Paulo Coelho and his Religious Diversity
The Alchemist contains many religious elements and symbolism that stem directly from Paulo Coelho’s personal life. By incorporating a diverse collection of personal experiences to bring the world of The Alchemist alive, Paulo Coelho drew readers of all kinds to his novel. Even during his time at the Jesuit school, Paulo Coelho was developing thoughts and ideas of his own about faith and religion, ideas which are clearly reflected in The Alchemist. The variety of religious beliefs Paulo Coelho gained throughout his life significantly influenced The Alchemist.
Paulo Coelho, born in Brazil, was brought up in a strict Catholic family. At a young age, he was sent to a Jesuit school, where he was held under strict rules and requirements, such as being forced to go to mass, with the threat of going to Hell always held over him. ‘The chains of rigor were so heavy throughout my youth that very quickly I started to doubt this religion that showed no mercy, only constraint and suffering.” (My Religious Education). After returning home from the school, he was placed in a mental institution for over three years due to his personality and rebellion against his family. After he was released from the institution, he started a life style as a “hippie,” getting into drugs and writing rebellious lyrics for various singers (The Telegraph). After being arrested and tortured by government of Brazil, he completely gave up Catholicism and started exploring