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Joseph Campbell's Stages of the Hero's Journey

Outline of Joseph Campbell's stages of the hero's journey.

Michelle Keillor

on 16 March 2011

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Transcript of Joseph Campbell's Stages of the Hero's Journey

The Hero's Journey
The Call to Adventure
The call to adventure is the point in a person's life when they are first given notice that everything is going to change, whether they know it or not.
Refusal of the Call
Often when the call is given, the future hero refuses to follow it. This may be from a sense of duty or obligation, fear, insecurity, a sense of inadequacy, or any of a range of reasons that work to hold the person in his or her current circumstances.
Answering the Call

Ultimately, the hero finds motivation to answer the call.
Supernatural Aid
Once the hero has committed to the quest, his or her guide and magical helper appears, or becomes known.
Guide Mentor
A specific character who helps the hero understand a life situation or provides the hero with special training.
A special item that has special significance to the hero.

The hero is aided on this quest by individuals whose personalities are often at odds with each other.
The Crossing of the First Threshold
This is the point where the person actually crosses into the adventure, leaving the known world and venturing into an unknown and dangerous realm where the rules and limits are not known.
Threshold Guardians
People, beings, or situations that block passage across the threshold of adventure

They have two functions:

Protect the hero from journeys he is unprepared for
Point the way for the hero to begin his journey
Initiation/ Road of Trials

The road of trials is a series of tests, tasks, or ordeals that the hero must undergo. Often the person fails at one or more of these tests.

Brother Battle
The hero will battle physically or mentally with someone who is a close relative or friend.
The Belly of the Whale
The belly of the whale represents the final separation from the hero's known world and self. It is sometimes described as the person's lowest point. This experience is often symbolized by something dark, unknown and frightening.
Night or Sea Journey

The hero’s travels take him to far-away and unknown lands. Often these journeys take place at night or at sea.
Dragon Battle

The hero is forced to battle some kind of monster. Sometimes, this struggle is with the hero’s inner-demons.
Ritual Death

The hero is injured and thought to be dead. Or the hero mistakenly believes that someone close to him is dead.
The hero suffers an injury in which he loses a limb or the use of another body part.

The Goddess

The meeting with the goddess represents the point in the adventure when the person experiences a love that has the power and significance of the all-powerful, all encompassing, unconditional love. It is also known as the sacred marriage. This is a very important step in the process and is often represented by the person finding the other person that he or she loves most completely. Although Campbell symbolizes this step as a meeting with a goddess, unconditional love and /or self unification does not have to be represented by a woman.
Our hero is kidnapped or someone close to the hero is taken away.
Sacred Marriage
The Hero creates a special emotional bond with another character.
This union may take place entirely within the hero.
Atonement with the Father
In this step the hero must confront whatever holds the ultimate power in his life.
In many myths and stories this is the father, or a father figure who has power over life and death.
Arial (Body)
This is the center point of the journey. All the previous steps have been moving into this place, all that follows will move out from it.
For the transformation to take place, the hero must be “killed” so that the new self can come into being.
Sometimes this killing is literal, and the earthly journey for that character is either over or moves into a different realm.
The apotheosize is to deify.
(or to make into a god)
The Ultimate Boon
The ultimate boon is the achievement of the goal of the quest. It is what the hero went on the journey to get.
Refusal to Return
This is much like the refusal to start the journey, but now the hero wonders if “roots” and “home” are necessary or is concerned how he will now fit in his previous surroundings
Magic Flight

Sometimes the hero must escape with the boon, if it is something that the gods have been jealously guarding.
It can be just as adventurous and dangerous returning from the journey as it was to go on it.
Rescue From Without
Just as the hero may need guides and assistants to set out on the quest, often times he or she must have powerful guides and rescuers to bring them back to everyday life, especially if the person has been wounded or weakened by the experience.
The Crossing of the Return Threshold

The trick in returning is to retain the wisdom gained on the quest, and then maybe figure out how to share the wisdom with the rest of the world. This is usually extremely difficult, especially when others find this new wisdom dangerous to their current lives.

Master of Two Worlds

This step is usually represented by a transcendental hero like Jesus or Buddha.

Freedom to Live
Mastery leads to freedom from the fear of death, which in turn is the freedom to live.
This sometimes referred to as living in the moment, neither anticipating the future nor regretting the past.
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