17 Mar 2022


The Hero With A Thousand Faces

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As Campbell finds out, cultural and societal differences yield varying definitions of heroism. However, diverse societies such as America and India depict a range of similarities into the nature of this myth. The adventure of a hero is derived from a structured series of events that leads the chosen individual from normalcy state to an isolated position from fellow citizens. The essay seeks to develop the best definition of heroism with justified reasons.

Heroism could be defined as that egocentric nature where the self-centered individual has no point of return and is willing to face and determined to overcome whatever form of obstacles along the way. Not even fear can hinder the hero from moving towards the desired destination and no situation can possibly influence them to change their mind (Campbell, 2008). Heroism is a journey walked through departure, initiation and return. In the subcategory of the call of adventure, it is signified that “destiny has summoned the hero and transferred his spiritual center of gravity from within the pale of his to a zone of unknown” (Campbell, 2008). The hero lives in a mystery that not even the society can understand or interpret. However, the hero has the option of refusing the adventure or contemplating to withdraw it. Just like it happens in our day to day lives, individuals also encounter dull cases of the call unanswered and may decide their ears to other interests. In this case, a hero does not have to conform to a particular myth or tale.

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While conditions and individuals do not influence the hero in doing things, they encounter supernatural aids. The hero may come across helpers along their journey and receive both information and items that facilitate successful completion of the adventure. “Not infrequently, the helper who is supernatural in masculine in form.” Some supernatural helpers could also be a Smith or shepherds who on top of supplying the hero with amulets, advises him on the necessary requirements. “What such a figure represents is the n=benign, protecting the power of destiny” (Campbell, 2008). The hero is aware that the regions of the unknown which include deserts, alien land, deep sea and jungle could present dangers and risks his focus overcomes any potential fears. The hero has personifications of destiny that tend to guide him and moves forward in the adventure until he reaches the zone of magnified power. 

Adventure is at all times and in all places beyond the borders of the known to those of the unknown. A hero in his nature is determined to do extraordinary things that ordinary people are not familiar with or have ever comprehended. The hero never considers passing outward and extending to the confines of the physical world (McAdams, 2011). Instead, a hero goes inwards to be born again. The theory of the passage of a magical threshold into the sphere of rebirth has continuously been symbolized in the world’s womb image of the whale. After entering the adventure, the hero encounters transformative powers that could also be in terrifying forms at times. Heroism is about focus and determination and giving no changes to the external forces that may hinder getting to the final destiny.

Heroism is not a smooth journey free of hardships. In the road of trials, the hero faces a variety of tests of intelligence, resourcefulness, courage and resilience. The hero having gone over the threshold moves into a dream landscape of unclear forms and curiosity fluids. This is whereby he has to survive a series of trials. “Dragons have now to be slain, and surprising barriers passed—again, again, and again”. Having overcome this, the hero will eventually experience a “multitude of preliminary victories, retainable ecstasies, and momentary glimpses of the wonderful land (McAdams, 2011). A hero in his journey encounters episodes that strengthen and enlighten him further (McAdams, 2011). He gets to discover that the mastery of the world can equally be a trap that risks preventing him from achieving the desired full transformation. He faces his deepest fears and has to embrace annihilation of his body and ego to achieve an ultimate transformation McAdams, 2011).

Heroism has been depicted by the various situations as a journey focused on a full transformation. The hero, therefore, has to overcome all odds and take caution of scenarios that may hinder them from getting to their destiny. Heroism is not about avoiding temptations and avoiding them but facing and handling them courageously to live a mark and to achieve the maximum experience of success. Groups have different tales and theories of heroism that the outstanding characters are mutual.


Campbell, J. (2008). Joseph Campbell Foundation. The Hero With a Thousand Faces .

McAdams, D. P. (2001). The psychology of life stories. Review of general psychology , 5(2), 100.

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