The Hero with a Thousand Faces Summary – May 2022

Author: Joseph Campbell

Short Summary
The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949) by Joseph Campbell explores the plot that is followed by almost every book. Through this book, Campbell emphasizes the point that regardless of the culture or region all books are the same. All the books and stories revolve around morals, lessons, and universal truths. The Hero with a Thousand Faces summary describes the journey of a hero starting from the call for adventure to the hero’s success. A successful hero can be either the tyrant, the lover, the world redeemer, or the saint.
the hero with a thousand faces summary
Source: amazon.com

Detailed Summary

“The Hero with a Thousand Faces’’ is a nonfiction book that explores the common element of world mythology. The writer discusses the hero’s journey. He then uses many creation myths as examples. The author investigates why myths from various cultures share so many commonalities. He also draws parallels between modern dreams and old tales, both of which share the same symbolism. The speaker also explores the roles of protagonists, gods, and other beings in myth, as also tragedy and comedy. Ultimately, he illustrates how everything is interconnected. The author outlines the route of the hero’s trip.

The protagonist embarks on a mission that leads him into a mythical world filled with danger and potential rewards. He encounters gods, goddesses, demons, and other creatures who put his resolve and abilities to complete his task to the test. With the homecoming from the mystical land, the hero’s adventure comes to an end. According to Campbell, he has four options: stay in the mysterious realm and take his boon, be rescued by a god, return home peacefully, or give back to humanity as an enlightened being. “Separation—initiation—return” is the pattern of the hero’s journey. Campbell explores those heroes can take on a variety of roles, including soldiers, lovers, kings, and more.

The Hero with a Thousand Faces Summary Key Points

Three fundamental steps make up the hero’s journey

The protagonist must complete a number of stages to achieve his mission and finish the cycle of his existence, much like a lifespan. The call, the quest, and the return are all these. We can see numerous similarities between ourselves and the hero if we compare ourselves to him.  Not answering your phone and heading off in search of your purpose will undoubtedly bother you and make you feel uneasy. However, doing so will change you and allow you to realize your full potential. Once you hear it, you won’t be able to return to your previous frame of consciousness because the call is relentless and awakening. Hearing it will inspire you to pursue your chosen goal, even if it is difficult and demanding. What follows is the quest. This period is full of challenges as well as pleasant experiences. This section is crucial for the hero since it defines him.  Finally, there’s the return. This stage marks the hero’s total metamorphosis and accomplishment of his or her goal.

You must first cross a threshold to begin your adventure

To fulfill his inner summons, the hero must leave his comfort zone, his life as he knows it, and all those around him. There’s no assurance he’ll return, or that his quest will be successful. This dispute gives him an uneasy feeling, and he needs to make a decision soon. Everything that the hero desires is found outside of his usual bubble and comfort zone. This anecdote teaches us all something. The voice depicts the disturbing thoughts that pass through our heads, urging us that we can do better and that we should pursue our aspirations.

Hard labor, not skill, is required to become a hero

The story’s hero had a long mission to complete, but he succeeded. It wasn’t an amazing talent, a power, or any extraordinary conditions that enabled him to complete his task. Instead, he had to go slowly and deliberately in order to attain his goal. Each day, he had to grow a little more in order to progress in his goal. He would not be able to complete whatever he started if he had not been consistent, because there is no option to simply skip to the end of the mission and utilize all of your power to try to overcome it. Consider the hero as a role model for your mission. We often believe that only individuals with natural aptitudes for a field or those born into fortunate circumstances succeed. However, the world is replete with failed geniuses and successful hard workers who persevered in the face of adversity.

The Hero with a Thousand Faces Quotes

“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.” –Joseph Campbell

“Perhaps some of us have to go through dark and devious ways before we can find the river of peace or the high road to the soul’s destination.” –Joseph Campbell

The Hero with a Thousand Faces Summary Review

The book is injected with knowledge from ancient Greek times. It single-handily analyses the typical plot that is followed in most of the books we read and movies we watch in a very simple yet efficient manner. Through The Hero with a Thousand Faces summary, you will learn about the creation of the hero, his journey, and the Cosmogonic Cycle which describes the creation and destruction of the universe. It is a very effective read for anyone who is into literary criticism. Go apply Campbell’s theory to some of the books and movies you have watched. You’ll be astonished that it works!

To Whom I Would Recommend The Hero with a Thousand Faces Summary

  • To the artists, writers, and filmmakers who are looking for
  • Literature students who want to study mythological narratives in depth
  • And to anyone who is interested in Greek mythology in general.

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