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Joseph Campbell's Monomyth - the Hero Cycle

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Chad Hensley

on 12 May 2014

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Transcript of Joseph Campbell's Monomyth - the Hero Cycle

The Hero Cycle The Archetype of
the Monomyth Stage 5:
Tests, Enemies, & Allies Stage 6:
Approach & Preparation Stage 9:
The Road Back Stage 7:
The Supreme Ordeal
(also called The Inner Most Cave) Stage 10:
The Resurrection
(Crossing the 2nd Threshold) Stage 10:
Return with the Elixir
This is the "meat" of the story where the hero undergoes a series of arduous trials that test his resolve. During this portion, he encounters various other characters (some good some bad) & and can include archetypes such as: The Temptress, The Goddess, The Shapeshifter OR a "Leave Your Quest Test." The Hero and his allies prepare for the biggest challenge in this new world. At this point, the hero is getting much more used to playing according to the "new rules" of the UNKNOWN realm. This is the moment in the story where the hero hits the bottom & often has to face his / her own death. Sometimes during this episode, the hero has a ritualistic death but is ultimately changed at the end of it. The hero is not out of the woods yet. He still has to fight his way back to the ordinary world & at this point is often times chased by vengeful forces, escpecially if he has stolen something that he was not supposed to have. Also, if the hero has not reconciled with a "father figure" or the Gods, they come after him, too. The hero moves from the "unknown realm" & has to be "re-born" into the known world, but has to succumb to one last trial, which often times involves some final battle or event where the hero faces death one last time. This is the point where the hero has righted all wrongs in his world, saved the day, rescued the people, etc. The hero now has "Freedom to Live" without the fear of death. Stage 8:
The Reward At this point in the story, the hero is able to get the object of desire: the Holy Grail, the Golden Fleece, some elixir to save his homeland, some important knowledge, or sometimes a "McGuffin" In the 1940's a philosopher and literary named Joseph Campbell found some similarites between ancient myths, children's stories, Hollywood blockbusters . . . . . . . and ultimately everyone's individual life, which is why it is an ACHETYPE!!! Defined by Plato & then expounded upon by the philosopher Carl Jung in the 20th century, an ARCHETYPE is a "universally accepted symbol, story, character, or behavior that serves as a prototype from which others are copied" . . . These are "ideal" concepts that are so ingrained in our culture, that they reverberate through time . . . There are several ARCHETYPAL characters that you are probably familiar with: The Hero Damsel in Destress The Villain The Trickster The Mentor The Goddess Wise Old Man Femme Fatale BUT . . . PLOTLINES can also be archetypes! First, what is an ARCHETYPE? Campbell's Hero Cycle Stage 4:
The Crossing of the First Threshold This is where the hero ventures into the "unknown," leaving the comforts of his old life in exchange for a world that may not be governed by the same rules / limits. Stage 1: Call to Adventure The hero is asked by some sort of herald (or sometimes forced) to leave home and go on an adventure. Stage 2:
Refusal of the Call Here the hero either tries to escape going on the journey OR doesn't want to go because of self doubt. The Ordinary World This is the setting where the story begins. Often times there is trouble on the horizon OR the hero is not comfortable in his own world. Stage 3:
Meeting the Mentor Part 1: Separation For Odysseus, this is Ithaca & the Trojan war is brewing up due to Helen & Paris For Odysseus, Agamemnon arrives in Ithaca & asks for his help to defeat the Trojans in Troy. For Odysseus, he tries to feign madness in an attempt to avoid leaving his wife and newborn son. Once the hero has accepted the call, he receives help from a "mentor," often of supernatural origins & sometimes receives a special weapon or talisman that will help along the way. For Odysseus, his "helper" is Athena, who aids him several times during his journey. For Odysseus, he embarks on the voyage to Troy, where is lives the life of a warrior for ten years. Christopher Volger In the 1980's a writer and literary critic simplified Campbell's seventeen stages of the monomyth into a much more consise & approachable 12 stages to the HERO CYCLE. It's not so much a reduction of cycles as it is combination of cycles with "easier to remember" labels for each Volger's Hero Journey "Known World" "Unknown World" This archetype became known as
the "MONOMYTH," or the single myth that has reverberated though time. Today, we also can call it . . . I'm pretty sure you can guess which portion of Homer's Epic this entails! PART 2: The Initiation For Odysseus, this is the episode where he and his men receive the direction from Circe (The Goddess) to find the way home . . . but we could argue this one. For Odysseus, this is most certainly when he alone enters the gates of Hades to seek the blind profit Tiresias For Odysseus, the ultimate BOON for him was the knowledge that he would one again set foot on Ithaca (after he suffers some more). For Odysseus, this is the part of the journey after the Underworld, where he loses all companions due to the wrath of the gods. PART 3: The Return In the Odyssey, this is most certainly when Odysseus returns "from the dead" in Ithaca & has to battle to regain his kingdom (and wife). Who wants to see a little video evidence? Okay!
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