Structural Analysis


The series Bates Motel features the archetypes of main characters Norman Bates and his mother, Norma Bates. These two characters are extremely complex individuals, so it is hard to fit them into one category of archetypes.

If I were to choose one, I would say Norman represents the “The Child” archetype, particularly at the beginning of the series. He is portrayed as very innocent, shy, and naive to the world. Norman appears to be very trusting and easily taken advantage of, as well, as shown by his relationships with other characters like his mother and people at his school. This is exemplified by his relationship with his mother, where she is very controlling. This important dynamic between them and his naivety makes the audience feel sympathetic towards him, at least at the beginning of the show, because he seems so powerless when it comes to his relationship with Norma.

As for Norma Bates’s archetype, if I were to categorize her into one single archetype, I would choose “The Seducer.” She is beautiful, charismatic, and a very smooth talker. Just in the first episode, she talks her way out of an awkward encounter with the police while she and Norman hide a body in the middle of the night. The motivation for “The Seducer” is “to run the show” and “they want power and control at all costs.” This is shown in her relationship with her son where she tries to control all aspects of his life, particularly how she doesn’t want any woman besides herself in Norman’s life. Weaknesses for this archetype also include “no morals” and “no loyalty.” Norma clearly succumbs to these weaknesses as she cheated on her first husband, covered up that her son murdered her second husband, and countless questionable actions throughout the series, therefore making her a perfect example of “The Seducer” character archetype. This particular archetype creates interesting scenarios within the plot because of all the chaos her controlling, often immoral nature causes, combined with her charismatic charm that often fools many characters, even Norman.