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Into the Woods: A Hero's Journey
Transcript of Into the Woods: A Hero's Journey
The baker asks for assistance when he talks to Cinderella. He says to her "We have a young child. Princess, Our child was very difficult to come by. His safety is of great importance to me." He is looking to Cinderella for her power and influence and enlisting her to help him protect his son.
The baker and his wife's departure occurs during the first singing of "Into the Woods" in Act II. The baker begins the song by saying "It's always when you think at last you're through, and then into the woods you go again to take another journey" and his wife later follows by saying "It's just another journey." This is one of the few times during the play that a step of the hero's journey is blatantly stated. The baker and his wife both say that they are embarking on another journey and that this is the beginning of their quest.
Trials & Approach
The steps of "Trials" and "Approach" in the baker and his wife's journey are very much intertwined. There is not one key trial, but many things that challenge the pair. They promised Little Red that they would get her to her grandmothers house and they must find some way to please the giant -whether it be by giving her Jack or finding a way around it. The baker's wife kissing the prince also leads her to the approach of her darkest hour. All these instances try the two heroes in their journey and steer them around their original goal, distracting them.
The Baker (and His Wife)
At the end of Act I, the baker and his wife are happy. They have broken the curse and had their baby (although the Baker is a little unsure he will be able to handle him alone) and everything is going their way, but Act II brings them on an unexpected journey that ends up changing the Baker forever.
Call to Adventure
The baker and his wife are called to adventure when the giant tramples their house. The baker wants to get rid of the giant and the witch says to him "With a giant, we'll all have to go to battle!" This calls them to adventure by encouraging them to leave what has become their normal life and to venture into the woods once again.
The crisis comes for the two characters at different times in the story. For the Baker's Wife, the crisis comes when she gets lost and falls to her death. She does not overcome her crisis, but succumbs to it and her journey concludes. The Baker, on the other hand, carries on. His crisis occurs when the witch comes back with his wife's scarf. The Baker hits his lowest point in his journey. This part of the story is his crisis because he becomes hysterical and believes that it's his fault that she dies, and is even going to give up his son. This is the most tragic point of the story for the Baker.
For the Baker, his return to a "normal" world occurs after the death of the giant. His initial goal for the journey was to "investigate the destruction wrought upon" his house. After discovering that it was the giant and ending the giant's life, this ensures that the problem will no longer happen, and ends the thing that changed the "status quo" world in the first place. The Baker even says "Now we can all return home and let us hope there will be no more killing."
Treasure & Result
The Baker doesn't necessarily come across a "treasure" after his crisis, but he does obtain a valuable piece of advice. He speaks to his father who tells him not to run away from his problems. He sings to the Baker "Trouble is, son, the farther you run, the more you feel undefined for what you have left undone." This advice is "treasure" to the Baker because it helps him escape from the crisis. There may not be any real monsters chasing him, but it helps him get away from his inner demons and helps him figure out what to do.
New Life & Resolution
After slaying the giant, the Baker is free to return to his home, but he it will not be the same as it was before. The Baker invites Cinderella, Little Red, and Jack to live with him. His wife is not longer there, and he has to take care of his son. Even though he is slowly returning to the "status quo," the journey he has been on has altered that "status quo" and changed it to incorporate new things and give him a new life.
By the end of Act II, things have changed drastically for the Baker. At the beginning, he was unsure about raising his child, but he was happy all the same. He was with his wife and he thought he had finally finished his journey, only to find himself back in the woods. The hero's journey that the Baker went on made him learn that he can't run away and he has to face his problems and made him mature as a father and take responsibility.