Commit Clip 1 (Alice in Wonderland)
Calling Clip 1 (need Link)
Road Clip 1 (Iron Man)
NADIR Clip 2 (need Link)
Return Clip 1 (Lord of the Rings)
Climax Clip 1 (Sleeping Beauty)
Status Quo Clip 1 (Lego Movie)
Wasteland Clip 1 (Beauty and the Beast)
Act 1 - Set Up
Departure – Act 1 – Setting up the Story
“Act I is a unit of dramatic action that is approximately twenty or thirty pages long; it begins at the beginning of the screenplay and goes to the Plot Point at the end of Act I. It is held together with the dramatic context known as the setup. If you recall, context is the empty space that holds the content in place. This unit of dramatic action sets up your story; it sets up the situation and the relationships between the characters, and establishes the necessary information so the reader knows what's happening and the story can unfold clearly…The main character is introduced so we know who the story is about” (Field 137).
“Act I is a unit of dramatic (or comedic) action that goes from the beginning of the screenplay to the Plot Point at the end of Act I. There is a beginning and an end point. Therefore, it is a whole, complete unto itself, even though Act I is a part of the whole (the screenplay). As a complete unit of action, there is a beginning of the beginning, a middle of the beginning, and an end of the beginning. It is a self-contained unit, approximately twenty to twenty-five pages long, depending on the screenplay. The end is Plot Point I: the incident, episode, or event that hooks into the action and spins it around in another direction, in this case, Act II. The dramatic context, which holds the content in place, is the Set-Up. In this unit of dramatic action you set up your story-introduce the main character, establish the dramatic premise (what the story is about), and sketch in the dramatic situation, either visually or dramatically” (Field 200-201).
“In this unit of dramatic action, Act I, the screenwriter sets up the story, establishes character, launches the dramatic premise (what the story is about), illustrates the situation (the circumstances surrounding the action), and creates the relationships between the main character and the other characters who inhabit the landscape of his or her world. As a writer you've only got about ten minutes to establish this, because the audience members can usually determine, either consciously or unconsciously, whether they do or don't like the movie by that time. If they don't know what's going on and the opening is vague or boring, their concentration and focus will falter and start wandering” (Field 23).
“The first act, the opening movement, typically consumes about 25 percent of the telling, the Act One Climax occurring between twenty and thirty minutes into a I20-minute film. The last act wants to be the shortest of all. In the ideal last act, we want to give the audience a sense of acceleration, a swiftly rising action to Climax. If the writer tries to stretch out the last act, the pace of acceleration is almost certain to slow in mid-movement. So last acts are generally brief, twenty minutes or less” (McKee 219).
“Action, reaction-two different sides of the same coin. A good screenplay is set up from page one, word one. Act I is a unit of action in which the major elements of the story need to be carefully integrated and established; the incidents and events in this unit of action must lead directly to the Plot Point at the end of Act I, which is the true beginning of your story” (207-208 Field). “This entire unit of dramatic action serves to establish three things: who the main character is, what the story is about, and what the dramatic situation is, the circumstances surrounding the action” (Field 110).
“In Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, and Peter Jackson, based on the book by J. R. R. Tolkien), we learn in the first six pages of the screenplay the history of the ring and its magnetic attraction. It's a beautiful opening that sets up all three stories. It also sets up the story as Gandalf arrives in the Shire. We meet Frodo (Elijah Wood), Bilbo Baggins (Ian Holm), Sam (Sean Astin), and the others, see how they live, and are introduced to the ring. We also get an overview of Middle Earth. This opening sets up the rest of the Fellowship, including the two sequels, The Two Towers and Return of the King” (Field 24).
“Orson Welles's Citizen Kane has been universally acclaimed as the greatest film ever made. From the very first frame, the full portrait of Kane's character is set up visually; the film opens shrouded in fog and the first thing we see is a high wired chain-link fence bolstered with the initial K. Deep in the background, a huge, isolated mansion stands high on the hill. Moving closer, we see boxes and crates of antiques, artworks, and ancient artifacts stacked everywhere. Huge pens house exotic animals, and then we're inside the enormous castle, so full, yet so empty of life. Then we cut to an extreme close-up of the man known as Citizen Kane as he whispers his last word: "Rosebud." A glass paperweight falls from his fingers and breaks open, and we see snow, the first glimpse of a lost childhood” (Field 30). “Kane's entire life is visually set up in less than a minute-through pictures, not Words” (Field 32).
“First, establish your main character. Who is your story about? Separate the components of his/her life into two basic categories: interior and exterior. The interior life of your character takes place from birth up until the time your story begins. It is a process that forms character. The exterior life of your character takes place from the moment your film begins to the conclusion of the story. It is a process that reveals character. Film is a visual medium. You must find ways to reveal your character's conflicts visually. You cannot reveal what you don't know. Thus, it's important to make the distinction between knowing your character as a thought, notion, or idea in your head and revealing him or her on paper” (Field 47).
“Peckinpah structured and set up the story in the opening sequence, how he established the characters visually, then built the story to highlight the centerpiece-the ambush by the Apaches” (62 Field). “The reader must know what's going on immediately, from the very first words on the page. Setting up your story by explaining things through dialogue slows down the action and impedes the story progression. A screenplay is a story told with pictures, remember, so it's important to set up your story visually. The reader must know who the main character is, what the dramatic premise is, what the story is about, and the dramatic situation-the circumstances surrounding the action” (Field 107).
Dramatic Question – Dramatic Premise - Setting up the Problem
“In…Act I, the screenwriter sets up the story, establishes character, launches the dramatic premise (what the story is about), illustrates the situation (the circumstances surrounding the action), and creates the relationships between the main character and the other characters who inhabit the landscape of his or her world. As a writer you've only got about ten minutes to establish this, because the audience members can usually determine, either consciously or unconsciously, whether they do or don't like the movie by that time. If they don't know what's going on and the opening is vague or boring, their concentration and focus will falter and start wandering” (Field 23).
An “important function of the Ordinary World is to suggest the dramatic question of the story. Every good story poses a series of questions about the hero. Will she achieve the goal, overcome her flaw, learn the lesson she needs to learn? Some questions relate primarily to the action or plot. Will Dorothy get home from Oz? Will E.T. get home to his planet? Will the hero get the gold, win the game, beat the villains?” (Vogler 88). “It is the question that propels the story to its final resolution, and it is all set up from the very beginning, in the first ten pages, and moves forward in a linear direction to the end” (125 Field). “The action questions may propel the plot, but the dramatic questions hook the audience and involve them with the emotions of the characters” (Vogler 88).
Within the “first ten-page[s we create a] unit of action is the dramatic premise. What is this story about?” (137 Field). “The reader must know what's going on immediately, from the very first words on the page. Setting up your story by explaining things through dialogue slows down the action and impedes the story progression. A screenplay is a story told with pictures, remember, so it's important to set up your story visually. The reader must know who the main character is, what the dramatic premise is, what the story is about, and the dramatic situation-the circumstances surrounding the action” (107 Field).
“Many people wonder about the distinctions between the dramatic premise-what the story is about (as mentioned in Chapter 2)-and the key incident we're talking about. Are they the same? Both deal with the foundation of the story line, but the dramatic premise could be said to be a conceptual description of what the story is about, while the key incident would be that specific scene or sequence that is the dramatic visualization of what the story is about” (136 Field).
“You've got approximately ten pages (about ten minutes) to establish three things to your reader or audience: (1) who is your main character? (2) what is the dramatic premise--that is, what's your story about? and (3) what is the dramatic situation-'-the circumstances surrounding your story? So--what's the best way to open your screenplay?
