The Clash of the Titans, Star Wars, Back to the Future, Gladiator, Harry Potter…they all have something in common: a hero.
Joseph Campbell writes about this (he refers to it as a monomyth) in his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces.
“In the monomyth, the hero starts in the ordinary world, and receives a call to enter an unusual world of strange powers and events. If the hero accepts the call to enter this strange world, the hero must face tasks and trials, and may have to face these trials alone, or may have assistance. At its most intense, the hero must survive a severe challenge, often with help earned along the journey. If the hero survives, the hero may achieve a great gift or "boon." The hero must then decide whether to return to the ordinary world with this boon. If the hero does decide to return, the hero often faces challenges on the return journey. If the hero is successful in returning, the boon or gift may be used to improve the world. The stories of Osiris, Prometheus, Moses, Buddha, and Christ, for example, follow this structure very closely.
Campbell describes a number of stages or steps along this journey. Very few myths contain all of these stages — some myths contain many of the stages, while others contain only a few; some myths may have as a focus only one of the stages, while other myths may deal with the stages in a somewhat different order. These stages may be organized in a number of ways, including division into three sections: Departure (sometimes called Separation), Initiation and Return. "Departure" deals with the hero venturing forth on the quest; "Initiation" deals with the hero's various adventures along the way; and "Return" deals with the hero's return home with knowledge and powers acquired on the journey.” source
The Hero's Journey has 12 stages. They are:
1.Ordinary World - The hero's normal world before the story begins
2.Call to Adventure - The hero is presented with a problem, challenge or adventure
3.Refusal of the Call - The hero refuses the challenge or journey, usually because he's scared
4. Meeting with the Mentor - The hero meets a mentor to gain advice or training for the adventure
5. Crossing the First Threshold - The hero crosses leaves the ordinary world and goes into the special world
6. Tests, Allies, Enemies - The hero faces tests, meets allies, confronts enemies & learn the rules of the Special World.
7. Approach - The hero has hit setbacks during tests & may need to try a new idea
8. Ordeal - The biggest life or death crisis
9. Reward - The hero has survived death, overcomes his fear and now earns the reward 10. The Road Back - The hero must return to the Ordinary World.
11. Resurrection Hero - another test where the hero faces death – he has to use everything he's learned
12. Return with Elixir - The hero returns from the journey with the “elixir”, and uses it to help everyone in the Ordinary World
The heroes also share some common characteristics:
Unusual circumstances of birth; sometimes in danger or born into royalty
Leaves family or land and lives with others
An event, sometimes traumatic, leads to adventure or quest
Hero has a special weapon only he can wield
Hero always has supernatural help
The Hero must prove himself many times while on adventure
The Journey and the Unhealable Wound
Hero experiences atonement with the father
When the hero dies, he is rewarded spiritually
While many people consider Joseph Campbell’s work the definitive writing on the monomyth, there are also many criticisms of his approach.
Think about any of the movies you have seen or any books you have read. Is there a hero? How does that hero function? Do you find flaws in Campbell’s approach to the archetypal hero? Why do we have heroes/do we really need them? Are heroes harmful? Have heroes changed over time?
Back up your answers with research. Be sure to cite your sources.
Comments due by Monday 10/15.