Archetypes: the Sage

Pallas Athena

The Sage archetype is a seeker of truth, wisdom and knowledge. In Jungian theory, the archetype represents the spiritual aspect of the personality and may take different forms of enlightenment and wisdom. The Sage engages in meaningful introspection and self-reflection. The sage is a perfectionist whose weakness is caution and lack of action. At worst, the Sage is critical of self and others, and can be fixed in their ideas.

The archetype is also known as the expert, detective, advisor, philosopher, academic, researcher, teacher, thinker, or mentor.

In literature, the Sage plays a crucial role in guiding the hero’s journey, while simultaneously allowing the hero to choose their own path to destiny. The sage archetype may be portrayed as a deity, wise man, crone, or mentor.

Atticus Finch played by Gregory Peck in the 1962 film version of To Kill a Mockingbird

Examples in Myths and Literature

Sherlock Holmes
  • Athena (Greek mythology)
  • Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings, J R R Tolkein
  • Professor Dumbledore in the Harry Potter series, J K Rowling
  • Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs, Thomas Harris
  • Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
  • Dr Sylvia Esterhazy in The Red Word, Sarah Henstra
  • Professor Julian Morrow in The Secret History, Donna Tartt
  • Sherlock Holmes in series of short stories and novels by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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References

  • Inner Space
  • Vogler, Christopher (1998) The Writer’s Journey. Third Edition. Michael Wiese Productions.
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