As a writer you've only got about ten minutes to establish character, launch the dramatic premise (what the story is about), illustrate the situation (the circumstances surrounding the action), and creates the relationships between the main character and the other characters who inhabit the landscape of his or her world T
The Dramatic Question or premise relates to what the protagonist must accomplish to succeed in the story. T
Act 1 sets up a story T
According to Field, the main character should be introduced within the first ten pages T
Act 1 is a whole complete unto itself T
The is not a beginning middle and end of Act 1 F
According to Field, three things should be established in the first ten minutes: who the main character is, what the story is about, and what the dramatic situation is, the circumstances surrounding the action T
Most of the set up should be done with words, not visually F
“As a story begins, the protagonist is living a life that's more or less in balance [or stasis]. He has successes and failures, ups and downs. Who doesn't? But life is in relative control. Then, perhaps suddenly but in any case decisively, an event occurs that radically upsets its balance, swinging the value-charge of the protagonist's reality either to the negative or to the positive” (McKee 190). This is called “The INCITING INCIDENT, [which] radically upsets the balance of forces in the protagonist's life” (McKee 189).
“The impact of the Inciting Incident creates our opportunity to reach the limits of life. It's a kind of explosion. In Action genres it may be in fact an explosion; in other films, as muted as a smile. No matter how subtle or direct, it must upset the status quo of the protagonist and jolt his life from its existing pattern, so that chaos invades the character's universe. Out of this upheaval, you must find, at Climax, a resolution, for better or worse, that rearranges this universe into a new order” (McKee 207). “Each thread has its own inciting incident, and you’d like to weave these together artfully. A story is a design in five parts: The Inciting Incident, the first major event of the telling, is the primary cause for all that follows, putting into motion the other four elements-Progressive Complications, Crisis, Climax, Resolution” (McKee181).
“Various theories of screen writing acknowledge the Call to Adventure by other names such as the inciting or initiating incident, the catalyst, or the trigger. All agree that some event is necessary to get a story rolling, once the work of introducing the main character is done” (Vogler 100). “I could cite example after example of the inciting incident, but what I feel is most important is the understanding that this incident serves two important and necessary functions in the craft of storytelling: (1), it sets the story in motion; and (2), it grabs the attention of the reader and audience. Seeing the relationship between this first incident and the story line is essential to an understanding of good screenwriting” (131 Field).
“Joseph Campbell reflects in The Power of Myth that in mythic terms, the first part of any journey of initiation must deal with the death of the old self and the resurrection of the new. Campbell says that the hero, or heroic figure, "moves not into outer space but into inward space, to the place from which all being comes, into the consciousness that is the source of all things, the kingdom of heaven within. The images are outward, but their reflection is inward" (Field 46). “If we go back to Henry James's statement-‘What is character but the determination of incident? And what is incident but the illumination of character?’ -we see that the force of…incident affects both the internal and external aspects of your character and story” (Field 137).
“The Inciting Incident of the Central Plot must happen onscreen-not in the Backstory, not between scenes off screen. Each subplot has its own Inciting Incident, which mayor may not be onscreen, but the presence of the audience at the Central Plot's Inciting Incident is crucial to story design for two reasons” (McKee 198). “If the Central Plot's Inciting Incident arrives much later than fifteen minutes into the film, boredom becomes a risk. Therefore, while the audience waits for the main plot, a subplot may be needed to engage their interest” (McKee 201). “The only reason to delay the entrance of the Central Plot is the audience's need to know the protagonist at length so it can fully react to the Inciting Incident” (McKee 223). “Bring in the Central Plot's Inciting Incident as soon as possible . . . but not until the moment is ripe” (McKee 202).
“Every story world and cast are different, therefore, every Inciting Incident is a different event located at a different point. If it arrives too soon, the audience may be confused. If it arrives too late, the audience may be bored. The instant the audience has a sufficient understanding of character and world to react fully, execute your Inciting Incident. Not a scene earlier, or a scene later. The exact moment is found as much by feeling as by analysis. If we writers have a common fault in design and placement of the Inciting Incident, it's that we habitually delay the Central Plot while we pack our opening sequences with exposition. We consistently underestimate knowledge and life experience of the audience, laying out our characters and world with tedious details the filmgoer has already filled in with common sense. Ingmar Bergman is one of the cinema's best directors because he is, in my opinion, the cinema's finest screenwriter. And the one quality that stands above all the others in Bergman's writing is his extreme economy-how little he tells us about anything” (203 McKee).
“In Hollywood jargon, the Central Plot's Inciting Incident is the "big hook." It must occur onscreen because this is the event that incites and captures the audience's curiosity. Hunger for the answer to the Major Dramatic Question grips the audience's interest, holding it to the last act's climax” (McKee 198).“An Inciting Incident must "hook" the audience, a deep and complete response. Their response must not only be emotional, but rational. This event must not only pull at audience's feelings, but cause them to ask the Major Dramatic Question and imagine the Obligatory Scene. Therefore, the location of the Central Plot's Inciting Incident is found in the answer to this question: How much does the audience need to know about the protagonist and his world to have a full response? In some stories, nothing. If an Inciting Incident is archetypal in nature, it requires no setup and must occur immediately. The first sentence of Kafka's Metamorphosis reads: "One day Gregor Samsa awoke to discover he had been changed into a large cockroach’’ (McKee 202).
“The Inciting Incident is the story's most profound cause, and, therefore, the final effect, the Story Climax, should seem inevitable. The cement that binds them is the Spine, the protagonist's deep desire to restore the balance of life” (McKee 288).“Witnessing the Inciting Incident projects an image of the Obligatory Scene into the audience's imagination. The Obligatory Scene (AKA Crisis) is an event the audience knows it must see before the story can end. This scene will bring the protagonist into a confrontation with the most powerful forces of antagonism in his quest, forces stirred to life by the Inciting Incident that will gather focus and strength through the course of the story. The scene is called "obligatory" because having teased the audience into anticipating this moment, the writer is obligated to keep his promise and show it to them” (McKee 198-199).
“The audience knows intuitively when something is missing. A lifetime of story ritual has taught the audience to anticipate that the forces of antagonism provoked at the Inciting Incident will build to the limit of human experience, and that the telling cannot end until the protagonist is in some sense face to face with these forces at their most powerful. Linking a story's Inciting Incident to its Crisis is an aspect of Foreshadowing, the arrangement of early events to prepare for later events. In fact, every choice you make-genre, setting, character, mood-foreshadows. With each line of dialogue or image of action you guide the audience to anticipate certain possibilities, so that when events arrive, they somehow satisfy the expectations you've created. The primary component of foreshadowing, however, is the projection of the Obligatory Scene (Crisis) into the audience's imagination by the Inciting Incident” (McKee 200).
“The quality of the Inciting Incident (for that matter, any event) must be germane to the world, characters, and genre surrounding it. Once it is conceived, the writer must concentrate on its function. Does the Inciting Incident radically upset the balance of forces in the protagonist's life? Does it arouse in the protagonist the desire to restore balance? Does it inspire in him the conscious desire for that object, material or immaterial, he feels would restore the balance? In a complex protagonist, does it also bring to life an unconscious desire that contradicts his conscious need? Does it launch the protagonist on a quest for his desire? Does it raise the Major Dramatic Question in the mind of the audience? Does it project an image of the Obligatory Scene? If it does all this, then it can be as little as a woman putting her hand on the table, looking at you "that certain way’” (McKee 206).
“When an Inciting Incident occurs it must be a dynamic, fully developed event, not something static or vague” (McKee 189). “The Inciting Incident is a single event that either happens directly to the protagonist or is caused by the protagonist. Consequently, he's immediately aware that life is out of balance for better or worse. When lovers first meet, this face-to-face event turns life, for the moment, to the positive” (McKee 190). “The protagonist must react to the Inciting Incident” (McKee 191). “If we study a protagonist at the moment of the Inciting Incident and weigh the sum of his willpower along with his intellectual, emotional, social, and physical capacities against the total forces of antagonism from within his humanity, plus his personal conflicts, antagonistic institutions, and environment, we should see clearly that he's an underdog. He has a chance to achieve what he wants-but only a chance. Although conflict from one aspect of his life may seem solvable, the totality of all levels should seem overwhelming as he begins his quest” (McKee 318).
