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09/04/2019

What is a monomythic hero?

QUESTION
What is a monomythic hero?
Need to know for an essay tomorrow! Thanks so much if you answer!

ANSWER
Joseph Campbell established 12 stages that describe the journey of the epic hero. These 12 stages outline the monomyth. A monomythic hero journeys through these twelve stages as they become the hero. The order isn’t always the same, but all heroes visit each one of them. It works for Achilles from the Iliad, Luke Skywalker from Star Wars, Gilgamesh, Rama, Arjuna, Aeneas, and the list goes on…

1) The hero is introduced in his ordinary world (Most stories take place in a special world, one that is new and alien to its hero)

2) The call to adventure (The hero is presented with a problem, challenge, or adventure)

3) The hero is reluctant at first (The hero balks at the threshold of adventure. S/he is facing the greatest of all fears: fear of the unknown)

4) The hero is encouraged by the wise old man / woman (The mentor can only go so far with the hero. Eventually the hero must face the unknown by himself).

5) The hero passes the first threshold (He fully enters the special world of his sotry. The hero is now committed to his journey , there’s no turning back).

6) The hero encounters tests and helpers (He makes allies and enemies in the special world; passes certain tests / challenges that are part of his training).

7) The hero reaches their innermost cave (The hero comes at last to a dangerous place, often deep underground, where the object of his quest is hidden).

8) The hero endures the supreme ordeal (The moment he touches bottom. He faces possible death, brought to the brink in a fight with a mythical beast).

9) The hero seizes the sword (Having survived death, the hero now takes possession of the treasure he’s come seeking – or settles a conflict)

10) The hero journeys home (The hero’s not safe yet… the hero is pursued by the vengeful forces from whom he has stolen the treasure).

11) Resurrection (The hero emerges from the special world, transformed by his experience).

12) The hero returns with the treasure (He returns to his ordinary world, but his adventure would be meaningless unless he brought back the treasure).

There is more to each of these stages, but this should get you started. The monomyth is one of the great things to recognize and to know from world literature.