The Alchemist


Discussion Questions

1. The novel is titled The Alchemist. How is alchemy used as a metaphor and overarching theme in the novel?

2. Why does the author choose to begin the book with an adaptation of the myth of Narcissus, and how does this retelling reflect the action of the novel?

3. When the story begins, Santiago is a shepherd and his sheep are very important to him. Discuss the significance of sheep and shepherding in the novel.

4. What is the moral of Melchizedek’s story about the drops of oil in the spoon, and how does this parable apply to what happens later in the book?

5. Give an example of a character who achieves his or her Personal Legend, and one who does not. Why does one succeed where the other does not?

6. Santiago’s journey begins and ends in Andalusia, Spain. In between he travels to Tangier, the Sahara, the Al-Fayoum Oasis, and Egypt. How are the landscape and locations he travels through reflected internally?

7. How is “love” defined and measured in the novel, and how does it conflict with or complement a Personal Legend?

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