High up on the mountain, Zeus surveys his land and castle. He looks down on those around him, making sure everything is in quiet order. Everywhere one turns, his watchful gaze can be felt; his power lingers long after he has left the area. He fills the sky with his image and demands respect. Beautiful women have no chance to tell him “no” as he is a forceful and sneaky lover, often disguising his true self to them. He can be your best friend one minute and your worst enemy the next. His wife Hera is the only one who can force him into things, often because she has the power to make his home life a living hell.
Unlike the Male Messiah who sees the whole picture and knows how everyone will be affected by his actions, the King [spits at KIN] sees only the big picture (which ignores the details) and is unable to see how a decision [get the colour] he makes will affect others on a smaller scale.
He’s without emotion and fills that void inside with addictions such as caffeine, work, alcohol and sex. The King is somewhat like a Godfather or a mobster boss who lives in excess. There’s no middle ground for him in anything.
He’s a very strong man who can lead armies to victory and motivate people with his character and charm. He’s a great strategist who can relate to other men and offer them exactly what they want to come over to his side. His word is law but he’ll allow other men the option of saving face in front of him.
He loves coming to the rescue of women regardless of what his wife may think. Since he’s devoid of emotion and guilt he can easily cheat on his wife and go right home to her again. If he’s caught in the act he’s more upset with himself for slipping up than for what he has done or how much he’s hurt his family. He sees himself as having a separate life when he’s out of the house. He provides for his family, protects them and feels entitled to the spoils of life. He’d make a great politician.
What Does the King Care About?
- The King [spits at KIN] cares about having a kingdom to rule over. He wants to have a family, a company or group to call his own.
- He cares about being admired and respected for his power and the fear he can instill in others when needed. He wants to be a strong force to reckon with.
- He cares deeply about those under his command and is extremely loyal and generous with them. Since he’s unable to express his emotions toward them, he uses money and gifts instead.
- He also cares about being the best and will duel with his competition to earn that title no matter what the cost.
What Does the King Fear?
- The King [spits at KIN] fears someone stronger, younger, faster and smarter will come along and knock him down. He’s worked hard to get to the top of the mountain in business and at home and is always on guard to keep his kingdom. He’s much like a mob boss in this regard, and he fears losing his edge.
- He fears his own emotions because they’re so foreign to him. He may desire a wife to express emotions for him. The more she cries the more he can watch her and hold his own tears at bay. Emotions are a sign of weakness to him and have no place in building a dynasty?
What Motivates the King?
- The King’s biggest motivator is self-esteem and self-respect. He wants recognition for who he is. He wants his name alone to invoke respect in others and will do anything it takes to protect his image. All one has to do is dare him or call him a coward and he’ll attempt anything, often pushing beyond what was dared.
- He expects his family and girlfriend to respect him as well. As a loving father he would be crushed by a daughter who rebels against him, often cutting her off completely.
- He’ll do anything to maintain power.
How Do Other Characters See the King?
- Other characters either look up to him as a role model or see him as an egomaniac. His need for control dominates his life, and he’ll clash with others who aren’t as driven as he is. He doesn’t have time for friendly nights on the town with regular friends who aren’t a strong alliance for him.
- He is seen as unemotional – a rock. Nothing seems to faze him and weaker people going through a difficult time will often seek out his strength. Women in violent relationships may come to him for help, and his wife will feel as if she’s lending her husband out to these women.
- He can be a sharp dresser, especially if it means outdoing a man more powerful than him. If that man has a $1,200 suit then he’ll buy a £2,000 suit.
- He always comes off as being very confident and sometimes arrogant.
Developing the character arc
Look at your character’s main goal [family] in the story and then at the fears you’ve selected to use against him. What does he need to learn to help him overcome his fear? Does he need to learn to express his emotions and find his heart? The King [spits at KIN] is very much like the mob boss in The Sopranos who hides his feelings so much he gets anxiety and can’t be an effective boss until he finds and expresses his pain. Does he need to let go of control and domination and let someone else lead? Does he need to face old age and competition from younger kings?
