Classic figures (or "archetypes") from society are an excellent tool to use in the development of a thesis statement and the opening paragraph (or second paragraph) of a paper. The use of a historical, literary, or social "archetype" can provide the writer with a reference that supports and endorses the main idea (thesis), and may serve to enhance the significance of the paper/essay. This can work in virtually any subject or class.
I've taught that literature supports this by using stories that have been repeated again and again: human nature is such that we do not tend to learn our social lessons very easily, and therefore have to repeat them. The following list should offer anyone who needs to write a paper/essay a vast opportunity of ideas from which to consider an appropriate example of an archetype:
Fairy tales; Myths; Legends; Superstitions; Heroes and villains; Sports figures and their records; Romantic stories; Tragedies and comedies; Movie stars; Animals; Supernatural events; Catastrophes; Royalty; Battles/victories/defeats; Politics and politicians; Foreign philosophies; Food and drink; Songs/lyrics; Classic literature; Social rebels; Monsters.
Remember that these role models, for better or worse, have left a legacy of some kind that makes them available as "proof" that you have a valid reason "why" they work to support your thesis. I'll add this in a new post as back-up!