“DESIGN OF THE INCITING INCIDENT An Inciting Incident happens in only one of two ways: randomly or causally, either by coincidence or by decision” (McKee 198).
When the story begins the life of the protagonist is either in a balance or stasis T
The INCITING INCIDENT radically upsets the balance of forces in the protagonist's life T
No matter how subtle or direct, it must upset the status quo of the protagonist and jolt his life from its existing pattern, so that chaos invades the character's universe T
Only one main thread has an inciting incident F
The Inciting Incident, the first major event of the telling, is the primary cause for all that follows, putting into motion the other four elements-Progressive Complications, Crisis, Climax, Resolution T
The Call to Adventure is sometimes associated with the inciting incident T
The inciting incident sets the story in motion and grabs the attention of its audience T
Henry James won’t stop talking about how incident and character are unrelated F
The inciting incident calls a character to change T
If the inciting incident takes more than 15 minutes to occur, most audiences are happy to wait F
A reason to wait for the inciting incident is to make sure the audience has enough information about the character and or world to understand the change incited by the incident T
The Inciting Incident can serve as a Hook T
The inciting incident sets up an obligatory scene in which the change triggered by this incident will be enacted T
Linking a story's Inciting Incident to its Crisis is an aspect of Foreshadowing. The primary component of foreshadowing is the projection of the Obligatory Scene (Crisis) into the audience's imaginaton by the Inciting Incident T
“An Inciting Incident happens in only one of two ways: randomly or causally, either by coincidence or by decision” (McKee 198). “A string of accidents or coincidences may be the message that calls a hero to adventure. This is the mysterious force of synchronicity which C. G. Jung explored in his writings. The coincidental occurrence of words, ideas, or events can take on meaning and draw attention to the need for action and change. Many thrillers such as Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train get rolling because an accident throws two people together as if by the hand of fate” (Vogler 100).
“Synchronicities, Coincidences, and Shadow Disruptions of Ego And more important, all the life potentialities that we never managed to bring to adult realization, those other portions of yourself, are there; for such golden seeds do not die. If only a portion of that lost totality could be dredged up into the light of day, we should experience a marvelous expansion of our powers, a vivid renewal of life. We should tower in stature. Moreover, if we could dredge up something forgotten not only by ourselves but by our whole generation or our entire civilization, we should become indeed the boon-bringer, the culture hero of the day-a personage of not only local but world historical moment” (Campbell 12).
In The Celestine Prophecies, James Redfield expresses a resonant insight. He writes, “A new spiritual awakening is occurring in human culture, an awakening brought about by a critical mass of individuals who experience their lives as a spiritual unfolding, a journey in which we are led forward by mysterious coincidences.”
According to Jung’s theory of synchronicity, there is no meaning in coincidences, they are just random accidents of the universe F
According to Campbell and Vogler, the call to adventure can be triggered by synchronicities T
Call to Adventure
Campbell on Call to Adventure
“This first stage of the mythological journey-which we have designated the "call to adventure"- signifies that destiny has summoned the hero and transferred his spiritual center of gravity from within the pale of his society to a zone unknown. This fateful region of both treasure and danger may be variously represented: as a distant land, a forest, a kingdom underground, beneath the waves, or above the sky, a secret island, lofty mountaintop, or profound dream state; but it is always a place of strangely fluid and polymorphous beings, unimaginable torments, superhuman deeds, and impossible delight. The hero can go forth of his own volition to accomplish the adventure, as did Theseus when he arrived in his father's city, Athens, and heard the horrible history of the Minotaur; or he may be carried or sent abroad by some benign or malignant agent, as was Odysseus, driven about the Mediterranean by the winds of the angered god Poseidon. The adventure may begin as a mere blunder, as did that of the princess of the fairy tale; or still again, one may be only casually strolling, when some passing phenomenon catches the wandering eye and lures one away from the frequented paths of man. Examples might be multiplied, ad infinitum, from every corner of the world” (Campbell).
For example, “LONG, LONG AGO, when wishing still could lead to something, there lived a king whose daughters all were beautiful, but the youngest was so beautiful that the sun itself, who had seen so many things, simply marveled every time it shone on her face. Now close to the castle of this king was a great dark forest, and in the forest under an old lime tree a spring, and when the day was very hot, the king's child would go out into the wood and sit on the edge of the cool spring. And to pass the time she would take a golden ball, toss it up and catch it; and this was her favorite plaything.
Now it so happened one day that the golden ball of the princess did not fall into the little hand lifted into the air, but passed it, bounced on the ground, and rolled directly into the water. The princess followed it with her eyes, but the ball disappeared; and the spring was deep, so deep that the bottom could not be seen. Thereupon she began to cry, and her crying became louder and louder, and she was unable to find consolation. And while she was lamenting in this way, she heard someone call to her: "What is the matter, Princess? You are crying so hard, a stone would be forced to piry you." She looked around to see where the voice had come from, and there she beheld a frog, holding its fat, ugly head out of the water. "Oh, it's you, old Water Plopper," she said. "1 am crying over my golden ball, which has fallen into the spring." "Be calm; don't cry," answered the frog. "1 can surely be of assistance. But what will you give me if I fetch your toy for you?" "Whatever you would like to have, dear frog," she said; "my clothes, my pearls and jewels, even the golden crown that 1 wear." The frog replied, "Your clothes, your pearls and jewels, and your golden crown, 1 do not want; but if you will care for me and let me be your companion and playmate, let me sit beside you at your little table, eat from your little golden plate, drink from your little cup, sleep in your little bed: if you will promise me that, 1 will go straight down and fetch your golden ball." "All right," she said. "I promise you anything you want, if you will only bring me back the ball." But she thought: "How that simple frog chatters! There he sits in the water with his own kind, and could never be the companion of a human being.
“As soon as the frog had obtained her promise, he ducked his head and sank, and after a little while came swimming up again; he had the ball in his mouth, and tossed it on the grass. The princess was elated when she saw her pretty toy. She picked it up and scampered away. "Wait, wait," called the frog, "take me along; 1 can't run like you." But what good did it do, though he croaked after her as loudly as he could? She paid not the slightest heed, but hurried home, and soon had completely forgotten the poor frog who must have hopped back again into his spring.
“This is an example of one of the ways in which the adventure can begin. A blunder-apparently the merest chance-reveals an unsuspected world, and the individual is drawn into a relationship with forces that are not rightly understood. As Freud has shown,' blunders are not the merest chance. They are the result of suppressed desires and conflicts. They are ripples on the surface of life, produced by unsuspected springs. And these may be very deep-as deep as the soul itself. The blunder may amount to the opening of a destiny. Thus it happens, in this fairy tale, that the disappearance of the ball is the first sign of something coming for the princess, the frog is the second, and the unconsidered promise is the third. As a preliminary manifestation of the powers that are breaking into play, the frog, coming up as it were by miracle, can be termed the "herald"; the crisis of his appearance is the "call to adventure." The herald's summons may be to live, as in the present instance, or, at a later moment of the biography, to die. It may sound the call to some high historical undertaking. Or it may mark the dawn of religious illumination. As apprehended by the mystic, it marks what has been termed "the awakening of the self.") In the case of the princess of the fairy tale, it signified no more than the coming of adolescence. But whether small or great, and no matter what the stage or grade of life, the call rings up the curtain, always, on a mystery of transfiguration-a rite, or moment, of spiritual passage, which, when complete, amounts to a dying and a birth.
“The familiar life horizon has been outgrown; the old concepts, ideals, and emotional patterns no longer fit; the time for the passing of a threshold is at hand. Typical of the circumstances of the call are the dark forest, the great tree, the babbling spring, and the loathly, underestimated appearance of the carrier of the power of destiny. We recognize in the scene the symbols of the World Navel. The frog, the little dragon, is the nursery counterpart of the underworld serpent whose head supports the earth and who represents the life-progenitive, demiurgic powers of the abyss. He comes up with the golden sun ball, his dark deep waters having just taken it down: at this moment resembling the great Chinese Dragon of
the East, delivering the rising sun in his jaws, or the frog on whose head rides the handsome young immortal, Han Hsiang, carrying in a basket the peaches of immortality. Freud has suggested that all moments of anxiety reproduce the painful feelings of the first separation from the mother-the tightening of the breath, congestion of the blood, etc., of the crisis of birth.
