Stages Of An Archetypal Journey In The Alchemist

1034 words - 5 pages

"A hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles”(Christopher Reeves) continuing to strive forward. This statement particularly adheres to Santiago, the protagonist, in the novel The Alchemist a novel written by Paulo Coelho. The primary basis of the plot line centers around Santiago, a mundane shepherd, whom obtains visions of the great pyramids of Giza venturing off in hopes of discovering a tangible treasure. The aspects of this unprecedented journey would be: his call to adventure, refusal of the call, answering of the call, supernatural aid, and finally the road of trials. With every step, Santiago follows the footsteps of ...view middle of the document...

With that the king told Santiago that he was to “give [him] one-tenth of [his] sheep and [he would] tell [him] how to find the hidden treasure”(20). This brought about an impending thought of reluctance through the course of the Shepherd's mind. There was the ever looming possibility that he would never find what it was he was searching for, along with having no livelihood to return to.
The immediate stage of a hero’s journey that falls after that of refusing the call, would be answering the call. Most heroes, Santiago included, accept the calling of adventure and the prospect of wealth and reverence. Santiago’s acceptance of the call in the novel is one of the more readily noticeable aspects of the journey. By the Shepard, meeting with the King as was asked, he proceeded to head the favor, as well as accept a gift. Said gift, being two stones, one white and one black. Urim and Thummim, as described by the king.
With all aspects of the immediate start of the hero’s journey having been covered, there are other parts of the journey that are exceptionally prominent in the course of the novel. One of those being, Santiago’s supernatural aid. Though, it could be argued that there are multiple figures that could be considered the aid. Those being, the gypsy woman, the king, and the alchemist, though belief though, it is assumed that the alchemist is the primary aid, due to his magical abilities and knowledge of the mythical subject of alchemy. Not including, his ability to lead Santiago through the desert and towards the pyramids.
The final, and most important aspect of a hero’s journey being covered, would be the road of trials. A hero would not be a hero if they did not have to work for it, it would not be an adventure if the quest was as simplistic as taking a recreational walk. From the time that Santiago spent with the crystal merchant to the harsh, demanding tread through...

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