Good Father

Good Father Archetypal Definition
The good father archetype tends to be loving, kind and authoritative, but not wrathful. Good father archetypes are models for real paternal figure by providing an ideal balance between discipline and love. This archetype is often manifested as a wise man, or even god, whose guidance and knowledge lawfully lead his family through the generations. In western culture, it also serves as a role model for adolescent males by showing them what manhood should be. For example, in Return to Father, Gregory Max Vogt argues that "how we have built our cities and houses and our body of knowledge, our forms of argumentation, our ways of thinking and behaving, what we often perceive as the bedrock of culture, and our understanding of Being itself have been affected strongly by the patriarch."(citation) In other words, western societies build themselves around what is passed down from the fathers. We continually build a wealth of knowledge and understanding through the father figure in each person's life.
Many times the line between a good father and bad father is blurry. It is quite easy for the good father to tip the scales and become the wrathful terrible father. The line is blurred because of who is perceiving the father. In the father's eyes he is all knowing and all powerful; however, in the child's eyes the father's actions may seem unjust. While always a disciplinarian, the good father has become gentler and more compassionate as social ideals of fatherhood have changed. Nevertheless, the function of the good father has remained relatively stable.
Example 1: The Judeo-Christian God
The Judeo-Christian God is the definition of the archetypal good father due to many reasons. This God is described as the original father to all, and his followers are called his children. According to the Bible, he is the creator and ruler of everything, all knowing, and an unconditional lover to all creatures. This is shown through Psalm 68:5: "A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling". The description of the Judeo-Christian God shows fatherly qualities in how he has love towards everyone, and he is all powerful but can show compassion.
The belief in an omnipotent being consistently reappears in a variety of different cultures over time. There is a godly figure in all religions. Throughout time the God figure has remained fairly stable, but over time he has become more of a benevolent God.

Example 2: Ward Cleaver (Leave it to Beaver TV show father)
Ward is a perfect example of the nuclear family father. According to the Merriam Webster online dictionary, the nuclear family is defined as "a family group that consists only of father, mother, and children." In the 1950's, the nuclear family was what every family wanted for their own in the western culture.
The 50's television show Leave it to Beaver took place in Mayfield, Iowa. The family consisted of two sons, a Father, and a mother. The mother is a stay at home mom doing all of the house work and cooking. The job of Ward Cleaver, the father, is never known but it is a good job that generates enough income to support the family's life style. Ward matches the good father archetype definition in how he is loving and forgiving to his family. He is never wrathful, no matter how bad his sons mess up. He is always able to find it within himself to forgive them. Finally, he is also full of knowledge to pass on for his sons ranging from advice on girls to life lessons of right and wrong.
Example 3: Gandalf
Gandalf is a good example of the wise old man, which is a part of the good father archetype. Gandalf is from the Lord of the Ring series. He is the good father archetype to The Fellowship of the Ring. This is shown in how he is all knowing and all powerful, but he does not interfere in the decisions of his companions. He expresses his knowledge but allows The Fellowship make their own decisions. This makes Gandalf a god-like character by how he observes his followers and helps them out in their time of need.
Another archetypal trait Gandalf carries is that he is a protector. In the first movie he gives up his life to save the fellowship, but in the second movie he transcends death in order to aid The Fellowship on their quest.
Example 4: Albus Dumbledore
Albus Dumbledore is a perfect example for the archetype of good father. Dumbledore fits this archetype because throughout the series he does not change. He is the headmaster of the school of witchcraft and wizardry in the Harry Potter series. All of the students and staff look up to him as a paternal figure who provides the entire school with words of wisdom and protection. A model of the good father archetype that Dumbledore also fits is how he is an all knowing and all powerful being. Dumbledore also fits the elder aspect of the good father archetype. This is apparent by how he passes down his knowledge to those who need it. At the time his wisdom may sound like rambling, but he knows precisely what he is saying.
Vogt,Gregory M. Return to Father Archetypal dimensions of the Patriarch. Dallas: Spring Publicatoins , 1991.

Stevens,Anthony. Archetype revisited: an updated natural history of the self. second ed. London: Brunner-Routledge, 2002.

"Leave it to Beaver." (accessed 4/5/2011).

"Gandalf vs. Dumbledore." (accessed 4/5/2011).

"Nuclear Family." (accessed 4/5/2011)

"Archetype." August 29, 208. (accessed April 5, 2011)

Rowling, J.K (2003). Harry potter and the sorcerer's stone (book 1). "London: Bloomsbury." Arthur A. Levine Books.

The Lord of the Rings. DVD. Directed by Peter Jackson. 2001; United States: New Line Cinema. 2001

The New International Version Holy Bible. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002.

"Psalms 68 (New International Version ©2011)" (accessed 4/5/2011)

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