“Conversely, all moments of separation and new birth produce anxiety. Whether it be the king's child about to be taken from the felicity of her established dual-unity with King Daddy, or God's daughter Eve, now ripe to depart from the idyl of the Garden, or again, the supremely concentrated Future Buddha breaking past the last horizons of the created world, the same archetypal images are activated, symbolizing danger, reassurance, trial, passage, and the strange holiness of the mysteries of birth. The disgusting and rejected frog or dragon of the fairy tale brings up the sun ball in its mouth; for the frog, the serpent, the rejected one, is the representative of that unconscious deep ("so deep that the bottom cannot be seen") wherein are hoarded all of the rejected, unadmirred, unrecognized, unknown, or undeveloped factors, laws, and elements of existence. Those are the pearls of the fabled submarine palaces of the nixies, tritons, and water guardians; the jewels that give light to the demon cities of the underworld; the fire seeds in the ocean of immortality which supports the earth and surrounds it like a snake; the stars in the bosom of immortal night. Those are the nuggets in the gold hoard of the dragon; the guarded apples of the Hesperides; the filaments of the Golden Fleece. The herald or announcer of the adventure, therefore, is often dark, loathly, or terrifying, judged evil by the world; yet if one could follow, the way would be opened through the walls of day into the dark where the jewels glow. Or the herald is a beast (as in the fairy tale), representative of the repressed instinctual fecundity within ourselves, or again a veiled mysterious figure-the unknown.
“The story is told, for example, of King Arthur; and how he made him ready with many knights to ride ahunting. As soon as he was in the forest, the King saw a great hart afore him. This hart will I chase, said King Arthur, and so he spurred the horse, and tode after long, and so by fine force he was like to have smitten the hart; whereas the King had chased the hart [deer] so long, that his horse lost his breath, and fell down dead; then a yeoman fetched the King another horse. So the King saw the hart ambushed, and his horse dead; he set him down by a fountain, and there he fell in great thoughts. And as he sat so, him thought he heard a noise of hounds, to the sum of thirty. And with that the King saw coming toward him the strangest beast that ever he saw or heard of; so the beast went to the well and drank, and the noise was in the beast's belly like unto the quesryng of thirry couple hounds; but all the while the beast drank there was no noise in the beast's belly: and therewith the beast departed with a great noise, whereof the King had great marvel.
“Or we have the case-from a very different portion of the world of an Arapaho girl of the North American plains. She spied a porcupine near a cottonwood tree. She tried to hit the animal, but it ran behind the tree and began to climb. The girl started after, to catch it, but it continued just out of reach. "Well!" she said, "I am climbing to catch the porcupine, for I want those quills, and if necessary I will go to the top." The porcupine reached the top of the tree, but as she approached and was about to lay hands on it, the cottonwood tree suddenly lengthened, and the porcupine resumed his climb. Looking down, she saw her friends craning up at her and beckoning her to descend; but having passed under the influence of the porcupine, and fearful for the great distance between herself and the ground, she continued to mount the tree, until she became the merest speck to those looking from below, and with the porcupine she finally reached the Sky.6 Two dreams will suffice to illustrate the spontaneous appearance of the figure of the herald in the psyche that is ripe for transformation. The first is the dream of a young man seeking the way to a new world-orientation: "I am in a green land where many sheep are at pasture. It is the 'land of sheep.' In the land of sheep stands an unknown woman and points the way."7
“The second is the dream of a young girl whose girl companion has lately died of consumption; she is afraid that she may have the disease herself. "I was in a blossoming garden; the sun was just going down with a blood-red glow. Then there appeared before me a black, noble knight, who spoke to me with a very serious, deep and frightening voice: 'Wilt thou go with me?' Without attending my answer, he took me by the hand, and carried me away."8
Whether dream or myth, in these adventures there is an atmosphere of irresistible fascination about the figure that appears suddenly as guide, marking a new period, a new stage, in the biography. That which has to be faced, and is somehow profoundly familiar to the unconscious-though unknown, surprising, and even frightening to the conscious personality-makes itself known; and what formerly was meaningful may become strangely emptied of value: like the world of the king's child, with the sudden disappearance into the well of the golden ball. Thereafter, even though the hero returns for a while to his familiar occupations, they may be found unfruitful. A series of signs of increasing force then will become visible, until, as in the following legend of "The Four Signs," which is the most celebrated example of the call to adventure in the literature of the world-the summons can no longer be denied.
“The young prince Gautama Sakyamuni, the Future Buddha, had been protected by his father from all knowledge of age, sickness, death, or monkhood, lest he should be moved to thoughts of life renunciation; for it had been prophesied at his birth that he was to become either a world emperor or a Buddha. The king-prejudiced in favor of the royal vocation-provided his son with three palaces and forty thousand dancing girls to keep his mind attached to the world. But these only served to advance the inevitable; for while still relatively young, the youth exhausted for himself the fields of fleshly joy and became ripe for the other experience. The moment he was ready, the proper heralds automatically appeared:
“Now on a certain day the Future Buddha wished to go to the park. And he told his charioteer to make ready the chariot. Accordingly the man brought out a sumptuous and elegant chariot, and, adorning it richly. he harnessed to it four state horses of the Sindhava breed. as white as the petals of the white lotus. and announced to the Future Buddha that everything was ready. And the Future Buddha mounted the chariot. which was like to a palace of the gods. And proceeded toward the park.
"The time for the enlightenment of the prince Siddhartha draweth nigh." thought the gods; "we must show him a sign": and they changed one of their number into a decrepit old man. broken-toothed. gray-haired. crooked and bent of body. Leaning on a staff. and trembling. and showed him to the Future Buddha. but so that only he and the charioteer saw him.
“Then said the Future Buddha to the charioteer. "Friend. pray. who is this man? Even his hair is not like that of other men." And when he heard the answer. he said. "Shame on birth. since to every one that is born old age must come." And agitated in heart. He thereupon returned and ascended his palace. "Why has my son returned so quickly?" asked the king. "Sire. he has seen an old man." was the reply; "and because he has seen an old man. he is about to retire from the world." "Do you want to kill me. that you say such things? Quickly get ready some plays to be performed before my son. If we can but get him to enjoying pleasure. he will cease to think of retiring from the world." Then the king extended the guard to half a league in each direction.
“Again on a certain day. as the Future Buddha was going to the park. he saw a diseased man whom the gods had fashioned; and having again made inquiry. he returned. agitated in heart. And ascended his palace. And the king made the same inquiry and gave the same order as before; and again extending the guard. placed them for three quarters of a league around.
“And again on a certain day. as the Future Buddha was going to the park. he saw a dead man whom the gods had fashioned; and having again made inquiry, he returned, agitated in heart, and ascended his palace. And the king made the same inquiry and gave the same orders as before; and again extending the guard placed them for a league around.
“And again on a certain day, as the Future Buddha was going to the park, he saw a monk, carefully and decently clad, whom the gods had fashioned; and he asked his charioteer, "Pray, who is this man?" "Sire, this is one who has retired from the world"; and the charioteer thereupon proceeded to sound the praises of retirement from the world. The thought of retiring from the world was a pleasing one to the Future Buddha.” (Campbell).
VOGLER on THE CALL TO ADVENTURE
“The hero is presented with a problem, challenge, or adventure to undertake. Once presented with a Call to Adventure, she can no longer remain indefinitely in the comfort of the Ordinary World.
