In addition to character archetypes, archetypal plot patterns have occurred in the stories of many cultures across all time periods.

The hero’s journey, mother of all archetypes

A graphic of the archetypal hero’s journey

Source: Heroesjourney, Wikimedia

A famous and common plot archetype is the hero’s journey. In fact, some people argue that all other plot archetypes are just variations of the hero's journey. Joseph Campbell lays out the journey of the hero or heroine in 17 steps, but what’s most important about understanding the journey is understanding the arc, or the shape, of the journey. The basic arc is as follows:

A poster of the Star Wars character Luke Skywalker. It has the words :” A New Hope” on it as well as a Jedi Knight symbol.

Source: A New Hope, stevegarfield, Flickr

The plot of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope is a classic hero’s journey. Luke Skywalker yearns for adventure while working on his aunt and uncle’s moisture farm. He receives a call to adventure from Obi Wan and the droids after he helps R2D2 deliver Princess Leia’s message to Obi Wan. He refuses the call until his aunt and uncle are killed by Imperial stormtroopers looking for R2D2. He joins Obi Wan in the adventure to save Princess Leia and her planet from Darth Vader. He forms an alliance with Han Solo and Chewbacca and overcomes many obstacles, eventually destroying Darth Vader’s Death Star and leading the rebels to a decisive victory.