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Hero Journey Essay

1465 words - 6 pages

According to Karen Hunter, in 1949, Joseph Campbell published “The Hero With A Thousand Faces” which is a book that introduces his creation of the monomyth (Hunter). A monomyth is the concept of a single tale or story. The tale or story represents a mythological adventure being magnified in the rites of passage. Also, the myth goes around in a cycle and is repeated with different social and cultural references throughout the world. Furthermore, Leeming explains that, “the monomyth itself is an expression of the journey of the hero figure, of our journey through physical and psychic life, and of the evolutionary path of humanity to full consciousness” (Leeming). Homer’s use of Joseph ...view middle of the document...

Normally, the hero is called to adventure by an external event or mentor. In the Odyssey, Odysseus is summoned to join Agamemnon to attack the city of Troy in order to retrieve Helen from the Trojans who captured her. At first, Odysseus is shaky to accept this call to adventure because he does not want to put Ithaca, his peaceful homeland, in jeopardy and leave behind his wife and child, Telemachus. Homer gives the readers a reason to believe something could go wrong later on in the story. Odysseus accepting the call to adventure puts his homeland in danger which brings up a thought. What if Odysseus had not accepted the call to adventure? Homer’s epic would not be the same nor would the epic succeed the goal of telling a story of the Odysseus’ journey without this stage in Joseph Campbell’s hero journey.
After the call to adventure, helpers are brought into the story. Campbell describes the helpers to be protective figures that can take many forms. These helpers can be in a supernatural form. In the Odyssey, Odysseus’ mentor is Athena. Athena comes in and out of Odysseus’ journey. One example of Athena helping Odysseus happened in Circe’s palace (Homer, Book 10). Circe had turned all of Odysseus’ men into swine and would not let them leave until Odysseus slept with her (Homer, Book 10). Athena then turned to her father Zeus, the kind of all Gods, to make Circe let Odysseus go. Without this stage of the hero’s journey, Odysseus would be forced to face this tasks and tests all by himself.
All of the action is leading up to crossing the first threshold. At this stage in the hero’s journey, the hero meets adventure but might not yet recognize the challenges at hand. Joseph Campbell explains the hero must complete the idea to go from his known everyday life to adventure. The stage of crossing the first threshold represents an element of confusion. In the Odyssey, Odysseus’ first threshold is the Trojan War (Homer, Book 1). At the war, Homer makes it known that Odysseus is cunning and brave. Odysseus exhibits mental and physical attributes in this stage that exhibit his ability to be an actual hero. Crossing the first threshold is a key stage in the hero journey because it gives the readers a look at what must be done in order for Odysseus to prove himself worthy of being a hero. This stage foreshadows the rest of Homer’s epic by giving us a preview of the tests Odysseus will be faced with.
After Odysseus crosses the first threshold, the next stage in the hero journey is where he is tested. Joseph Campbell explains that these tests normally come in series of three. A series of three represents a mythological number used in most epics at this stage. Each test that is completed helps the character advance to the climax and cement the title as a hero. A great example of a test Odysseus must overcome is when he must get out of Polyphemus’ cave (Book 9). Tests come about in Book 9 of Homer’s epic. Odysseus must trick the Cyclops into moving the...

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