“Perhaps the land is dying, as in the King Arthur stories of the search for the Grail, the only treasure that can heal the wounded land. In Star Wars, the Call to Adventure is Princess Leia's desperate holographic message to wise old Obi Wan Kenobi, who asks Luke to join in the quest.
“Leia has been snatched by evil Darth Vader, like the Greek springtime goddess Persephone, who was kidnapped to the underworld by Pluto, lord of the dead. Her rescue is vital to restoring the normal balance of the universe.
“In many detective stories, the Call to Adventure is the private eye being asked to take on a new case and solve a crime which has upset the order of things. A good detective should right wrongs as well as solve crimes.
“In revenge plots, the Call to Adventure is often a wrong which must be set right, an offense against the natural order of things. In The Count of Monte Cristo, Edmond Dantes is unjustly imprisoned and is driven to escape by his desire for revenge. The plot of Beverly Hills Cop is set in motion by the murder of the hero's best friend. In First Blood Rambo is motivated by his unfair treatment at the hands of an intolerant sheriff In romantic comedies, the Call to Adventure might be the first encounter with the special but annoying someone the hero or heroine will be pursuing and sparring with.
“The Call to Adventure establishes the stakes of the game, and makes clear the hero's goal: to win the treasure or the lover, to get revenge or right a wrong, to achieve a dream, confront a challenge, or change a life.
“What's at stake can often be expressed as a question posed by the call. Will E.T. or Dorothy in The Wz'zard oj Oz get home again? Will Luke rescue Princess Leia and defeat Darth Vader? In An Officer and a Gentleman, will the hero be driven out of Navy flight school by his own selfishness and the needling of a fierce Marine drill instructor, or will he earn the right to be called an officer and a gentleman? Boy meets girl, but does boy get girl?” (Vogler).
“The Ordinary World of most heroes is a static but unstable condition. The seeds of change and growth are planted, and it takes only a little new energy to germinate them. That new energy, symbolized in countless ways in myths and fairy tales, is what Joseph Campbell termed the Call to Adventure.
“GET THE STORY ROLLING Various theories of screen writing acknowledge the Call to Adventure by other names such as the inciting or initiating incident, the catalyst, or the trigger. All agree that some event is necessary to get a story rolling, once the work of introducing the main character is done.
“The Call to Adventure may come in the form of a message or a messenger. It may be a new event like a declaration of war, or the arrival of a telegram reporting that the outlaws have just been released from prison and will be in town on the noon train to gun down the sheriff.
Serving a writ or warrant and issuing a summons are ways of giving Calls in legal proceedings.
“The Call may simply be a stirring within the hero, a messenger from the unconscious, bearing news that it's time for change. These signals sometimes come in the form of dreams, fantasies, or visions. Roy Neary in Close Encounters 0/ the Third Kind gets his Call in the form of haunting images of Devil's Tower drifting up from his subconscious. Prophetic or disturbing dreams help us prepare for a new stage of growth by giving us metaphors that reflect the emotional and spiritual changes to come. The hero may just get fed up with things as they are. An uncomfortable situation builds up until that one last straw sends him on the adventure. Joe Buck in Midnight Cowboy has simply had enough of washing dishes in a diner and feels the Call building up inside him to hit the road of adventure. In a deeper sense, his universal human need is driving him, but it takes that one last miserable day in the diner to push him over the edge.
“TEMPTATION “The Call to Adventure may summon a hero with temptation, such as the allure of an exotic travel poster or the sight of a potential lover. It could be the glint of gold, the rumor of treasure, the siren song of ambition. In the Arthurian legend of Percival (aka Parsifal), the innocent young hero is summoned to adventure by the sight of five magnificent knights in armor, riding off on some quest. Percival has never seen such creatures, and is stirred to follow them. He is compelled to find out what they are, not realizing it is his destiny to soon become one of them” (Vogler 100).
“HERALDS OF CHANGE: “The Call to Adventure is often delivered by a character in a story who manifests the archetype of the Herald. A character performing the function of Herald may be positive, negative, or neutral, but will always serve to get the story rolling by presenting the hero with an invitation or challenge to face the unknown. In some stories the Herald is also a Mentor for the hero, a wise guide who has the hero's best interests at heart. In others the Herald is an enemy, flinging a gauntlet of challenge in the hero's face or tempting the hero into danger.”
“Initially heroes often have trouble distinguishing whether a Enemy or an Ally lies behind the Herald's mask. Many a hero has mistaken a well-meaning mentor's Call for that of an enemy, or misinterpreted the overtures of a villain as a friendly invitation to an enjoyable adventure.
“In the thriller and film noir genres, writers may deliberately obscure the reality of the Call. Shadowy figures may make ambiguous offers, and heroes must use every skill to interpret them correctly. Often heroes are unaware there is anything wrong with their Ordinary World and don't see any need for change. They may be in a state of denial. They have been just barely getting by, using an arsenal of crutches, addictions, and defense mechanisms. The job of the Herald is to kick away these supports, announcing that the world of the hero is unstable and must be put back into healthy balance by action, by taking risks, by undertaking the adventure.
“RECONNAISSANCE: The Russian fairy-tale scholar Vladimir Propp identified a common early phase in a story, called reconnaissance. A villain makes a survey of the hero's territory, perhaps asking around the neighborhood if there are any children living there, or seeking information about the hero. This information- gathering can be a Call to Adventure, alerting the audience and the hero that something is afoot and the struggle is about to begin” (Vogler 103).
“DISORIENTATION AND DISCOMFORT: The Call to Adventure can often be unsettling and disorienting to the hero. Heralds sometimes sneak up on heroes, appearing in one guise to gain a hero's confidence and then shifting shape to deliver the Call. Alfred Hitchcock provides a potent example in Notorious. Here the hero is playgirl Ingrid Bergman, whose father has been sentenced as a Nazi spy.
“The Call to Adventure comes from a Herald in the form of Cary Grant, who plays an American agent trying to enlist her aid in infiltrating a Nazi spy ring. First he charms his way into her life by pretending to be a playboy interested only in booze, fast cars, and her. But after she accidentally discovers he's a "copper:' he shifts to the mask of Herald to deliver a deeply
challenging Call to Adventure.
“Bergman wakes up in bed, hung over from their night of partying. Grant, standing in the doorway, orders her to drink a bubbly bromide to settle her stomach. It doesn't taste good but he makes her drink it anyway. It symbolizes the new energy of the adventure, which tastes like poison compared to the addictions she's been used to, but which ultimately will be good medicine for her.
“In this scene Grant leans in a doorway, silhouetted like some dark angel. From Bergman's point of view, this Herald could be an angel or a devil. The devilish possibility is suggested by his name, revealed for the first time as "Devlin." As he advances into the room to deliver the Call to Adventure, Hitchcock follows him in a dizzying point-of-view shot that reflects the hung-over state of the hero, Bergman, as she lies in bed. Grant seems to walk on the ceiling. In the symbolic language of film the shot expresses his change of position from playboy to Herald, and its disorienting effect on the hero. Grant gives the Call, a patriotic invitation to infiltrate a Nazi spy ring. As it is delivered, Grant is seen right side up and in full light for the first time, representing the Call's sobering effect on Bergman's character.
“As they talk, a crown-like, artificial hairpiece slides from Bergman's head, showing that her fairy tale existence as a deluded, addicted princess must now come to an end. Simultaneously on the soundtrack can be heard the distant call of a train leaving town, suggesting the beginning
of a long journey. In this sequence Hitchcock has used every symbolic element at his command to signal that a major threshold of change is approaching. The Call to Adventure is disorienting and distasteful to the hero, but necessary for her growth” (Vogler 102).
“LACK OR NEED A Call to Adventure may come in the form of a loss or subtraction from the hero's life in the Ordinary World. The adventure of the movie Quest jar Fire is set in motion when a Stone Age tribe's last scrap of fire, preserved in a bone fire-cage, is extinguished. Members of the tribe begin to die of cold and hunger because of this loss. The hero receives his Call to Adventure when one of the women puts the fire-cage in front of him, signalling without words that the loss must be made up by undertaking the adventure.
