The Hero's Journey: Mythic Structure of Joseph Campbell's Monomyth

Topics: Monomyth, Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces Pages: 12 (4439 words) Published: June 16, 2013
Joseph Campbell's monomyth, or the hero's journey, is a basic pattern that its proponents argue is found in many narratives from around the world. This widely distributed pattern was described by Campbell in The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949).[1] An enthusiast of novelist James Joyce, Campbell borrowed the term monomyth from Joyce's Finnegans Wake.[2] Campbell held that numerous myths from disparate times and regions share fundamental structures and stages, which he summarized in The Hero with a Thousand Faces: A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.[3] Campbell and other scholars, such as Erich Neumann, describe narratives of Gautama Buddha, Moses, and Christ in terms of the monomyth and Campbell argues that classic myths from many cultures follow this basic pattern.[4]

A chart outlining the Hero's Journey.
Contents [hide]
1 Summary
2 The 17 Stages of the Monomyth
2.1 Departure
2.1.1 The Call to Adventure
2.1.2 Refusal of the Call
2.1.3 Supernatural Aid
2.1.4 The Crossing of the First Threshold
2.1.5 Belly of The Whale
2.2 Initiation
2.2.1 The Road of Trials
2.2.2 The Meeting With the Goddess
2.2.3 Woman as Temptress
2.2.4 Atonement with the Father
2.2.5 Apotheosis
2.2.6 The Ultimate Boon
2.3 Return
2.3.1 Refusal of the Return
2.3.2 The Magic Flight
2.3.3 Rescue from Without
2.3.4 The Crossing of the Return Threshold
2.3.5 Master of Two Worlds
2.3.6 Freedom to Live
3 Other formulations
3.1 The Hero's Journey
4 Influence of the Monomyth
4.1 George Lucas and Star Wars
4.2 Chris Vogler, The Writer's Journey, and Hollywood films
4.3 The men's movement
5 Criticism
6 See also
7 Notes
8 References
8.1 Books based upon interviews with Campbell
8.2 DVD/Discography
9 External links
Summary[edit]

Main article: The Hero with a Thousand Faces
In a monomyth, the hero begins in the ordinary world, and receives a call to enter an unknown world of strange powers and events. The hero who accepts the call to enter this strange world must face tasks and trials, either alone or with assistance. In the most intense versions of the narrative, the hero must survive a severe challenge, often with help. If the hero survives, he may achieve a great gift or "boon." The hero must then decide whether to return to the ordinary world with this boon. If the hero does decide to return, he or she often faces challenges on the return journey. If the hero returns successfully, the boon or gift may be used to improve the world. The stories of Osiris, Prometheus, Moses, Gautama Buddha, for example, follow this structure closely.[1] Campbell describes 17 stages or steps along this journey. Very few myths contain all 17 stages—some myths contain many of the stages, while others contain only a few; some myths may focus on only one of the stages, while other myths may deal with the stages in a somewhat different order. These 17 stages may be organized in a number of ways, including division into three sections: Departure (sometimes called Separation), Initiation, and Return. "Departure" deals with the hero's adventure prior to the quest; "Initiation" deals with the hero's many adventures along the way; and "Return" deals with the hero's return home with knowledge and powers acquired on the journey. The 17 Stages of the Monomyth[edit]

Departure[edit]
The Call to Adventure[edit]
The hero begins in a mundane situation of normality from which some information is received that acts as a call to head off into the unknown. Campbell: "This first stage of the mythological journey — which we have designated the 'call to adventure' — signifies that destiny has summoned the hero and transferred his spiritual center of gravity from within the pale of his society to a zone unknown. This fateful region of both...
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