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The Hero's Journey in The Little Mermaid

The 12 steps of Joseph Campbell's monomyth as applied to Disney's The Little Mermaid

Stephanie Hendrix

on 2 August 2013

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Transcript of The Hero's Journey in The Little Mermaid

Ariel's Heroic Journey: Joseph Campbell's Monomyth in The Little Mermaid
The Ordinary World

In Ariel's Ordinary World, she lives under the sea with her father, King Triton, and her sisters.

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Step 1
The Call to Adventure

Ariel's Call to Adventure occurs when she swims too close to the surface and sees Prince Eric as he celebrates his birthday. It is love at first sight.

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Step 2
The Refusal of the Call

Ariel's Refusal of the Call happens after her father destroys her grotto and she briefly has second thoughts about contracting with Ursula, the Sea Witch.

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Step 3
The Return With the Elixir

Ariel Returns With the Elixir when she marries Prince Eric, and they live happily ever after, ruling benevolently.

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Step 12
Meeting the Mentor

Ariel's Mentor is Sebastian, the crab, who tries to help her secure love's first kiss before the sun sets on the third day.

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Step 4
Crossing the Threshold

Ariel Crosses the Threshold when she becomes human.

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Step 5
Tests, Allies, & Enemies

Ariel's primary test is getting Prince Eric to kiss her before the sun sets on the third day. Her allies include Flounder, Sebastian, and Scuttle. Her enemies are, of course, Ursula (aka Vanessa), Flotsam, and Jetsam.

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Step 6
Approaching the Inmost Cave

Ariel's Inmost Cave is aboard Eric's ship as he is about to marry Ursula disguised as Vanessa.

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Step 7
The Supreme Ordeal

Ariel's Supreme Ordeal is facing Ursula after she has failed to get Eric to kiss her by the time the sun sets on the third day.

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Step 8
The Reward

Ariel's Reward occurs when her father takes her place as Ursula's prisoner, and she is freed.

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Step 9
The Road Back

Ariel's Road Back occurs when Ursula attempts to exert her newfound power over Atlantica, but is ultimately defeated by Prince Eric, who almost dies again.

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Step 10
The Resurrection

Ariel's resurrection occurs when her father grants her wish and makes her human.

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Step 11
Full transcript