There be dragons!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Hero, Moses, Achilles, Gawain and Red Riding Hood

They're all related. More later.

Path of the Hero (Thanks to Joseph Campbell and "The Hero with 1,000 Faces")

1. The "hero" (who at this point isn't; he's just a guy, a shlub, a trash collector, a farm boy from Tatooine) separates from society.

  • due to trauma
  • due to choice
  • due to experience
  • due to accident

2. He enters "the wilderness", the desert, the Wasteland
= that realm where there is nothing familiar, nothing to latch onto, the comfortable and the safe are disrupted and gone

3. There he experiences something that is terrifying and transformative which, if he survives it, gives him new insight.
= looking into the abyss, the meaninglessness of human life - puts him at the crossroads where he is posed with two paths he can go down, that of the monster or that of the hero.
Monster, Grendel, is consumed by darkness and tries to spread darkness and violence to others - sowing despair rather than hope and using other people for his own benefit
Hero, prophet, faces the darkness and transcends it to become something new

4. He returns as a changed being, the hero, to society bringing back some new insight, hope, joy, freedom.

Moses fits this model
Achilles fits this model
Gawain fits this model
Red Riding Hood fits this model


  1. i suppose he does. i just bought arkham asylum and now need a new computer to play the dang thing.

  2. Is Jack the Giant Killer also one of these stories? Similar to Gawain? Green Knight = beanstalk. White Castle of Bertilak = Giant's home in the clouds. Three temptations of the lady = three treasures (harp, money, goose). The going out & coming home.

  3. From Wikipedophile:
    Benjamin Tabart's moralized version of 1807[1] is the first appearance in print, but "Felix Summerly" (Henry Cole) popularized it in The Home Treasury (1842),[2] and Joseph Jacobs rewrote it in English Fairy Tales (1890).[3]

  4. So what exactly is "Fee fi fo fum"? Nonsense? An incantation? a leftover from Old English? a bastardized form of a phrase (like "Hocus Pocus" from "Hic est enim corpus meum")?

  5. After speaking with M. Simonson about Jack London's work I'd add also the stories of "White Fang" and "The Sea Wolf". The dog in the first story gets abducted from his cushy California home and is thrust into the rough Yukon environment. Hero leaves the normal and enters the wilderness. Similarly in Sea Wolf, Humphrey Van Weyden is thrown into the sea, picked up by Wolf Larson and goes on this voyage on the great primordial deep.