Joseph Campbell, a mythologist, writer, lecturer, and highly regarded for his work in comparative mythology and comparative religion, shared his beliefs on the universal hero’s journey in an interview with Bill Moyers. Campbell brought to life his novel,
Hero with 1,000
Faces, and connected his expanded knowledge with anecdotes. Campbell established that giving life to a greater cause is the definition of a hero. In order to reach this pedestal of life, the hero must either face a physical or mental transformation. Generally, the mental aspect is a large component in the shift of the the hero and his process to become independent and responsible through maturation. This evolution of the hero cannot occur without abrupt change, which commonly comes in the form of either rebirth or death. The other feat, a physical transformation, largely occurs through selfsacrifice and breaking egotistical ways, which is frequently letting go the fear of the unknown. Through the hero’s journey, the character is able to challenge the ordinary through acknowledging the unknown and discovering a new conscious. Being compelled to reach out of a comfort zone requires a catalyst. A majority of the time, the hero will have a driving force to help give momentum and persevere towards an accomplishment. Campbell brought to light a tale that involved characters being urged into the woods to follow a deer. This story displays the influence of nature and how it determines a hero’s will. Every hero has that spark inside of them that ignites the urge to follow a passion, whether it be an act of achievement, protection, sacrifice, or spiritual desire, they all have an important moral value to follow. Complementary to Muhammad, who had left his life as a camel master and began praying for the unknown, the hero seeks what his eyes have not witnessed to disclose a missing part within his self.
What makes the hero’s journey so special and relevant to a wide range of stories, is the ability of making it universal so anyone who reads it can understand. Once the hero begins the journey, trials become an onerous task, and without these struggles, there is no journey. This is where many characters fall and must return to their ordinary world without the reward. Campbell told the story of the serpent, a serpent that comes with a secret and adventure. Many who see the serpent become scared and refuse to give up their trust. The serpent is a trial and determines whether the hero can take on the challenge of adventure.
This anecdote also adds another element to the way nature sneaks it’s way into measuring the hero’s destiny. The necessity of trials reflects back onto the sacrifice that a hero must make sooner or later. As mentioned previously, the sacrifice can occur either mentally or physically and most commonly is enacted during a trial. While these trials may seem futile, the hero is very well adept to exceeding them all. This power that is given to the hero in the journey, as Campbell mentioned, is the supernatural force and it helps lead the…