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Transcript of The Alchemist
Sheep are quadrupedal mammals
that feed mostly on grasses. They have a wool coat that is sheered. The wool is typically used for clothing and fashion. Sheep have been domesticated for this use and are typically tended to by someone who is given the title of Shepard. In this case Santiago is the Shepard
Santiago's sheep symbolize his
followers. The sheep give him complete trust and couldn't survive without his guidance. Santiago realizes this; he even ponders the possibility of killing all his sheep and their not realizing it (p. 7). The sheep, also, because they are followers and do not think for themselves symbolize those that do not follow their own personal legends. The sheep also foreshadow Santiago's companionship with the crystal merchant, who also did
not follow his personal
The Sycamore Tree: Literal Meaning
The sycamore is an angiosperm tree. This tree is popular for its figs. Native to parts of the inner Mediterranean, this tree is popular specifically in Egypt. This tree is also a popular subject in the bible being referenced eight times in both testaments.
The Sycamore Tree:
The Sycamore Tree foreshadows Santiago's experience at the pyramids where he met the men who abused him, one of which had an opposite reoccurring dream. The Sycamore tree is also a relativly popular subject in the Bible, being referenced seven times in The Old Testament and once in The New Testament. The Sycamore tree was even known as "The Tree of Live" to the Egyptians. The Sycamore Tree has this repuitation due how common it is in these areas of the world. The tree is in no way uncomm
The Sycamore Tree was known as "The Tree of Life" by the Egyptians. The Sycamore Tree is so common in these parts of the world it is not consided unique. It's common and unexciting like the man Santiago meets at the pyramids who had the opposite reoccurring dream that Santiago did. The Sycamore tree that is growing in the church where Santiago first stays foreshadows Egypt and this man.
Melchizedek: Literal Meaning
Melchizedek describes himself as the King of Salem (p. 21). Melchizedek is Santiago's threshold guardian. He gives Santiago the call to action and the means of following that call. Melchizedek, though, is also a relevant character in Judaism and Christianity. Melchizedek is also described to be the King of Salem in religious texts. Salem is agreed upon by theologists to be Jeru
, the supposed birthplace of Jesus.
Melchizedek: Figurative Meaning
Melchizedek is first mentioned in the Torah, where he charges Abraham one tenth of his earnings from a battle. In return for Abraham's tithe fee (one tenth) fee Melchizedek gives Abraham bread and wine. This food and drink provides nourishment for Abraham so he can continue on his journey, his personal legend. This is similar to how Melchizedek gives Santiago the boost he needs
to begin his journey. As we can see Melchizedek is a catalyst for action.
The Sword: Literal Meaning
The Sword that Santiago sees in the bazaar captures his attention. He is so focused on the sword that he is not aware of two things. The first being that the boy is going to steal from him. The second being all that activity that was going on around him. All of Santiago's attention was given to the sword.
The Sword has three figurative meanings. The first being that Santiago has not learned the lesson from the story of the oil and the spoon. The second being that the sword is foreshadowing Santiago's first encounter with the Alchemist. When Santiago first meets the Alchemist the sword that he has in hand is described as being curved much like a Khopesh sword. This might also be slight foreshadowing for the violence Santiago experiences at the pyramids.
Fatima: Literal Meaning
Fatima is the only female character mentioned in The Alchemist. Santiago falls in love with her, because of this he does not want to continue on his personal legend. However, she eventually convinces Santiago that she will continue to love him in spite of his absence. The Alchemist also explains to Santiago the grim life he will have if he doesn't continue on his personal legend and instead stays at the oasis. Fatima can also be described as a challenge that occurs on the path of Santiago's journey.
Fatima while being a major character in The Alchemist also plays an important role in the Catholic Faith. In 1916 three
children claimed to have witnessed an appearance of the Virgin Mary. Today the person they supposedly witnessed is described as
"Our Lady of Fatima"
. She taught these three children three things; however the most important being how to make sacrifices. Santiago has to make the sacrifice of leaving Fatima in order to continue on his journey. Fatima thus symbolizes sacrifice.
Alchemy in the book is the process of the purification of metals into gold. The subject of alchemy has been popular in many books including Harry Potter. The ability of turning metals into gold has only been masted by a select few, including Nicolas Flamel, notably the most known alchemist to date. Alchemy has also been described as the achievement of immortality. Alchemy has forever been an enigmatic and mysterious subject. It is understandable as to why authors use it so often.
Alchemy: Figurative Meaning
Alchemy in the book is not specifically denoted to the discovery of The Elixir of Life and the Philosophers Stone. Alchemy symbolically represents the process of purification of one's self by completion of his or her personal legend. All the characters in the book who have achieved their personal legend have great wisdom and skills that they have achieved through the journey of achieving their personal legend and purifying themselves. The Alchemist mentioned that Alchemists who have achieved the great feats of literal alchemy realized that instead of purifying metals they were purifying themselves. Alchemy also symbolizes the beauty in simplicity. We see this when the Englishmen refuses to learn through experience and thus he never becomes a true alchemist. Santiago is an alchemist though like his mentor because he has completed his personal legend and thus purified himself.