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Alyssa Reid

ENG 101
Mary Petty
15 October 2014
Campbells Monomyth of the Hero in Hercules
The Heros Journey is a set of events in which every story line follows. It is a pattern of
predictable outcomes the main character endures along their way to achieving the goal they have
set out to reach. Each phase is focused on the leading individual also known as the protagonist,
or the hero of the story. It is said that the protagonist, or Hero, is a mythological of legendary
figure endowed with great strength, courage, or ability favored by the gods, and often believed to
be of divine, or partly divine decent (Schwartz 82.) Joseph Campbell is the developer of the
theory of The Heros Journey. There are seventeen steps to his monomyth of the hero. These
segments include three different phases. The first is Separation of the hero, in which the hero
persists along five steps of the monomyth. These five steps guide the hero down the path of his
journey. Moreover, the hero must leave their comfortable life and venture on to new land
reaching their point of no return. The second is the initiation of the hero where the hero
encounters various obstacles to help prepare them for their great mission. The hero is able to
conquer these difficulties with the aid of their mentor who is introduced in the first phase.
Eventually, the hero accomplishes their task and succeeds down the road of triumph. The third is
the return of the hero. In this final phase, the hero returns home with the power of enlightenment
and courageous victory. A great example that clearly demonstrates all the steps to Joseph
Campbells monomyth of the hero is the story of Disneys Hercules. Hercules in Disneys
Hercules follows Joseph Campbells monomyth of the hero by separation from Herculess home

life with his foster parents, initiation/fulfillment in saving Mount Olympus and becoming a true
hero, and finally returning to the parents that raised him with a full sense of true righteousness.
In phase one, there are five steps to the journey. Step one is the Call to Adventure where
the hero is requested to step up and embark on a road of adventure. If they shall exceed, it will
lead them to a path of enlightenment. In this stage Hercules is confronted by his parents with the
truth of how they found him as an infant. They go on to inform him that he was wearing a
medallion marked with the symbol of the Gods. Hercules is then directed by the call to set out
to the temple of Zeus for answers. Then the second step, Refusal of the call, occurs. This is
simply the event in which the hero doubts their own abilities and fears the unknown world. The
example of this stage in Hercules is very brief. It is represented by the moment when Hercules is
addressed by his real father in the image of Zeuss statue brought to life. This essentially
frightens Hercules and urges him to run off. When he buckles down and chooses to stay, Zeus
explains to him that he is, in fact, his father, which makes him a God. In order for Hercules to
reunite with his family on Mount Olympus, he is told that he must first prove himself a true hero.
This leads into step three, The Supernatural Aid, which is basically the heros guidance along
their journey. Hercules is supported by two supernatural aids. He receives the help of his
companion Pegasus and his mentor Philoctetes, better known as Phil, the trainer for all of
Greeces greatest Heroes. The next step is crossing the first threshold. This step is the first event
of change for the hero. It can be either literal or metaphorical, in extent, the hero may actually
cross into the new world through some sort of passage, or they may endure a mental crossing
where they sense the change brought upon them. In Hercules, for instance, Phil, begins to train
Hercules to be a hero, mentally and physically preparing him for his chance to prove himself.
The final step of phase one is called the Belly of the whale. This is the step where the hero

reaches a point of no return, moreover, the hero reaches a situation that they cannot decide to
turn away from and deny the call. In Hercules, this stage is marked with the event when he
arrives at a town called Thebes, a place prone to disaster, and announces himself their new hero.
Phase two, the chapter of initiation, includes six steps of the Heros Journey. The first
step is the Road of trials. At this point, the hero is faced with many obstacles and difficulties that
test their abilities. For example, Hercules battles endless monsters and evil creatures led by
Hades, the God of the Underworld. Step two is the Meeting with the goddess. This is the stage
where the hero connects with another character, most often a woman. This character strikes
encouragement into the heart of the hero. Her purpose is to assure the hero of their confidence
and introduce them to the light of love. This love empowers the hero setting forth their
determination of heroic victory. In this step Hercules meets and is captivated by Megara.
Next is the step of the Woman as temptress. A character, usually a woman poses a threat to the
heros success, by distracting them from their purpose. A great example from Hercules is when
Meg, working for Hades, seduces Hercules to learn his weakness. The following step,
Atonement with the father is essentially a stage where the hero is faced with another difficult by
another character. The hero is discouraged by the wise words of a fatherly figured character. For
this step, Hercules thinks he has proven himself, but his father tells him to look deeper into his
heart. Finally the step of Apotheosis is reached. Moreover, this is the phase in which the hero
encounters their major mission and always accomplishes the goal they had set out to reach. In the
movie example, Hercules saves Mount Olympus from attack of the titans and his father is once
again King of the Gods. In sequence to this step, the hero obtains the final stage of the Ultimate
Boon, or the treasure they receive for achieving their goal and their reason for embarking on the

adventure. After Hercules risks his life to save Meg, proving himself a true hero, he is reunited
with his family on Mount Olympus.
Phase three is the chapter of the return of the hero. The first step to this chapter is the
heros Refusal of the return. This step is the Heros hesitation to return to their original world.
Hercules is happy to be reunited with his godly family, and does not even think about going back
to his old life. Eventually, though, the hero must leave the new world and return. This step is
called the Magic flight, simply because the hero, as if by magic, is taken back to their home life.
Hercules and Meg float back to earth on a cloud, and then later are taken to Herculess home by
Pegasus. Next, is the step called rescue from without. This is a very important step, in which, the
hero is humbled and establishes a sense of enlightenment in themselves. Hercules learns what it
means to be a true hero. Zeus, Herculess father finally explains that, a true hero is not
measured by the size of his strength, but by the strength of his heart (Hercules). On the Heros
trip back to their original world, just as before, the hero must pass through the stage of, Crossing
the Return Threshold. Hercules travels back home with Megara by riding Pegasus. Finally, the
hero develops a, Master of 2 worlds, the fifth stage of the last chapter to the Heros Journey.
Hercules becomes master on both Earth and Mount Olympus as his enlightenment helps him
overcome any narcissism and arrogance while educating him on both levels of himself.
Ultimately, once the Hero accomplishes all those previous steps, the final stage, Freedom to live,
is basically the heros ability to enjoy their life in fulfillment. This step is often characterized by
the heros happy ending story. Hercules lives happily on earth with Meg, and his fosters parents.
In conclusion, Joseph Campbells Monomyth of the hero is a well-known pattern that
inhabits every heroic story and even in everyday world. The journey can be seen in many
different aspects of life, like in Hercules for example. As mentioned before, Hercules is the

perfect model of Campbells monomyth of the hero, as his story follows all three phases of the
myth. The separation, initiation, and return of Hercules as a hero follows the pattern and
Hercules develops his destiny as a hero. Though not every step will be present in every story, the
heros journey is an accurate outline of how a story will play out following the protagonist on
their adventure.