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The Alchemist: Dreams & Omens
Transcript of The Alchemist: Dreams & Omens
Coelho, Paulo. The Alchemist. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1993. Print.
What Are Dreams?
A dream is defined as a series of images, ideas, emotions and sensations that occur in a person's mind during sleep.
Dreams have been a subject of scientific study in the past and they still are now.
According to Sigmund Freud, dreams are windows into our unconscious desires, thoughts, and motivations. Researchers believe that dreams serve no real purpose while others believe it is essential to a person's well-being if they are interpreted.
In Judaism, dreams not only have significance but they can involve out-of-body experiences with important messages to the person. They need to be interpreted in order to understand the meaning behind the messages relating to the person, someone else or occurrences in the world.
In Biblical and Talmudic literature, there are three categories of dreams. One of them includes the idea that dreams are prophetic and that they are callings from God. Examples of these type of dreams include the dreams of Jacob, Joseph and the Pharaoh of Egypt.
Significance of Omens in The Alchemist
In the novel, there is much evidence of omens. The idea that, like dreams, omens contain prophetic significance is shown throughout Santiago's journey.
In the novel, Santiago sees an omen from a pair of hawks. "...the hawks made a flashing dive through the sky, attacking the other. As it did so, a sudden, fleeting image came to the boy: an army, with its swords at the ready, riding into the oasis (100)" Alarmed by the omen, he reports it to the tribal chieftains and thus, saves the oasis from the attack.
Significance of Dreams in The Alchemist
The idea that dreams contain prophetic significance and meaningful messages reflects back to Santiago and his own experience with dreams.
In the novel,
, Santiago has a dream, which he believes is significant. He visits a gypsy in Tarifa to interpret the dream. His dream involves a child transporting him to the Egyptian pyramids and saying, "If you come here, you will find a
What are Omens?
An omen is defined as an event regarded as a portent of good and evil. In relation to the story, it is defined as having prophetic significance, similar to dreams.
There are many references made to omens in The Alchemist. There are references made to scarab beetles (Arabic), Urim and Thummin (Jewish), hawks, and even the presence of certain characters: Santiago, Melchizedek, the crystal merchant, Englishman, Fatima, The Alchemist.
The Alchemist: Dreams & Omens
The use of dreams is important in the Alchemist because it conveys the idea that dreams are personal, symbolic and that they are connected to the Soul of the World through Personal Legends. Dreams are inner desires. When Santiago has the dream, he has realized his Personal Legend, even if he is not aware of it. It is clear that he understands the important meaning behind it, which is why he visits the gypsy to interpret it. It is his dream that sets the plot of
hidden treasure (Coelho 13-14)." The gypsy woman then interprets his dream, saying, "...you must go to the Pyramids in Egypt... if it was a child who showed them to you, they exist. There you will find a treasure that will make you a rich man (14)."
The use of omens is significant in the novel because it is connected to the Universal Language of the World and the idea that everything is connected. At this point of the story, it is clear that Santiago is starting to make sense of the world by the omens. He senses an army attack just by looking at the flight pattern of the hawks. He allows himself to heed to the omens and interpret his environment, hence, allowing himself to understand the Language of the World.
by: Julianna Salvatierra