Learn all about the tyrant archetype, including definition, characteristics, examples and how it relates to the Ruler archetype.
What is the Tyrant Archetype?
The archetypal Tyrant is convinced that they are the centre of the universe, that everything and everyone within it can and should revolve around them.
They are possessed with an unwavering belief that they know better than everyone else, that others should follow them, obey their instructions and do as they do.
This belief gives them an air of self-righteousness, over-confidence and arrogance but also a charisma which is capable of making them appealing to those who agree with and are willing to buy into their way of thinking.
The tyrant is only interested in pursuing their own interests and agenda, even if this is at the cost of other people.
In doing so they are happy to destroy anything which stands in the way of them achieving their ends, even if that means destroying the lives of others.
Tyrant Archetype Characteristics & Traits
- The archetypal Tyrant is filled with anger and rage, although often this comes from a deep-seated fear and lack of self-esteem within themselves.
- The anger can come from an abusive childhood, from a belief that life or the people they have encountered has treated them badly or because their self-image has been damaged by a lack of access by the things required to boost it e.g. material possessions.
- The anger which fills the Tyrant can lead them to hit out at others, doing so and inflicting pain giving them an increased sense of empowerment which is otherwise missing in their life.
- They display hatefulness, envy and abusiveness towards others as a result of their need to make themselves feel better about their own weaknesses and insecurities, as well as to help them achieve a sense of power which they otherwise cannot get in their lives.
- Despite their outward display of confidence and power the Tyrant is sensitive to criticism and will seek to shield themselves from such criticism wherever possible in order to protest themselves from the pain and deflation such comments can cause.
- Despite this, the archetypal Tyrant does possess natural leadership qualities, albeit they will use these qualities for dark purposes.
- They can be a skilled leader and organiser, as well as a charismatic speaker who can draw followers to their cause through the power of their oratory.
Tyrant Archetype Examples
An example of the Tyrant archetype is Adolf Hitler.
Hitler promised the German people a bright and promising future for their country following the trauma of the First World War and the economic troubles of the 1920s and early 1930s, only to seize power and become a dictator.
A charismatic leader and speaker, he was able to draw millions of people to his cause, allowing him to take Germany headlong into war and genocide, oppressing and murdering millions of people in pursuit of his own psychotic doctrine and nearly destroying his own country in the process.
Further reading on the tyrant archetype includes:
- King Warrior Magician Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine – by Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette
- Tyranny and Usurpation: The New Prince and Lawmaking Violence in Early Modern Drama – by Doyeeta Majumder
- Tyranny of the Normal: Essays on Bioethics, Theology & Myth – by Leslie A. Fiedler