“The Call could be the kidnapping of a loved one or the loss of anything precious, such as health, security, or love.
“NO MORE OPTIONS In some stories, the Call to Adventure may be the hero simply running out of options. The coping mechanisms no longer work, other people get fed up with the hero, or the hero is placed in increasingly dire straits until the only way left is to jump into the adventure. In Sister Act, Whoopi Goldberg's character witnesses a mob murder and has to go into hiding as a nun. Her options are limited - pretend to be a nun or die. Other heroes don't even get that much choice - they are simply "shanghaied" into adventure, conked on the head to wake up far out at sea, committed to adventure whether they like it or not.
“WARNINGS FOR TRAGIC HEROES “Not all Calls to Adventure are positive summonses to high adventure. They may also be dire warnings of doom for tragic heroes. In Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, a character cries out the warning, "Beware the Ides of March:' In Moby Dick, the crew is warned by a crazy old man that their adventure will turn into a disaster” (Vogler 103).
“MORE THAN ONE CALL: CALL WAITING: Since many stories operate on more than one level, a story can have more than one Call to Adventure… Romancing the Stone issues a complex Call to Adventure to its hero Joan Wilder when she receives a phone call from her sister who has been kidnapped by thugs in Colombia. The simple Call of physical adventure is set up by the need to rescue the sister, but another Call is being made on a deeper level in this scene. Joan opens an envelope which her sister's husband has mailed to her and finds a map to the treasure mine of EI Corazon, "The Heart," suggesting that Joan is also being called to an adventure of the heart” (Vogler 103).
THE WIZARD OF OZ: Dorothy's vague feelings of unease crystallize when Miss Gulch arrives and spitefully takes away Toto. A conflict is set up between two sides struggling for control of Dorothy's soul. A repressive Shadow energy is trying to bottle up the good-natured intuitive side. But the instinctive Toto escapes. Dorothy follows her instincts, which are issuing her a Call to Adventure, and runs away from home. She feels painted into a corner by a lack of sympathy from Aunt Em, her surrogate mother, who has scolded her. She sets out to respond to the Call, under a sky churning with the clouds if change.
The Call to Adventure is a process of selection. An unstable situation arises in a society and someone volunteers or is chosen to take responsibility. Reluctant heroes have to be called repeatedly as they try to avoid responsibility. More willing heroes answer to inner calls and need no external urging. They have selected themselves for adventure. These gung-gung-ho heroes are rare, and most heroes must be prodded, cajoled, wheedled, tempted, or shanghaied into adventure. Most heroes put up a good fight and entertain us by their efforts to escape the Call to Adventure. These struggles are the work of the reluctant hero or as Campbell called it, the Refusal of the Call” (Vogler 104).
Call to Adventure
According to Freud, blunders are not the merest chance. They are the result of suppressed desires and conflicts. They are ripples on the surface of life, produced by unsuspected springs. And these may be very deep-as deep as the soul itself. T
According to Campbell, whether small or great, and no matter what the stage or grade of life, the call rings up the curtain, always, on a mystery of transfiguration-a rite, or moment, of spiritual passage, which, when complete, amounts to a dying and a birth. The familiar life horizon has been outgrown; the old concepts, ideals, and emotional patterns no longer fit; the time for the passing of a threshold is at hand. T
The “unconscious deep ("so deep that the bottom cannot be seen") is wherein are hoarded all of the rejected, unadmirred, unrecognized, unknown, or undeveloped factors, laws, and elements of existence. Those are the pearls of the fabled submarine palaces of the nixies, tritons, and water guardians; the jewels that give light to the demon cities of the underworld; the fire seeds in the ocean of immortality which supports the earth and surrounds it like a snake; the stars in the bosom of immortal night. Those are the nuggets in the gold hoard of the dragon; the guarded apples of the Hesperides; the filaments of the Golden Fleece. T
The call to adventure signifies that destiny has summoned the hero and transferred his spiritual center of gravity from within the pale of society to a zone unknown T
In many detective stories, the Call to Adventure is the private eye being asked to take on a new case and solve a crime which has upset the order of things T
The Call to Adventure Establishes the Stakes of the Game T
The call could be
- A message – from a messenger
- A stirring within the hero
- Dreams – Fantasies – Visions
- A kidnapping
The call to adventure is often disorienting and distasteful to the hero, but necessary for growth T
When Vogler describes a hero as “shanghaied” into adventure, he is talking about
- Someone going on an adventure to Shanghai
- Getting forced or dragged into the adventure without a choice
- An option taken by the character
A character can only have one call to one adventure F
The heart may be called in a different direction than other forces in the self T
According to Vogler’s Character Arc, the Call to Adventure is a period of increased awareness. Similarly, Campbell notes. “that which has to be faced, and is somehow profoundly familiar to the unconscious-though unknown, surprising, and even frightening to the conscious personality-makes itself known; and what formerly was meaningful may become strangely emptied of value” (Campbell 46).
Refusal of the Call
REFUSAL OF THE CALL
“Often in actual life, and not infrequently in myth and popular tales, we encounter the dull case of the call unanswered; for it is always possible to turn the ear to other interests. Refusal of the summons converts the adventure into its negative. Walled in boredom, hard work, or "culture," the subject loses the power of significant affirmative action and becomes a victim to be saved.
His flowering world becomes a wasteland of dry stones and his life feels meaningless-even though, like King Minos, he may through titanic effort succeed in building an empire of renown. Whatever house he builds, it will be a house of death: a labyrinth of cyclopean walls to hide from him his Minotaur. All he can do is create new problems for himself and await the gradual approach of his disintegration.
"Because I have called, and ye refused .. . I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; when your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you .... For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. "10
Time Jesum transeuntem et non revertentem: "Dread the passage of Jesus, for he does not return."" The myths and folktales of the whole world make clear that the refusal is essentially a refusal to give up what one takes to be one's own interest. The future is regarded not in terms of an unremitting series of deaths and births, but as though one's present system of ideals, virtues, goals, and advantages were to be fixed and made secure.
King Minos retained the divine bull, when the sacrifice would have signified submission to the will of the god of his society; for he preferred what he conceived to be his economic advantage. Thus he failed to advance into the life-role that he had assumed-and we have seen with what calamitous effect. The divinity itself became his terror; for, obviously, if one is oneself one's god, then God himself, the will of God, the power that would destroy one's egocentric system, becomes a monster.
I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter. I !
One is harassed, both day and night, by the divine being that is the image of the living self within the locked labyrinth of one's own disoriented psyche. The ways to the gates have all been lost: there is no exit. One can only cling, like Satan, furiously, to oneself and be in hell; or else break, and be annihilate at last, in God. "Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest, 1 am He Whom thou seekest!
Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest Me. "13
The same harrowing, mysterious voice was to be heard in the call of the Greek Apollo to the fleeing maiden Daphne, daughter of the river Peneus, as he pursued her over the plain. "0 nymph, 0 Peneus' daughter, stay!" the deity called to her-like the frog to the princess
of the fairy tale. "I who pursue thee am no enemy. Thou knowest not whom thou fleest, and for that reason dost thou flee. Run with less speed, I pray, and hold thy flight. I, too, will follow with less speed. Nay, stop and ask who thy lover is."
