The Redemption of a Trickster

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The Redemption of a Trickster A hero, in its simplest form, is an individual who displays valor in the face of adversity, and sacrifices his or her own personal interests to promote the greater good of others. Although Monkey exhibits the former very often throughout “The Monkey’s Story”, he is severely lacking in the latter. He constantly emphasizes his self-importance and his undeniable superiority over both his lowly monkey subjects and the divine beings of Heaven, including the Jade Emperor. If the first definition provided for “hero” is the only one to be considered, Monkey most definitely does embody the archetype of the hero, but with the second included, he no longer does so. Another important idea to establish is that Monkey,…show more content…
Odysseus, who is well established as an archetypal hero of classical Western literature, never exhibits such behavior, placing himself at a level equal to that of his fellow men, and although having accomplished so many great deeds on and off the battlefield, never stepping past the bounds of humility. Throughout his adventures, Monkey is never satisfied with his current state and is exceedingly greedy in obtaining more power, more strength, and more riches. For example, when he visits the dragon king to seek an appropriate weapon, he rejects one after another, citing their excessive lightness, and will not settle for anything less than the heaviest and greatest sword in the treasure room. But having obtained the weapon, he then proceeds to blackmail the king’s three brothers by flaunting his incredible power and threatening to destroy them if they do not comply with his requests (which are to provide him with chain-link mail, a phoenix-feather hat, and magical flying shoes). Finally, another example of his arrogance is when the Jade Emperor places him in charge of the heavenly stables, and Monkey, after discovering that he is occupying the lowest position in Heaven, becomes furious and leaves. Afterwards, when he is employed once again as the manager of Heaven’s gardens, instead of fulfilling his duties responsibly and appropriately, he steals and eats fruit from the Tree of Longevity,
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