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Athena and Aphrodite
David and Goliath
Heroes Of Greek Mythology
History of Bible (last supper)
Jesus (beginning to end)
Mayan Myths- Popol Vuh
Native American Folktales
Symbolic Archetypes Light and Dark
The Greek Gods Pan and Altas
The Journey to the Underworld
The Quest Archetype
Visions of the Apocalypse
Zeus and Poseidon
The Quest Archetype
The Quest or Hero's Journey
“An archetype is an original model or type which other similar things are patterned after.” (#4)
, or the journey, is a single process or an individual adventure to growth, or transformation. The quest is divided into eight separate and very important parts. 1: The Call. 2: The Threshold. 3: Challenges. 4: The Abyss. 5: The Transformation. 6: The Revelation. 7: The Return. 8: The Return With A Gift.
“The story of the hero's quest typically begins in the hero's ordinary world, when he or she receives a call” (#5). The call invites someone to go on the adventure. That person will usually gain something physical, or it will gain something with significant spiritual value. The person can accept the call on their own, or they will be forced into the adventure after denying the call. The call could be a huge crisis in someone’s life, or a sudden change. It could also show an imbalance in their life that must be fixed by accepting the call.
“The threshold is the jumping off point for the adventure”. (#1) It combines the known part of our world and the unknown part of our world. The known world gives us a feeling of safety and comfort. The unknown is very scary and dangerous because we don’t know anything about the rules and landscape. The unknown world is a giant mystery. People that hold us back from reaching our destination are called threshold guardians. They do two very important things. They keep us safe by refusing to let us embark on the quest because they feel we are not ready for it. They also point the way for us when we are prepared to go on the quest.
The hero must encounter challenges. He or she must perform daunting tasks and challenges that will ultimately help in their transformation. The challenges are often things that only a superhuman or a God could accomplish. The challenges force the person to grow mentally and physically. With accomplishing these tasks, he or she will have made allies and enemies.
The abyss is the most daunting challenge of the entire quest. The hero has to do it all alone and it involves conquering the person’s worst fear. This is the point in the quest where the transformation begins if they conquer the abyss. “The hero must lose himself or herself in the adventure”. (#2)
The Transformation and Revelation:
The transformation happens after the hero has overcome the abyss. “The transformation is the moment of death and rebirth.” (#2) The revelation is part six of the quest, but is starts the transformation. This is when the hero changes his or hers outlook on life.
The Return and Return with a Gift:
The return happens when the person returns as a hero to their known world.
“The hero returns home or continues the journey, bearing some element of the treasure that has the power to transform the world as the hero has been transformed” (#3). The return is one of the hardest points in the quest because the hero has to return with all their new found knowledge and treasure to improve their own life, and the life of others.
In class, we read several different stories about many different heroes. We read
The Epic of Gilgamesh
. This is the story of a man, Gilgamesh, who is the ruler of Uruk
Gilgamesh in the 8th century.
and has many superhuman qualities. He is an awful ruler because he is arrogant and power hungry. He is despised by all the people of Uruk. The frustrated Gods create a man named Enkidu who is the exact same as person as Gilgamesh. The two become great friends and do many horrible things together. Enkidu falls ill and eventually dies. The death of his dear friend acts as the call for Gilgamesh. He can’t stand the thought of dying, or death being the end. He goes on a journey to find eternal life. To find eternal life, he knows he must find Utnapishtim. Utnapishtim is the only person known to have eternal life. Before finding Utnapishtim, Gilgamesh encounters several different challenges. He travels in darkness through the entry land of the god’s in the mountains. He gets through there and enters the garden of gods. He meets a woman named Siduri who ultimately tells him to be content with his life as a mortal. Gilgamesh does not listen to her. He travels on a ship with Urshanabi across the sea to the land where Utnapishtim lives. Gilgamesh learns how Utnapishtim received eternal life and knows that it will not happen the same way for him. However, Utnapishtim tells Gilgamesh
This shows the battle between Theseus and Sciron.
of a secret plant that will restore his youth. Gilgamesh finds the plant, but a serpent steals it from him. Gilgamesh returns to Uruk without the gift of immortality.
