Dwelling in the dark underworld, unable to find light, Hades lives inside his head. He has no need for friends or acquaintances but instead prefers to linger alone. His life is full of richness of the imagination as he goes about his daily activities. His mind is always somewhere else. He never realized what he was missing in his life until he came upon the beautiful goddess Persephone. Seeing her he knew he needed some companionship to get through his life, but unschooled in the ways of love he kidnaps her and drags her into his underworld life. He steals her innocence and realizes how unfeeling he has become. As his love grows he decides to sacrifice part of his time with her so that she may visit her mother in the Spring. She has taught him compassion and self-awareness.
The Recluse is a man who has a rich inner life and creative spirit but can sometimes get lost in his own fantasies. He may be a sensitive man who can see other realms, a sort of psychic, and is in danger of totally withdrawing from reality altogether.
He can also be a great philosopher who spends hours reading and analyzing ideas. If he finds the right woman he can have a small family life and enjoy some companionship but the entire relationship is up to her. He has no skill in that department and may be distant for days at a time. Hestia is the perfect woman for him. She enjoys being alone.
What Does the Recluse Care About?
- The Recluse cares about being alone. He has a rich inner life and enjoys being inside his head. He’s not comfortable around people, especially large groups, and would prefer to be a mountain man than a businessman. If he lives closer to the city he may opt to become a monk.
- He cares only about his inner world; everyone else can keep their dramas to themselves. He doesn’t want to be bothered by others at all. He likes being invisible in large groups.
- He feels alien to everyone else and may want to move on to the next world, welcoming death.
- He cares about his hobbies and projects, often spending hours and hours on one small task. He chooses to do everything himself rather than running down to the store to buy a gadget that may do the job.
What Does the Recluse Fear?
- The Recluse fears large groups of people. He loves his solitude, but a part of him may long for a small family unit to bring some companionship.
- He fears losing his mind in one of his fantasy worlds, especially if he’s highly psychic and can hear spirits.
- He’s afraid of his own emotions and seems very bland, without personality at times.
- He fears the world will come upon him and swallow him up. He’s afraid of people forcing themselves into his life. His home base is the most important thing to him; it’s his safety net.
What Motivates the Recluse?
- The Recluse’s biggest motivator is the need to know and understand. He lives in his head and is always thinking and analyzing. He uses his need to understand his world to occupy his time. He is a great philosopher who can spend ages questioning the mysteries of life.
- His need to be alone motivates him to do whatever it takes to find a place where he can be alone.
- At some point severe loneliness may cause him to seek out a mate or find a friend.
How Do Other Characters See the Recluse?
- Others may see him as a bland person devoid of personality. They wonder if he’s insane at times because he obsesses about the deeper meaning of things.
- He pays no attention to the clothes he wears or the food he eats. He’s too much in his head. He’s somewhat like Albert Einstein who wore the same type of suit every day.
- He seems fragmented and disorderly, always looking for things he’s misplaced.
Developing the Character Arc
Look at your character’s main goal 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 organize his life? Does he need to learn how to feel and express love? Does he have to interact with a large group of people in order to save his home?
Very often the Recluse needs to learn how to relate to people. He needs to learn that human companionship has its own rewards and can enrich his life as much as his inner worlds do. He needs to reconnect with his body and be pushed into physical activity.
What happened to him at an early age to make this archetype dominate his personality? Were his parents reclusive? Did he have friends growing up? Did he live in an isolated area and never learn how to be with people? Was his mother always afraid of the city and couldn’t be around people?
To grow, this archetype is best paired with one of the following:
The Fool – can teach him how to have fund and to let loose. He can show him how to talk to people and rejoin life.
The Dictator – would enforce so many rules and regulations that the Recluse would have to stand up for himself or give up his isolated lifestyle to follow another man’s rule.
The Maiden – would teach him how to love and what it means to be as playful and innocent as a child. Her adventurous nature could change his entire life.
The Scorned Woman – would be so hurt by her past relationships that she would outdo him in her antisocial behavior. He would probably see himself mirrored in her and decide to change his ways.
- Prefers to be left alone most of the time.
- Longs for the next project or idea to occupy his time.
- Could easily live the life of a monk.
- Has a rich inner life.
- Is psychically sensitive.
- May long for a small family unit.
- Can be philosophical and highly intelligent.
- Can be a very loyal companion.
- Can be reliable since he’s always in the same place.
- Doesn’t play the games people play or get involved in their dramas.
- Is very discerning.
- Is unexpressive and able to withdraw easily.
- Is afraid of his emotions and seems devoid of feeling.
- Has trouble talking to people.
- Is very pessimistic.
- Holds grudges.
The Villainous Side of the Recluse: The Warlock
As a villain the Recluse becomes the Warlock. He uses his knowledge of the occult to harm others or the environment. He’s out for his own personal gain and understands nothing of the effect his actions have on the outer world. He has spent so much time studying esoteric ideas he is drawn to test them out.
His loneliness may also lead him to a schizoid existence where his fantasies cause him to do harm to others.
He has a tendency to avoid people and social situations. He’s so afraid of rejection he never shows anyone his work or tells them his ideas. He has no close relationships, is inhibited and socially inept, and is reluctant to take risks.
He doesn’t understand why it’s so bad to want to be alone. He doesn’t want to be a part of society because people are killing each other every day. Spirits are his company. Their world is fascinating to him and they teach him things. He can cast spells to make others leave him alone if he wants to. He is very into the occult and all things antiestablishment. He likes it when others are afraid of him so they’ll leave him alone.
- Is antisocial.
- Is out for his own gain.
- Doesn’t care how his actions affect the world.
- May experiment with the occult to gain power.
- Is afraid of rejection.
- Has no intimate relationships.
- Can’t feel or express real love without dominating the other person.
- Thinks society is a joke and that he doesn’t have to live under its rules.
- Wants to be in control.
Likes to intimidate others.
Hades in Action
Recluse/Warlock TV Heroes
Angel (David Boreanz) in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel
Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) in X-Files
Recluse/Warlock Film Heroes
Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) in Casablanca
Jerry Fletcher (Mel Gibson) in Conspiracy Theory
Jim Stark (James Dean) in Rebel Without a Cause
Lo (Chen Chang) in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Crash Davis (Kevin Costner) in Bull Durham
Recluse/Warlock Literary and Historical Heroes
Beast in Beauty and the Beast
the Phantom in the Phantom of the Opera
Hamlet in Hamlet by William Shakespeare
Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Rochester in Jayne Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Saligner
Dr. Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs
George Emerson in A Room With a View by E.M. Forester
Victor Frankenstein in Frankenstein by Mary Shelly
Kurtz in Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
Quasimodo in Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
Daryl Van Horne in The Witches of Eastwick by John Updike
Roderick Usher in “The Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allan Poe
Philip Marlowe in novels by Raymond Chandler
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson