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Copy of The EPIC Journey - In intro to the Monomyth/Hero Cycle
Transcript of Copy of The EPIC Journey - In intro to the Monomyth/Hero Cycle
The EPIC Journey
Here we go!
First Step--The "Call to Adventure"
The "Monomyth," or Epic Hero's Journey, is a basic story pattern that has been used to tell stories around the world for thousands of years.
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 (and woman!).
The Hero CYCLE
In a Monomyth, a hero begins in the ordinary world and goes through many stages that eventually form a cycle.
These "stages" can be grouped into three main divisions:
Departure (or Separation)
We probably already know more about the Hero Cycle than we think!
Many of the novels, movies, and stories that we are familiar with follow this cycle. Even Harry Potter!
Think and talk:
What other stories, series, or characters that you know
might follow this type of "Hero Cycle?"
The hero starts off in a mundane situation of normality from which some information is received that acts as a call to head off into the unknown. The promise of treasure, adventure, or the vanquishing of evil or an oppressor/villain sometimes shows itself here, and we learn much of the "exposition" (Freytag's Pyramid) of the story in this section of the cycle.
The journey into the unknown can be of the hero's own free will, or it may start unknowingly or without their or desire/permission
Harry Potter: He gets the letter telling him that he's accepted into Hogwarts.
Hunger Games: Katniss enters herself as a tribute into the lethal games after her sister is picked to participate.
Side Note: Freytag's Pyramid
Once the hero has committed to the quest, consciously or unconsciously, a guide or magical helper appears, or becomes known to the hero. More often than not, this supernatural mentor will present the hero with one or more talismans or artifacts that will aid them later in their quest.
Note: this aid may come in the form of something physical, like a weapon...
...Or something outside the physical realm, like
knowledge, training, or magical powers
In Star Wars, Luke receives
both physical and non-physical
What are they?
What about Harry Potter?
Katniss from Hunger Games?
This is the point where the hero actually crosses into the field of adventure, leaving the known limits of his or her world and venturing into an unknown and dangerous realm where the rules and limits are not known.
In the video example, Harry and Ron defeat the troll, proving that they have what it takes to fight. They will practice and put these skills to the test throughout the rest of all of their adventures.
The "Belly of the Whale"
The "Belly of the Whale" represents the final separation from the hero's known world and self. By entering this stage, the person shows willingness to undergo a metamorphosis.
In The Lord of the Rings, Frodo is stabbed by one of the Ringwraiths. He almost dies, but his life is saved by Elrond.
In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry enters the Forbidden Forest and discovers the presence of Voldemort, who murdered his family and almost murdered him.
The "Road of Trials"
The "Road of Trials" is a series of tests, tasks, or ordeals that the person must undergo to begin the transformation. Often the person fails one or more of these tests, which often occur in threes.
"Once having traversed the threshold, the hero moves in a dream landscape of curiously fluid, ambiguous forms, where he must survive a succession of trials. This is a favorite phase of the myth-adventure. It has produced a world literature of miraculous tests and ordeals. The hero is covertly aided by the advice, amulets, and secret agents of the supernatural helper whom he met before his entrance into this region. Or it may be that he here discovers for the first time that there is a benign power everywhere supporting him in his superhuman passage. The original departure into the land of trials represented only the beginning of the long and really perilous path of initiatory conquests and moments of illumination. Dragons have now to be slain and surprising barriers passed—again, again, and again. Meanwhile there will be a multitude of preliminary victories, unretainable ecstasies and momentary glimpses of the wonderful land." --Joseph Campbell
When someone dies a physical death, or dies to the self to live in spirit, he or she moves beyond the pairs of opposites to a state of divine knowledge, love, compassion and bliss. A more mundane way of looking at this step is that it is sometimes a period of rest, peace and fulfillment before the hero begins the return.
Don't take it so literally! This step of the cycle doesn't have as much to do with death as it actually does with CHANGE. This change affects the hero(es) so significantly that nothing will ever be the same for him/her/them ever again. From here, the story begins to work toward the "Return" part of the cycle.
The ultimate boon is the achievement of the goal of the quest. It is what the person went on the journey to get. All the previous steps serve to prepare and purify the person for this step, since in many myths the boon is something transcendent like the elixir of life itself, or a plant that supplies immortality, or the holy grail.
Rescue from Without / Atonement
Just as the hero may need guides and assistants to set out on the quest, oftentimes he or she must have powerful guides and rescuers to bring them back to everyday life, especially if the person has been wounded or weakened by the experience.
In this part of the cycle, we prepare to cross the threshold out of the "unknown" and return to the "normal" world.
The hero(es) often initially refuse to return, or must escape quickly from the "unknown" in order to avoid being destroyed by it.
Crossing of Return Threshold
Retaining the wisdom gained on the quest, integrating that wisdom into a human life, and possibly sharing that wisdom with the rest of the world.
Note how Woody uses applied knowledge (rocketry, magnification, physics) and cooperates with Buzz
In order to get them both safely home and reunited with Andy.
Master of Two Worlds
In this part of the cycle, the hero returns to the "normal" world from which he/she originally departed, but this time having knowledge, artifacts, and/or boons from the "unknown" where he or she adventured.
The hero has, at this point, become comfortable in both the known/normal and unknown/supernatural worlds.
Notice how Neo demonstrates his mastery--It seems like he's showing off,
doesn't it? He's used all of the gifts, lessons, and knowledge gained on his quest to prove his dominance not only in real life, but in the Matrix, as well.
The hero leaves the safety and security of his/her surroundings and begins the journey toward the unknown--and all the challenges that stand before that hero. Transitions into the "unknown."
This phase of the cycle sees the hero undergoing trials, ordeals, and tests that cause changes or a metamorphosis to/of the hero. This part of the cycle begins in the "unknown" world and transitions back into the "normal" world.
Having gained knowledge, skills, and gifts from the "unknown"
world, the hero returns to the "normal" world to put these
acquisitions to use. This ends the cycle, and begins it anew.
Even going to school on a typical day
can be like a monomyth--You depart from
home, gain knowledge, and then return
to (hopefully) put it to good use!
However, the ultimate boon isn't ALWAYS something physical--It can also be an achievement or success, or the defeat of a villain or antagonist.
Freedom to Live
Mastery leads to freedom from the fear of death, which in turn is the freedom to live. This is sometimes referred to as living in the moment, neither anticipating the future nor regretting the past.
This final part of the cycle sees the hero return triumphant and master of both the "known" and "unknown" worlds.
He/she is able to "live in the moment," one devoid of conflict, and enjoy the end of all the tests, ordeals, and struggles.
From here, the cycle can begin again with new conflicts, problems, solutions, and resolutions--creating a true hero cycle.