We also read the story of
. This is the story of Theseus who was born and did not know who his father was. His mother told him that his father left sandals and his sword underneath a huge boulder for Theseus to retrieve and then travel to Athens with. Athens was where his unknown father lived. This was the call for Theseus. He retrieved the sandals and sword and began the journey, by land, to Athens. Along the way he encounters thieves and bandits. The first challenge he deals with is a person called Periphetes, the cudgel man. He threatens Theseus saying he is going to kill him by hitting him in the head with his club. Of course Theseus defeats Periphetes and moves on. He then came across a man named Sciron. Sciron was about to kill Theseus by kicking him off the cliff when Theseus threw Sciron off the cliff. Theseus proceeded on until he met Sinis. Sinis tried catapulting Theseus through the air until his plan failed. Theseus defeated Sinis by tying him to two trees and splitting him in half. Lastly, before reaching Athens, Theseus meets a man named Procustes. Procustes tricks Theseus into his house to either stretch him to death, or chop off his legs for being too tall for his magical bed. Theseus new of this man’s trickery and killed Procustes by cutting his head and legs off. His journey to Athens is now done. All those people her encountered were like the challenges in the quest. The final task for his quest is the abyss. He goes as a sacrifice to Crete to slay him. Theseus, with the help of Ariadne, successfully kills Crete. Theseus returns home but as a mistake he becomes king.
The Quest relates to so many different stories. It relates to
The Story of David and Goliath
The Journey to the Underworld
, and also
The Story of Hercules
.The story of
David is about to kill Goliath with a rock.
David and Goliath relates to the quest because David answers the call of Goliath. Goliath was a giant philistine warrior at war with the Israelites. David went to fight him to protect his friends and family. Everyone knows killing Goliath is an almost impossible thing to do but
Statue of Hercules
David does it and proves himself a hero.
The story of Hercules relates to the quest archetype because Hercules is sent to do certain tasks by Apollo as a punishment for murdering his family. The journey to the underworld relates to the quest archetype because this is when an Egyptian dies and travels to the underworld to rescue someone or retrieve an object.
Impact on Other Literature:
The quest archetype has had huge effects on ancient literature as well as current day literature. Almost
everything we read or watch on television follows the guidelines of the quest archetype. A recent hero’s journey that just came out in theatres and in books is
Hermione (left), Harry (middle), and Ron (right) on the journey to find the Horcruxs.
andThe Deathly Hallows
. This is the story when Harry Potter must find seven different Horcruxs to kill once and for all Voldemort. Hogwarts safety is threatened and that acts as the call for Harry to go end Voldemort’s reign of terror. Along the way to finding the Horcruxs, Harry encounters many evil wizards and witches. His relationships with his two best friends are tested and his strength to continue is also tried. The abyss is when Harry realizes what the final Horcrux is. This is the point of no return in his journey. Harry successfully finds and destroys the seven Horcruxs and has mentally grown a tremendous amount.
Sophie and Robert Langdon.
Another great example of the quest archetype is the book and movie
The DaVinci Code
. Robert Langdon is investigating a murder with the victim’s granddaughter. He answers the call by traveling to London with Sophie, the granddaughter. While investigating, they come across clues in paintings, difficult codes, while making allies and enemies.
(#1) "Hero's Journey Archetype."
. Web. 22 Oct. 2011. <
(#2) Thompson, S.
. 1992. Web.
(#3) Vogler, Christopher. "Hero's Journey."
Storytech Literary Consulting
. Web. 22 Oct. 2011. <
(#4) "What Is An Archetype."
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. Web. 22 Oct. 2011. [[
(#5) Wood, Michael. "In Search of Myths & Heroes . Myths & Archetypes | PBS."
PBS: Public Broadcasting Service
. Candide Media Works, Inc., Nov. 2005. Web. 22 Oct. 2011.
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