26 April 2012
The Journey Towards Freedom
Throughout the film Shawshank Redemption (1994) directed by Frank Darabont, the audience watches as the protagonist goes through a compelling heroic journey. Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) is a young successful banker whose life is suddenly turned up-si-down when he is falsely accused of the murder of his wife and her lover. Following his conviction, Andy is sent to Shawshank prison where he faces a life sentence. Before long, Andy begins to befriend some of his fellow inmates and his journey towards freedom begins. Despite his powerless situation Andy acquires many achievements and manages to maintain his innocent. Although, to be a true hero, a character such as Andy must go through many stages and take on one of two personalities. According to Liz Warren and Linda Seger, in order to be a true hero, the protagonist must go through many stages and eventually reach a metamorphosis of his own character in the end of any myth. However, once he has done so and established himself or herself as a true hero, Robert Ray claims that they must fit one of two types of heroes; an outlaw or an official hero. Throughout the film Shawshank Redemption Andy Dufresne does in fact depict the stereotypical hero according to Liz Warren’s steps, Linda Seger’s order, and Robert Rays traits. In the article “Steps of the Hero’s Journey” by Liz Warren, the author explains the process through which a protagonist must go through to become the ultimate hero. This article closely relates to the journey Andy Dufresne embarks upon. Each of Liz Warren’s ideas are categorized beneath three main headings. The first category of Liz Warren’s ideas falls under the departure. At this time the protagonist embarks upon their adventure and begins to work towards the ultimate goal. The call to adventure is when something important happens that sends the person in a new direction (Warren A.1). For example when Andy was accused of killing his wife and her lover he was sentenced to prison for life, which consequently changed him. The refusal of the call is when the hero is afraid to take on a new adventure (Warren A.2). For insistence, Andy’s feeling that he shouldn’t be in prision due to the fact that he was innocent was him refusing the call to adventure. Additionally, when the character is in the departure category, he or she encounters a Supernatural Aid, which will help to guide them (Warren A.3). For Andy the supernatural aid was Red because he was a veteran inmate at Shawshank prison. Crossing of the first threshold is another one of Liz Warren’s steps, this is when the protagonist actually beings his or her adventure. For Andy, that is when he realizes that after spending two months in solitary confinement he would be on his own. The Belly of the whale is the step when the hero is stuck between two worlds; the one left behind and the future head of him. For Andy this is when he begins conversation with Red and he becomes more accepting of the position that he is in. (Warren A.5).
The initiation is Liz Warren’s second category of ideas. At this point the hero is in the middle of his or her journey and this is also where the bulk of the action takes place. The road of trials is when the protagonist is faced with many tasks, tests, and ordeals that they must undergo. For Andy, he had multiple instances where he was faced with difficulty. Andy was forced to do the taxes of the guards, he was put in confinement, and he was even forced to deal with the death of a good friend who could have helped him. Temptation is another step described by Warren as the point in the hero’s journey where he or she may be tempted to quit and give up hope. For Andy this was when Tommy got killed because Andy felt that his effort is worthless and that he should just give up. Apotheosis is described as the point after the hero has survived the great power in his or her life and can now experience of the...