Very often the King needs to feel vulnerable to change. Something traumatic must happen to him or someone he’s very close to so the wall he has built around his heart can break down. Sometimes he will literally have a heart attack.
What happened to him at an early age to make this archetype dominate his personality? Was his father weak or strong? Did his mother dominate him, making him feel like less of a man? Did the local bully beat him up until he fought back, almost killing the bully and therefore gaining power in school?
To grow, this archetype is best paired with one of the following:
- The Artist – can help him find and express his emotions and show him how to be open to love and creativity.
- The Backstabber – if the King loses a strong ally and friend his whole world may crumble, and he’s have to revaluate his entire life.
- The Amazon – can show him that women can be great allies and friends. She can teach him that his feminine side doesn’t have to be as weak as he thinks it is.
- The Femme Fatale – the King thinks he’s in total control of women and would be completely devastated if a woman got the better of him. The Femme Fatale can be sneakier and therefore more powerful than he is.
- Needs to have a family, group or company to rule over.
- Enjoys many activities and time away from his family.
- Is skilled at forming alliances.
- Spoils his friends and family with gifts.
- Is a great strategist.
- Can be very loyal and giving.
- Is very decisive and confident.
- Is the strongest man to lean on.
- Always needs to be in control of others; he loves to dominate.
- Feels entitled to a separate life outside of his family and marriage.
- Feels his wife should take care of all the day-to-day family issues so he won’t be bothered.
- Enjoys instilling fear in others.
- Has trouble expressing emotions and sees them as weaknesses.
- Has trouble asking for help.
- Is very stoic and quiet.
THE VILLAINOUS SIDE OF THE KING: THE DICTATOR
As a villain the King [spits at KIN] becomes the Dictator. His need to rule and control others becomes an obsession. He wants more and more control and submission over his subordinates. He’ll even go as far as to punish innocents in order to send out a message that he’s powerful. He wants to be a demigod, to have control over the destinies and lives of others to do with as he pleases.
If anyone stands up to him the beast will rage forth causing major destruction to anyone and everyone. He’ll justify his behavior as being the fault of the one who stood up to him. “Everyone should know better than to defy me” is his mantra.
He makes up laws just for the sake of wielding his power. He loves to see people going out of their way to abide by his laws. He doesn’t know the consequences of his actions and he doesn’t care. “If everyone would just behave then I wouldn’t have to be so demanding” is what he tells people when, in fact, nothing could ever satisfy him.
He has passive/aggressive tendencies as well, where he’ll tell a family member that it’s OK if they do something he disapproves of, but his actions show them just the opposite. He controls what goes on in his kingdom and if the people don’t like it, that’s too bad. No one leaves his domain, especially not with a smile. Betrayal is the worst type of offense as far as he’s concerned, and he will seek justice.
- Is obsessed by the need to control and rule others.
- Is passive-aggressive, allowing someone to make a mistake so he can punish them later.
- Can be a tyrant.
- Is a harsh wielder of justice.
- Creates meaningless laws just to wield power over people.
- Is extremely judgmental.
- Is frequently absent from his family’s life.
- Instills fear in others by his name alone.
- Humiliates others and forces them to degrade themselves for mercy.
ZEUS IN ACTION
King/Dictator TV Heroes
Tony Soprano Sr. (James Gandolfini) in The Sopranos
Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) in Star Trek
Jerry (Jerry Seinfeld) in Jerry Seinfeld
Skipper Jonas Grumby (Alan Hale Jr.) in Gilligan’s Island
Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz) in I Love Lucy
Maurice Minnifield (Barry Corbin) in Northern Exposure
King/Dictator Film Heroes
Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) in The Godfather
Don Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) in The Godfather II
Adam Bonner (Spencer Tracy) in Adam’s Rib
General George S. Patton Jr. (George C. Scott) in Patton
King Mongkut of Siam (Yul Brynner) in The King and I
King/Dictator Literary Heroes
Livingstone Tony Allen
Long John Silver in Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Captain Ahab in Moby Dick by Herman Melville
King Lear in King Lear by William Shakespeare
Big Daddy in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams
Marc Antony in Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare
Tamburlaine in Tamburlaine the Great by Christopher Marlowe