He would have said more [the story goes], but the maiden pursued her frightened way and left him with words unfinished, even in her desertion seeming fair. The winds bared her limbs, the opposing breezes set her garments aflutter as she ran, and a light air flung her locks streaming behind her. Her beauty was enhanced by flight. But the chase drew to an end, for the youthful god would not longer waste his time in coaxing words, and, urged on by love, he pursued at utmost speed. Just as when a Gallic hound has seen a hare in an open plain, and seeks his prey on flying feet, but the hare, safety; he, just about to fasten on her, now, even now thinks he has her, and grazes her vety heels with his outstretched muzzle; but she knows not whether or not she be already caught, and barely escapes from those sharp fangs and leaves behind the jaws just closing on her: so ran the god and maid, he sped by hope and she by fear. But he ran the more swiftly, borne on the wings of love, gave her no time to rest, hung over her fleeing shoulders and breathed on the hair that streamed over her neck. Now was her strength all gone, and, pale with fear and utterly overcome by the toil of her swift flight, seeing the waters of her father's river near, she cried: "0 father, help! If your waters hold divinity, change and destroy this beauty by which I pleased o'er wei!." Scarce had she thus prayed when a down-dragging numbness seized her limbs, and her soft sides were begirt with thin bark. Her hair was changed to leaves, her arms to branches. Her feet, but now so swift, grew fast in sluggish roots, and her head was now but a tree's top. Her gleaming beauty alone remained.'” (Campbell 52)
This is indeed a dull and unrewarding finish. Apollo, the sun, the lord of time and ripeness, no longer pressed his frightening suit, but instead, simply named the laurel his favorite tree and ironically recommended its leaves to the fashioners of victory wreaths. The girl had retreated to the image of her parent and there found protection-like the unsuccessful husband whose dream of mother love preserved him from the state of cleaving to a wife.
The literature of psychoanalysis abounds in examples of such desperate fixations. What they represent is an impotence to put off the infantile ego, with its sphere of emotional relationships and ideals. One is bound in by the walls of childhood; the father and mother stand as threshold guardians, and the timorous soul, fearful of some punishment,* fails to make the passage through the door and come to birth in the world without.
Dr. Jung has reported a dream that resembles very closely the image of the myth of Daphne. The dreamer is the same young man who found himself (see above, p. 46) in the land of the sheep-the land, that is to say, of unindependence. A voice within him says, "I must first get away from the father"; then a few nights later: "a snake draws a circle about the dreamer, and he stands like a tree, grown fast to the earth. "16 This is an image of the magic circle drawn about the personaliry by the dragon power of the fixating parent.t Brynhild, in the same way, was protected in her virginity, arrested in her daughter state for years, by the circle of the fire of all-father Wotan. She slept in timelessness until the coming of Siegfried.
Little Briar-rose (Sleeping Beauty) was put to sleep by a jealous hag (an unconscious evil-mother image). And not only the child, her entire world went off to sleep; but at last, "after long, long years," there came a prince to wake her.
The king and queen (the conscious good-parent images), who had just come home and were entering the hall, began to fall asleep, and with them the whole estate. All the horses slept in the stalls, the dogs in the yard, the pigeons on the roof, the flies on the walls, yes, the fire that flickered on the hearth grew still and slumbered, and the roast ceased to simmer. And the cook, who was about to pull the hair of the scullery boy because he had forgotten something, let him go and fell off to sleep. And the wind * See Freud: cast ration complex. t The serpent (in mythology a symbol of the terrestrial waters) corresponds precisely to Daphne's father, the river Peneus went down, and not a leaf stirred in the trees. Then around the castle a hedge of thorns began to grow, which became taller every year, and finally shut off the whole estate. It grew up taller than the castle, so that nothing more was seen, not even the weathercock on the roof.'? (Campbell 53).
A Persian city once was "enstoned to stone"-king and queen, soldiers, inhabitants, and all-because its people refused the call of Allah.'8 Lot's wife became a pillar of salt for looking back, when she had been summoned forth from her city by Jehovah.'9 And there is the tale of the Wandering Jew, cursed to remain on earth until the Day of Judgment, because when Christ had passed him cartying the cross, this man among the people standing along the way called, "Go faster! A little speed!" The unrecognized, insulted Savior turned and said to him, "I go, but you shall be waiting here for me when I return."
Some of the victims remain spellbound forever (at least, so far as we are told), but others are destined to be saved. Brynhild was preserved for her proper hero and little Briar-rose was rescued by a prince. Also, the young man transformed into a tree dreamed subsequently of the unknown woman who pointed the way, as a mysterious guide to paths unknown.21 Not all who hesitate are lost. The psyche has many secrets in reserve. And these are not disclosed unless
required. So it is that sometimes the predicament following an obstinate refusal of the call proves to be the occasion of a providential revelation of some unsuspected principle of release” (Campbell 54).
Willed introversion, in fact, is one of the classic implements of creative genius and can be employed as a deliberate device. It drives the psychic energies into depth and activates the lost continent of unconscious infantile and archetypal images. The result, of course, may be a disintegration of consciousness more or less complete (neurosis, psychosis: the plight of spellbound Daphne); but on the other hand, if the personaliry is able to absorb and integrate the new forces, there will be experienced an almost super-human degree of self-consciousness and masterful control. This is a basic principle of the Indian disciplines of yoga. It has been the way, also, of many creative spirits in the West.n It cannot be described, quite, as an answer to any specific call. Rather, it is a deliberate, terrific refusal to respond to anything but the deepest, highest, richest answer to the as-yet-unknown demand of some waiting void within: a kind of total strike, or rejection of the offered terms of life, as a result of which some power of transformation carries the problem to a plane of new magnitudes, where it is suddenly and finally resolved. This is the aspect of the hero-problem illustrated in the wondrous Arabian Nights adventure of the Prince Kamar ai-Zaman and the Princess Budur. The young and handsome prince, the only son of King Shahriman of Persia, persistently refused the repeated suggestions, requests, demands, and finally injunctions, of his father, that he should do the normal thing and take to himself a wife. The first time the subject was broached to him, the lad responded: "0 my father, know that I have no lust to marry nor doth my soul incline to women; for that concerning their craft and perfidy I have read many books and heard much talk, even as saith the poet:
Now, an of women ask ye, I reply:In
their affairs I'm versed a doctor rare!
When man s head grizzles and his money dwindles,
In their affection he hath naught for share.
And another said:
Rebel against women and so shalt thou serve Allah the more;
The youth who gives women the rein must forfeit all hope to soar.
They 'll baulk him when seeking the strange device, Excelsior,
Tho ' waste he a thousand o/years in the study o/science and lore. "
And when he had ended his verses he continued, "0 my father, wedlock is a thing whereto I will never consent; no, not though I drink the cup of death." (Campbell 55).
When the Sultan Shahriman heard these words from his son, light became darkness in his sight and he was full of grief; yet, for the great love he bore him, he was unwilling to repeat his wishes and was not angry, but showed him all manner of kindness. After a year, the father pressed again his question, but the youth persisted in refusal, with further stanzas from the poets. The king consulted with his wazir, and the minister advised: o king, wait another year and, if after that thou be minded to speak to him on the matter of marriage, speak not to him privily, bur address him on a day of state, when all the emirs and wazirs are present with the whole of the army standing before thee. And when all are in crowd then send for thy son, Kamar ai-Zaman, and summon him; and, when he cometh, broach to him the matter of marriage before the wazirs and grandees and officers of state and captains; for he will surely be bashful and daunted by their presence and will not dare to oppose thy will.” (Campbell 55).
“When the moment came, however, and King Shahriman gave his command before the state, the prince bowed his head awhile, then raising it towards his father, and, being moved by youthful folly and boyish ignorance, replied: "But for myself I will never marry; no, not though I drink the cup of death! As for thee, thou art great in age and small of wit: hast thou not, rwice ere this day and before this occasion, questioned me of the matter of marriage, and I refused my consent? Indeed thou dotest and art not fit to govern a flock of sheep!" So saying Kamar al-Zaman unclapsed his hands from behind his back and tucked up his sleeves above his elbows before his father, being in a fit of fury; moreover, he added many words to his sire, knowing not what he said, in the trouble of his spirits. The king was confounded and ashamed, since this befell in the presence of his grandees and soldier-officers assembled on a high festival and state occasion; but presently the majesry of kingship took him, and he cried out at his son and made him tremble.” (Campbell 56).
