Analyzing Character Archetypes: The Class Clown

What makes a great character is that the reader is able to connect in some way, good or bad.  For all of their strengths and flaws there is some element in the character that we sympathize with.  That may be truer for some archetypes than others, but for todays breakdown, most readers want to ignore some resemblances, while idolizing others.  He is confident in himself, adventurous, charismatic, and people flock to be around him.  Unfortunately, he can be a flake, immature, and often unpredictable.  For better or worse he is a part of us all.  He is the fool, the derelict, the jokester, the class clown.

The class clown is a likable character.  He is a free spirit, a wanderer that has many friends and fits in any social circle.  He never feels inferior, does not crave the fancy tangible things in life, he is an inquisitive, introspective person who yearns for a larger understanding.  And, maybe being the centre of attention once and a while.  Life should be fun, he sees other people as boring and shallow.  Living for the adrenaline rush, his spontaneous personality means he will try just about anything once.  Even if that may get him in trouble with his least favorite people, authority figures.  Although he is a natural practical joker, his big imagination and charm can usually keep him out of any serious problems.

The fool has many flaws and vulnerabilities.  Mostly, he needs to learn how to set some limits on himself, which can be difficult.  He can easily succumb to addictions, can come off as self-centred and has a tendency to be arrogant and confrontational.  He cares about children and will defend them to any cost, mostly because he is pretty much a child at heart.  With most everyone else though, he doesn’t show much sympathy.  Which is fine, he’s not afraid to go at it alone, in fact he fears any major commitment that will tie him down.  Above all else, he fears boredom and the mundane.

Relationships are fickle for the class clown.  On one hand his charisma makes him very likable, fascinating, and attracts many people.  On the other, nobody truly takes him serious, and he struggles to be respected.  He always has one foot out the door in any relationship and has a tendency for self-depreciation in his humour.  When dealing with others, there is a fine line of trust and respect that he is always walking.  Others may get over his flighty nature, or he might jump ship before they have an opportunity to hurt him first.

The class clown is a lovable fan favorite, typically used as the comic relief.  However, there is much more depth to the character than the slap stick humour.  Many ensamble pieces have a ‘fool’ as part of the heart of their team like, Michelangelo of the Ninja Turtles or the Teen Titan, Beast Boy.  Often used in movies or sitcoms like Cosmo Kramer.  But, the archetype has origins that lead back to Shakespeare.  There are many interpretations, but one thing remains steady, the class clown is an entertainer.

Thanks booknerds, take a look at a couple other archetype breakdowns, the recluse, or the seductress.


3 Comments Add yours

  1. TeacherofYA says:

    I missed these posts!


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