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Joseph Campbell


Joseph Campbell s Monomyth: The Hero s Journey Joseph Campbell An American professor, writer, and orator best known for his work in the fields of comparative ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Joseph Campbell

Joseph Campbells Monomyth The Heros Journey
Joseph Campbell
  • An American professor, writer, and orator best
    known for his work in the fields of comparative
    mythology and comparative religion.
  • In 1949 Joseph Campbell made a big splash in the
    field of mythology with his book The Hero With a
    Thousand Faces. This book built on the pioneering
    work of German anthropologist Adolph Bastian, who
    first proposed the idea that myths from all over
    the world seem to be built from the same
    "elementary ideas."

Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung (1875-1961) named
these elementary ideas "archetypes," which he
believed to be the building blocks not only of
the unconscious mind, but of a collective
unconscious. In other words, Jung believed that
everyone in the world is born with the same basic
subconscious model of what a "hero" is, or a
"mentor" or a "quest," and that's why people who
don't even speak the same language can enjoy the
same stories.
Campbell's contribution was to take this idea of
archetypes and use it to map out the common
underlying structure behind religion and myth. He
proposed this idea in The Hero With a Thousand
Faces, which provides examples from cultures
throughout history and all over the world.
Campbell eloquently argues that all stories are
fundamentally the same story, which he named the
"Hero's Journey," or the "monomyth.
  • Remember Prezi An epic is a long narrative poem
    that recounts the adventures of an epic hero, a
    larger-than-life figure who undertakes great
    journeys and performs deeds requiring remarkable
    strength and cunning.
  • Other points from Prezi
  • Hero is great leader who embodies ideals values
    that culture considers admirable.
  • Hero is on quest/journey to achieve something of
    great value to self or society.
  • Hero achieves type of immortality b/c lives in
    after death by being forever remembered by those
    who live after.

  • Other points from Prezi
  • Hero possesses superhuman strength craftiness
    but doesnt have magical powers. Heroes are
    regular humans whose aspirations
    accomplishments set them apart.
  • Hero overcomes obstacles/opponents but maintains
    humanity emerging victorious from perilous
  • Hero experiences typical human emotions yet is
    able to master control these human traits to a
    greater degree than a typical person.

  • Other points from Prezi
  • Hero often connects/makes contact with lesser
    humans in order to succeed but is also helped
    harmed by intersecting gods.
  • Hero is also an archetypal character (archetype ?
    more on that later).

George Lucas had already written two drafts of
Star Wars when he rediscovered Joseph Campbell's
The Hero With a Thousand Faces in 1975 (having
read it years before in college). This
blueprint for "The Hero's Journey" gave Lucas the
focus he needed to draw his sprawling imaginary
universe into a single story. The Wachowski
Brothers' film The Matrix is also carefully built
on the same blueprint.
  • Campbell sites three stages of the Heros
    Journey. Each stage contains various elements
    that build the protagonists character, bringing
    them closer to their self knowledge the true
    purpose of the quest.
  • Stage I Departure
  • Stage II Initiation
  • Stage III Return

I. Departure (or Separation) The Call to
  • The quest begins with the heroes in a state of
    anguish, and they become aware of a place beyond
    the world they have known. The quest is often
    announced to the hero by another character who
    acts as a "herald."

Refusal of the Call
  • In many stories, the hero initially refuses the
    call to adventure. When this happens, the hero
    suffers somehow, and eventually chooses the quest.

Supernatural Aid
  • Along the way, the hero often encounters a
    helper, usually a wise old man (or a helper
    disguised as one) who gives the hero both
    psychological and physical weapons for the

Crossing of the First Threshold
  • The heroes eventually must cross into a dark
    underworld, where they will face evil and
    darkness, and, thus, find true enlightenment.
    Before this can occur, however, the heroes must
    cross the threshold between their home world and
    the new world of adventure. Often this involves
    facing off against and quelling a threshold
    guardian, and this point represents the
    transition into the world of adventure.

Belly of the Whale
  • Having defeated the threshold guardian, the
    heroes find themselves in a place of darkness
    where they begin their true adventure, perhaps
    discovering their true purpose. This belly of
    the whale is a frightening and restricting
    place, from which the hero must somehow escape.
    (The name for this stage of the monomyth is based
    upon the story of Jonah.)

II. Initiation The Road of Trials
  • Once in the other world, the hero is repeatedly
    challenged with mental and physical obstacles
    that must be overcome. Often these take the form
    of a test, by which the heroes improve their
    skills and proves their worth. Also, these
    trials help the hero move from childishness to
    self-reliance. Thus, this step is a personal

Meeting with the Goddess
  • After overcoming the Road of Trials, the hero
    often encounters a goddess-like, approachable
    woman beautiful, queenlike, or motherly. The
    male hero faces the goddess and in doing so,
    faces his anima (? Jungs term for the feminine
    side of a mans personality). By uniting with the
    goddess, he becomes a whole person, reconciling
    his feminine nature with his masculine nature.
    This can also be a negative encounter when the
    goddess is replaced by The Temptress (see next
    slide). Campbell cites the lure of the woman,
    leading the hero astray (the hero is assumed to
    be male).

Woman as Temptress (Temptation)
  • In some Hero's Quests, the male hero will
    encounter the goddess, but before he can unite
    with her, he must prove his worthiness by
    overcoming the temptation of the Woman as
    Temptress. This is the negative side to the
    previous slide, and can plunge him back into

Atonement with the Father
  • The male hero may encounter a father-like figure
    of patriarchal authority. 'Father' and 'son' are
    often pitted against each other for mastery of
    the universe. To understand the father, and
    ultimately himself, the hero must reconcile
    with this ultimate authority figure.

Apotheosis (becoming god-like)
  • The heroes ego is disintegrated in a
    breakthrough expansion of consciousness. It is a
    realization of the essence of life. Quite
    frequently their ideas of reality is changed,
    they may find themselves able to do new things or
    able to see a larger point of view, allowing a
    sacrifice of self.

The Ultimate Boon (boon blessing)
  • Having reconciled with the father and achieved
    personal enlightenment, the heroes psychological
    forces are again balanced. Their new found
    knowledge, or boon, also has potential to benefit

III. Return Refusal of the Return
  • Having found bliss and enlightenment in the
    underworld, the hero may not want to return with
    the boon for a variety of reasons (others may not
    understand experiences)

Magic Flight
  • A mad dash is made by the hero to return with the
    prize to inform, heal, or share with a community.

Rescue from Without
  • The heroes may need to be pulled back from the
    adventure by the outside world. Its time to
    return, and when they do, others will benefit
    from their boon.

Crossing of the Return Threshold
  • Before the heroes can return to the real world,
    they must confront another threshold guardian.
    The first threshold was a symbolic death this is
    now a symbolic rebirth.

Master of the Two Worlds
  • Once the final threshold is crossed, the heroes
    are now free to move back and forth between the
    two worlds at will. Heroes must explore and learn
    how to bring the two worlds together.

Freedom to Live
  • With the journey now complete, the heroes have
    found true freedom, and can turn their efforts to
    helping or teaching humanity.

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