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Odyssey Monomyth

How Homer's Odyssey follows the basic structure of the hero's journey.
by

Jory Keller

on 25 November 2013

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Transcript of Odyssey Monomyth

Homer's
Odyssey
:
A Monomyth

The monomyth, or hero's journey, is a pattern or cycle that can be found in the structure of most narrative tales.
The pattern was discovered by Joseph Campbell in 1949, but its influence can be found still in various forms of storytelling.
Homer's
Odyssey
is one of the oldest monomyths, but the cycle can be found almost anywhere (i.e. "Lion King", "Wizard of Oz", "Star Wars",... even
Speak
!)
There have been numerous adaptations of the monomyth structure, and depending on which version you look at, a different number of steps in the cycle.
The version I am demonstrating today is the 12 step journey. This is a recent interpretation of the monomyth as it appears in many contemporary films, and, as such, is used as an organizational tool by screenwriters.
Th cycle begins in the hero's Ordinary World.
Step 1: Ordinary World
Not necessarily what the audience views as ordinary but a world which would be normal or ordinary to the hero.
Step 2: Call to Adventure
The hero learns that he must leave the known world behind and enter the land of adventure.

Step 3: Refusal of the Call
The hero is not always eager to assume the adventure offered. This kind of hero is called a reluctant hero.
Step 4: Meeting with the Mentor (Supernatural Aid)
The hero encounters a helper as the journey begins: a guide and protector (often an old woman or old man)

Step 5: Crossing the First Threshold
The Hero must make a conscious, willing decision to embark on the adventure and leave the known world behind. This is the First Threshold. The Hero may have to defeat Threshold Guardians, who are not necessarily adversarial but do test the Hero's resolve.
Step 6: Tests/Allies/Enemies
The hero undergoes a series of trials often on a perilous journey. The guide or other helpers support him. Each trial prepares him for the ultimate goal.

Step 7: Approach to the Inmost Cave
The inmost cave may represent many things in the Hero's story such as an actual location in which lies a terrible danger or an inner conflict which up until now the Hero has not had to face. The Hero may be close to achieving his goal, but it may be just out of reach. As the Hero approaches the cave he must make final preparations before taking that final leap into the great unknown.
Step 8: Ordeal
The hero returns to the world from which he came accompanied by his guardian. The supreme ordeal may be a dangerous physical test or a deep inner crisis that the Hero must face in order to survive or for the world in which the Hero lives to continue to exist. Whether it be facing his greatest fear or most deadly foe, the Hero must draw upon all of his skills and his experiences gathered upon the path to the inmost cave in order to overcome his most difficulty challenge.
Step 9: Reward (Seizing the Sword)
After defeating the enemy, surviving death and finally overcoming his greatest personal challenge, the Hero is ultimately transformed into a new state, emerging from battle as a stronger person and often with a prize.
The Reward may come in many forms: an object of great importance or power, a secret, greater knowledge or insight, or even reconciliation with a loved one or ally. Whatever the treasure, which may well facilitate his return to the Ordinary World, the Hero must quickly put celebrations aside and prepare for the last leg of his journey.
Step 10: The Road Back
This stage in the Hero's journey represents a reverse echo of the Call to Adventure in which the Hero had to cross the first threshold. Now he must return home with his reward but this time the anticipation of danger is replaced with that of acclaim and perhaps vindication, absolution or even exoneration.
Step 11: Resurrection/Atonement (Climax/Final Battle)
This is the climax in which the Hero must have his final and most dangerous encounter with death. The final battle also represents something far greater than the Hero's own existence with its outcome having far-reaching consequences to his Ordinary World and the lives of those he left behind.
Step 12: Return with the Elixir
This is the final stage of the Hero's journey in which he returns home to his Ordinary World a changed man. He will have grown as a person, learned many things, faced many terrible dangers and even death but now looks forward to the start of a new life. His return may bring fresh hope to those he left behind, a direct solution to their problems or perhaps a new perspective for everyone to consider.
i
Can you think of another story that follows the hero's journey?
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