The Alchemist As A Monomyth Essay

2389 words - 10 pages

Throughout the years, certain writers were able to set off a deep sympathetic resonance within readers by their usage of archetypal patterns. One of those patterns is known as the hero's journey, which Joseph Campbell gave an understandable idea of in his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces. According to his book, while comparing world's mythology, he found that no matter how far cultures are from each other, they will still have the same structure of hero's journey in their legends (Voytilla vii).
Furthermore, Campbell explained such patterns by using Carl Jung's theory of the collective unconscious, which he was strongly influenced with. Psychological organs that developed through the evolution, is the idea Jung gave of archetypes (Jung 81). To him they are recurring patterns, images and ideas which all humans inherited in their unconsciousness (Volgar 23). In addition, Campbell described his theory as a reoccurring cycle of pattern consisting of three phases: Departure, Initiation and Return, which he calls The Monomyth (Campbell 28), a deep inner journey of transformation that every hero must go through in order to grow (Voytilla vii).
As a result, several applications to Campbell’s theory have been conducted on postmodernism literature in works like Voytilla’s Myth and The Movies: Discovering the Myth Structure of 50 Unforgettable Films, where she applied the theory on major works such as The Godfather to even The Beauty and The Beast. But none was conducted on The Alchemist the self-established modern classic by Paulo Coelho.
Therefore, this paper attempts to take a first step on applying The Monomyth theory on Santiago’s journey, the protagonist of The Alchemist, as it focuses on the major traits of hero's journey presented in the novel.
I. The Alchemist
The Alchemist, a novel written in 1988 by the author Paulo Coelho, whom received the Crystal Award by the World Economic Forum and France. He is known for other major works such as Aleph and Eleven Minutes. The Alchemist is his most famous work, which is one of the most translated works. The story take place in Spain as a young shepherd boy named Santiago start his search for finding his personal legend after having a dream about a treasure in the Pyramids of Egypt. In his journey he comes across different obstacles which he must confront in order to fulfill his dream. His journey for finding the treasure starts at Andalusia-Spain- and continue while crossing the large desert until he reaches the Pyramids of Egypt. In his journey Santiago learns that when someone really desires something, the whole world conspires in achieving it (Coelho 23).
II. The Monomyth in The Alchemist
“A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.” (Campbell 28). As Campbell explained in his...

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