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The Hero Monomyths of Herkales and Odysseus via Joseph Campbell’s Hero Archetype

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The monumental piece of non-fiction work titled “The Hero with a Thousand Faces,” first published in 1949 by Joseph Campbell points out an apparent monomyth of the hero through superb use of example and literary analysis. In this book Campbell presents three main phases of the archetypal hero; The Departure, The Initiation, and The Return. Within these three main phases there exist numerous sub-phases that describe nearly all aspects of the hero’s journey and its’ impact upon the entire monomyth. I have chosen to analyze the amazing journeys of the heroes Herakles, and Odysseus. Herakles (whose name can be translated as ‘Glory of Hera’) was a first generation descendent of the great god Zeus; a result of the offspring produced by a…show more content…
It is interesting to note that Herakles receives little to no supernatural aide in this story, contrary to the monomyth perhaps identifying as one of the great gods of the time. The journey’s road of trials is very evident in this myth as Herakles must perform ten (actually twelve due to stipulations by the king) labors in order to achieve forgiveness and ultimately become immortal. Most heroes also experience a metaphysical death in which they have to cross into the realm of the underworld and return with knowledge or an item. Herakles does this for his twelfth and final labor, by traveling to the underworld in order to capture the guardian of the underworld, Cerberus, and return him once the king saw that he had completed the task. The final act that Herakles does that fits into the monomyth archetype of the hero is his act of becoming immortal. Upon his death funeral pyre, when the flame is lit he is risen up to Olympus and is granted the gift of immortality. This is significant for several reasons; firstly it shows that Hera in fact did embrace him at the end of his journey by allowing him to have immortality. Also his immortality
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