Archetypes in the Movie, “Jaws”

Chief Brody fills the Protagonist’s shoes in Jaws, and few would doubt that the Shark is the Antagonist. Hooper, with all his gizmos, takes the Reasonable stand, while Quint, who simply hates sharks, functions as Emotion. The Mayor is a strong Contagonist and Brody’s wife is a weak Sidekick although it almost seems as if Hooper fills that role sometimes as well. Once again, more versatility is needed than the Archetypal Characters provide.

We still need a Guardian — someone to protect Brody as well as stress the proper moral course. Simply put, Jaws has no character that performs BOTH functions. Rather, the moral half of the Guardian’s role is played by Hooper who reminds Brody of his duty and urges him into taking action against the shark problem, while the protective role is filled in turn by the land itself, Hooper’s boat, and ultimately Quint’s boat.

Non-Archetypal Roles in Jaws

There is no reason why a character must be a person. A boat can be a player as well as a person, as long as it can demonstrate its function to the audience. Again, in Dramatica, the point of a story is to illustrate all aspects of the Story Mind dealing with a problem. As long as each aspect is accounted for, the specific carrier of that Element is structurally irrelevant and may only have storytelling ramifications.

So far we have not determined the Skeptic in Jaws. Who refuses to believe evidence of the shark problem or the need for taking action against it? Clearly the Mayor embodies that characteristic well, and yet was previously identified as the Contagonist. Obviously some “doubling up” is going on here. If we look at who is across from whom in quad form, we can see some of the basic dramatic Character conflicts in Jaws.

Drivers and Passengers in Jaws

Driver Characters

Passenger Characters

From this breakdown, we see a good example in both the Mayor and Hooper of single players who actually portray two distinct Archetypal characters. The Mayor functions as Contagonist and Skeptic, whereas Hooper portrays both Guardian and Reason. Some of these broad labels fit better than others, which is why there are actually some Complex Character arrangements in Jaws as well, that do not quite fall into the strict Archetypal mold.

From the Dramatica Theory Book