narrative theories: Propp/Todorov/Barthes/Levi-strausse

the brief calls for me to develop a narrative to build my game around. for this i looked into the narrative theories of propp, todorov, barthes and strausse.

vladmir propp

propp discovered that the majority of the narratives he read (mostly russian folktales) shared a similar structure. this structure consisted of 8 roles in which the characters in the story would fall into:

  • the villain- the enemy/person or thing that works against the heroes actions
  • the hero- morally good, seeking something
  • the donor – the provider of an object/key component to the hero’s journey
  • the helper- the person(s) who assists the hero on his/her journey
  • the princess- the hero’s goal/reward
  • the father of the princess- the person or thing that give the hero the reward
  • the dispatcher- the person who sends the hero on their journey
  • the false hero- a person who appears to be good but ends up aiding the villain

propp tell us that not every story may contain all the roles or that one character can take up more than one of them. these are called the “8 spheres of action”

lets take lord of the rings as an example:

villain- sauron

hero- frodo baggins

donor- Bilbo baggins

helper- Samwise

princess- Salvation of middle earth

father of the Princess- the elves

dispatcher- Gandalf

false hero- Saruman

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