state the definition of archetype that you are using. – user111 Sep 13 '17 at 2:56
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    "a character‐type that recurs in different times and places in myth, literature, folklore, dreams, and rituals so frequently or prominently as to suggest (to certain speculative psychologists and critics) that it embodies some essential element of ‘universal’ human experience." (Oxford) He is definitely a variation of a trickster, indeed a "player," but I wondered if there exists a more precise word used by scholars, something that emphasizes his free movement between ideologies, his transcendence from them (after all, he represents the new America, while Scarlett - the stubborn South) – Howard Roark Sep 13 '17 at 7:33
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    I don't mind a Jungian approach if insightful, but by archetype I mean quite a broad range of character-types and their subspecies (up to contemporary countless stock characters and cliches). I don't discriminate between methodologies, be they Russian formalism, psychoanalysis, or Hollywood genre-studies – Howard Roark Sep 13 '17 at 7:39

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