Mentor Figures in The Alchemist
The Alchemist is a philosophical story by Paulo Coelho about a boy named Santiago who follows his dreams. He sets off on an arduous journey to the Egyptian pyramids and learns many valuable lessons as he attempts to uncover hidden treasure. With the aid of a number of inspiring individuals who provide valuable insight on their personal beliefs, Santiago seeks to fulfill his main obligation in life. If Santiago did not have the assistance of significant figures in his journey, he would have never achieved his Personal Legend.
Melchizedek, the old king of Salem is a prominent figure in The Alchemist that both educates and influences Santiago. When Santiago was in Andalusia, Melchizedek explains that Personal Legends are, “ … what you have always wanted to accomplish. [and that] Everyone, … knows what their Personal Legend is” (21). Even though Santiago had been about to give up on his dream and was about to banish it from his mind, he discovers his Personal Legend and decides to follow it, because of the old king’s speech. The next day, the old king explains to Santiago as they are sitting on the bench, “In order to find the treasure, you will have to follow the omens. God has prepared a path for everyone to follow. You just have to read the omens that he left for you” (29). Because of Melchizedek’s influence, many of Santiago’s decisions are based on omens he sees, such as when Santiago is in the oasis and sees, “… a sudden, fleeting image; an army, with its swords at ready, riding into the oasis” (100). He heeds the omens, and saves the oasis by warning the leader of the approaching army. Melchizedek is always remembered in Santiago’s mind and Santiago often refers to his advice for guidance. This leads to the perception that Santiago’s expedition to search for treasure at the pyramids in Egypt would have failed miserably without Melchizedek’s valuable advice.
The crystal shop owner is another...