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HEROIC EPIC. Joseph Campbell and the The monomyth was described by Joseph Campbell in his book, Hero With a Thousand Faces . This is often referred to as the “ hero ’ s journey. ” This universal pattern is found in myths around the world. monomyth. Epic Hero Characteristics.

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Joseph Campbell and the

The monomyth was described by Joseph Campbell in his book, Hero With a Thousand Faces. This is often referred to as the “hero’s journey.” This universal pattern is found in myths around the world.



Epic Hero Characteristics

-Warrior, great leader, and orator

-Often uses a magical or powerful weapon

-Undertakes a long, arduous journey into a dangerous, unknown world

-Whatever human qualities are revered in the hero’s culture, the hero possesses

-Despite having a willing entourage, the hero accepts a journey that others would not attempt

-Arête – “bringing perfection to virtue” is important to the hero

-The hero’s enemy often despises good and has more interest in his or her own existence than the existence of what is considered good (e.g. gods, peace, etc . . .)

-Sometimes faces a supernatural enemy where the divine intervention or great skill is needed to defeat the foe


1. The hero is introduced in his ordinary world.

To demonstrate the future journey’s extraordinary unraveling, the hero begins the tale in his or her own typical environment.


2.Thecall to adventure.

A problem, challenge, or adventure motivates the hero out of his or her ordinary world and into a special world.


3. The hero is reluctant at first.

A hesitation in pursuing the heroic journey occurs with the hero.


4. The hero is encouraged by the wise old man or woman.

A mentor arrives with some aid. This aid may be advice, a weapon, or another item allowing the journey to unravel.


5. The hero passes through the first threshold.

The hero initiates the first steps in moving through his or her journey. The race begin, a voyage starts, the plane takes off, the romance dances away, the cards are dealt, etc . . .


6. The hero reaches the innermost cave.

This is the hero’s goal, but is accomplished through entering a dangerous place, usually an underground area where the quest’s object is hidden.


7. The hero encounters tests and helpers.

The hero meets enemies, allies, obstacles, and tests pertinent to his or her heroic development.

8 meeting with the goddess
8. Meeting with the Goddess
  • This could be a motherly figure, someone like a queen, or an actual goddess.
  • This person helps the hero realize what is waiting for him when he finishes his quest.

9. Temptation from the true path.

This is another step with the Road of Trials: the hero is tempted to stray from his mission, to give up, or to follow his own selfish desires.

10 reconciliation with the father figure
10. Reconciliation with the father figure.

The hero must forgive his father or father-figure in order to understand himself and his journey.


12. The hero seizes the sword.

After surviving death, the hero takes possession of the object causing the heroic journey. This could be knowledge, weaponry, powers, or any other item of worth.


13. Refusal to Return.

The hero fears that his ordinary world will not understand him anymore, so he wishes to stay in the new world.


14. The road back.

Odysseus’ long

journey home.

Creating a chase scene, the hero must return to his or her beginning location while eluding the treasure’s former possessors.


15. Resurrection

This is usually a replay of stage eight. The hero again faces death, but in stage eleven, the hero is metaphorically reborn a stronger and greater individual.


16. Return with the elixir.

Brought from the special world by the hero, the item is presented to the hero’s ordinary world.




Joseph Campbell’s Hero With a Thousand Faces