The lost soul archetype is one of my absolute favorites. Something about this tortured hero calls to my inner Libra, imploring me to drop whatever I’m doing and fix what has been broken immediately!
The lost soul is exactly that -- lost. At some point in his life, be it during child or adulthood, he has suffered great pain in some form, which (in most cases) eventually drove him into a protective shell of solitude. He is typically solemn, passionate, deep, and brooding. But most of all, he seems outwardly incapable of leaving himself vulnerable to the risk of further heartache. This hero has been burned by fate and doesn’t relish the thought of tempting her wrath by reaching out to another person.
One good example of a lost soul is widowed police officer, Martin Riggs in Lethal Weapon. This poor hero was so devastated by the premature loss of his wife he became a kamikaze–style cop, immersing himself in the dangers of his job, and often in the bottom of a whiskey bottle. With nothing left to lose, Riggs plowed into criminal cases with an unspoken desperation that courted suicide.
By the end of the movie, however, he’d found some amount of solace in the welcoming acceptance of his partner and his loving family. And by the end of the series, partly because of the growth and healing his partner helped guide him through, he was finally able to trust his heart, and allow himself to love and marry again. (You’ve gotta love a HEA!)
Another good example would be Frank Castle. Talk about your tortured souls…Frank did not consider himself lucky to survive when a crime boss out for revenge ordered his minions to wipe out the entire Castle family at their annual reunion. He was forced to watch helplessly as his entire family was brutally assassinated, including his wife and son. He then transforms himself into The Punisher, completely void of self, his mind set on one objective – to make them pay.
By the end of the movie, Frank viciously manipulates his revenge. But along the way he meets a loveable group of misfits who eventually manage to burrow into his gloomy good graces. Though he doesn’t quite find that happily ever after place that we all love to see our heroes reach, he does find the will to feel again, and leaves you with hope that one day he’ll find that special woman to help put the pieces of his shattered heart back together.
The last hero I wanted to discuss is the consummate lost soul. No discussion of this archetype would be complete without him. He is the only lost soul who became even more lost after his soul was returned to him.
The prime example of a lost soul, Angel is a vampire with a soul, forced to live for eternity bearing the burden of his soulless misdeeds. Dark and solitary, not only is Angel hesitant to open his heart to a woman, he suffers from the knowledge that no matter what, it will always be a lost cause. Because of the Gypsy curse that restored his soul, he is forbidden from experiencing even one moment of peace lest he lose his soul again, returning him to the demon-possessed monster responsible for so many deaths in the past. Simply put, Angel is strictly prohibited from physically consummating any meaningful relationship he might otherwise have nurtured.
The bad news is, even though he found himself involved with Buffy Summers in one of television’s most memorable love stories, it wasn’t meant to be, and the two star-crossed lovers parted ways with heavy hearts. The good news…look at it this way, even though he didn’t find his HEA in Buffy’s arms, he has the rest of eternity to find a way to love again. And Joss Whedon willing…he will!
Tell me about your favorite lost soul, and why you do or don’t love them.
Posted by: Tracy Preston
Posted by: Tracy Preston