Hero, unrecognised, arrived home or in another country.
False hero presents unfounded claims.
Difficult task is proposed to hero (trial by drink, riddle, test of strength).
Task is resolved or accomplished.
Hero is recognised, often by mark or object.
False hero or villain is exposed and/or punished.
Hero is given new appearance (is made whole, handsome, etc.).
Villain is pursued.
Hero is married and ascends throne.
Claude Levi-Strauss’s approach to narrative
After studying hundreds of myths and legends from around the world, Levi-Strauss observed that we make sense of the world, people and events by seeing and using binary opposites everywhere.
He observed that all narratives are organised around the conflict between such binary opposites.
Examples of binary opposites
Good vs evil
Black vs white
Boy vs girl
Peace vs war
Civilised vs savage
Democracy vs dictatorship
Conqueror vs conquered
First world vs third world
Domestic vs foreign/alien
Articulate vs inarticulate
Young vs old
Man vs nature
Protagonist vs antagonist
Action vs inaction
Motivator vs observer
Empowered vs victim
Man vs woman
Good-looking vs ugly
Strong vs weak
Decisive vs indecisive
East vs west
Humanity vs technology
Ignorance vs wisdom
Joseph Campbell’s approach to narrative
After comparing the myths, legends and religions of various cultures in his book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces , Joseph Campbell observed that most narratives follow a common pattern of the mythic hero quest, journey or monomyth .
Campbell believed that most narratives, regardless of their time, place or culture, follow the same narrative stages and contain universally recognisable characters and situations i.e. archetypes .
The Hero’s Journey
Examples of character archetypes
Hero (Arthur, Theseus, Simba)
Shadow (Scar, Minotaur, Voldermort)
Outcast (Cain, Ancient Mariner)
Devil figure (Lucifer, Anakin/Darth Vader)
Earth mother (Mother Nature)
Temptress (Eve, Sirens, Delilah)
Platonic ideal (Dante's Beatrice)
Unfaithful wife (Anna Karenina, Madame Bovary)
Wise old man (Merlin, Rafiki, Yoda, Dumbledore)
Archetypes are recurring character types (and relationships), and/or patterns of symbols or situations found in mythology, religion and stories of all cultures.
Quest (Holy Grail, Ahab)
Initiation (Huck Finn, Stand by Me )
Fall ( Paradise Lost , Darth Vader)
Death and Rebirth (Christ, Hercules)
Light – darkness
Water – desert
Heaven – Hell
World of common day
Call to adventure
Refusal of the call
Crossing the first threshold
Belly of the whale
Descent, initiation, penetration
Road of trials
Meeting with the goddess
Stages of the hero’s journey:
Woman as temptress
Atonement with the father
The ultimate boon
The refusal of the return
The magic flight
Rescue from within
Closing the threshold
Master of the two worlds
Freedom to live
Chris Vogler and the hero’s journey in Hollywood
Chris Vogler, story analyst for various Hollywood film companies, was inspired by Campbell when he wrote his book, The Writer's Journey.
Vogler developed and simplified Campbell’s stages of the hero’s journey. Emphasises importance of mythic structure and mythic archetypes when constructing screenplays and analysing ‘classic’ examples of film.
Vogler argues that great films are such because they ‘have an appeal that can be felt by everyone, because they well up from a universal source in the shared unconscious and reflect universal concerns’.
Vogler’s re-definition of character archetypes and the 12 'stages' of the hero's journey has become very influential in Hollywood.