“Then he called to the guards standing before him and commanded, "Seize him!" So they came forward and laid hands on him and, binding him, brought him before his sire, who bade them pinion his elbows behind his back and in this guise make him stand before the presence. And the prince bowed down his head for fear and apprehension, and his brow and face were beaded and spangled with sweat; and shame and confusion troubled him sorely. Thereupon his father abused him and reviled him and cried, "Woe to thee, thou son of adultery and nursling of abomination! How durst thou answer me in this wise before my captains and soldiers? But hitherto none hath chastised thee. Knowest thou not that this deed thou hast done were a disgrace to him had it been done by the meanest of my subjects?" (Campbell 57).
“And the king ordered his mamelukes to loose his elbow-bonds and imprison him in one of the bastions of the citadel. So they took the prince and thrust him into an old tower in which there was a dilapidated salon, and in its midst a ruined well, after having first swept it and cleansed its floor-rags and set therein a couch on which they laid a mattress, a leathern rug, and a cushion. And then they brought a great lantern and a wax candle; for that place was dark, even by day. And lastly the mamelukes led Kamar ai-Zaman thither, and stationed a eunuch at the door. And when all this was done, the prince threw himself on the couch, sad-spirited, and heavyhearted, blaming himself and repenting of his injurious conduct to his father” (Campbell 57).
“Meanwhile in the distant empire of China, the daughter of King Ghazur, Lord of the Islands and the Seas and the Seven Palaces, was in like case. When her beauty had become known and her name and fame been bruited abroad in the neighboring countries, all the kings had sent to her father to demand her of him in marriage, and he had consulted her on the matter, but she had disliked the vety word wedlock. "0 my father," she had answered, "I have no mind to marty; no, not at all; for I am a sovereign lady and a queen suzerain ruling over men, and I have no desire for a man who shall rule over me." And the more suits she refused, the more her suitors' eagerness increased and all the royalties of the inner Islands of China sent presents and rarities to her father with letters asking her in marriage. So he pressed her again and again with advice on the matter of espousals; but she ever opposed to him refusals, till at last she turned upon him angrily and cried: "0 my father, if thou name matrimony to me once more, I will go into my chamber and take a sword and, fixing its hilt on the ground, will set its point to my waist; then will I press upon it, till it come forth from my back, and so slay myself." (Campbell 57).
“Now when the king heard these words, the light became darkness in his sight and his heart burned for her as with a flame of fire, because he feared lest she should kill herself; and he was filled with perplexity concerning her affair and the kings her suitors. So he said to her: "If thou be determined not to marry and there be no help for it: abstain from going and coming in and out." Then he placed her in a house and shut her up in a chamber, appointing ten old women as duennas to guard her, and forbade her to go forth to the Seven Palaces. Moreover, he made it appear that he was incensed against her, and sent letters to all the kings, giving them to know that
she had been stricken with madness by the Jinn” (Campbell 58).
“With the hero and the heroine both following the negative way, and between them the continent of Asia, it will require a miracle to consummate the union of this eternally predestined pair. Whence can such a power come to break the life-negating spell and dissolve the wrath of the two childhood fathers?”
“The reply to this question would remain the same throughout the mythologies of the world. For, as is written so frequently in the sacred pages of the Koran: "Well able is Allah to save." The sole problem is what the machinery of the miracle is to be. And that is a secret to be opened only in the following stages of this Arabian Nights' entertainment.”
VOGLER on REFUSAL OF THE CALL (THE RELUCTANT HERO)
“This one is about fear. Often at this point the hero balks at the threshold of adventure, Refusing the Call or expressing reluctance. After all, she is facing the greatest of all fears, terror of the unknown. The hero has not yet fully committed to the journey and may still be thinking of turning back. Some other influence - a change in circumstances, a further offense against the natural order of things, or the encouragement of a Mentor - is required to get her past this turning point of fear.
“In romantic comedies, the hero may express reluctance to get involved (maybe because of the pain of a previous relationship)' In a detective story, the private eye may at first turn down the case, only to take it on later against his better judgment” (Vogler 11).
“The problem of the hero now becomes how to respond to the Call to Adventure. Put yourself in the hero's shoes and you can see that it's a difficult passage. You're being asked to say yes to a great unknown, to an adventure that will be exciting but also dangerous and even life threatening. It wouldn't be a real adventure otherwise. You stand at a threshold of fear, and an understandable reaction would be to hesitate or even refuse the Call, at least temporarily.
Gather your gear, fellow Seeker. Think ahead to possible dangers, and riflect on past disasters. The specter oj the unknown walks among us, halting our progress at the threshold. Some oj us turn down the quest, some hesitate, some are tugged at by families who fear for our lives and don't want us to go. You hear people mutter that the journey is foolhardy, doomedfrom the start. You feelfear constricting your breathing and making your heart race. Should you stay with the Home Tribe, and let others risk their necks in the quest? Are you cut out to be a Seeker?
“This halt on the road before the journey has really started serves an important dramatic function of signaling the audience that the adventure is risky. It's not a frivolous undertaking but a danger-filled, high-stakes gamble in which the hero might lose fortune or life. The pause to weigh the consequences makes the commitment to the adventure a real choice in which the hero, after this period of hesitation or refusal. is willing to stake her life against the possibility of winning the goal. It also forces the hero to examine the quest carefully and perhaps redefine its objectives” (Vogler 107-108).
AVOIDANCE “It's natural for heroes to first react by trying to dodge the adventure. Even Christ, in the Garden of Gethsemane on the eve of the Crucifixion, prayed "Let this cup pass from me." He was simply checking to see if there was any way of avoiding the ordeal. Is this trip really necessary?
Even the most heroic of movie heroes will sometimes hesitate, express reluctance, or flatly refuse the Call. Rambo, Rocky, and innumerable John Wayne characters turn away from the offered adventure at first. A common grounds for Refusal is past experience. Heroes claim to be veterans of past adventures which have taught them the folly of such escapades. You won't catch them getting into the same kind of trouble again. The protest continues until the hero's Refusal is overcome, either by some stronger motivation (such as the death or kidnapping of a friend or relative) which raises the stakes, or by the hero's inborn taste for adventure or sense of honor.
Detectives and lovers may refuse the Call at first, referring to experiences which have made them sadder but wiser. There is charm in seeing a hero's reluctance overcome, and the stiffer the Refusal. the more an audience enjoys seeing it worn down.
EXCUSES: Heroes most commonly Refuse the Call by stating a laundry list of weak excuses. In a transparent attempt to delay facing their inevitable fate, they say they would undertake the adventure, if not for a pressing series of engagements. These are temporary roadblocks, usually overcome by the urgency of the quest.
PERSISTENT REFUSAL LEADS TO TRAGEDY: Persistent Refusal of the Call can be disastrous. In the Bible, Lot's wife is turned to a pillar of salt for denying God's Call to leave her home in Sodom and never look back. Looking backward, dwelling in the past, and denying reality are forms of Refusal.
Continued denial of a high Calling is one of the marks of a tragic hero. At the beginning of Red River, Tom Dunson refuses a Call to an adventure of the heart and begins a slide into almost certain doom. He continues to refuse Calls to open his heart, and is on the path of a tragic hero. It's only when he finally accepts the Call in Act Three that he is redeemed and spared the tragic hero's fate.
CONFLICTING CALLS Actually Tom Dunson faces two Calls to Adventure at once. The Call to the heart's adventure comes from his sweetheart, but the one he answers is the Call of his male ego, telling him to strike out alone on a macho path. Heroes may have to choose between conflicting Calls from different levels of adventure. The Refusal of the Call is a time to articulate the hero's difficult choices.
POSITIVE REFUSALS Refusal of the Call is usually a negative moment in the hero's progress, a dangerous moment in which the adventure might go astray or never get off the ground at all. However, there are some special cases in which refusing the Call is a wise and positive move on the part of the hero.
When the Call is a temptation to evil or a summons to disaster, the hero is smart to say no. The Three Little Pigs wisely refused to open the door to the Big Bad Wolf's powerful arguments. In Death Becomes Her, Bruce Willis' character receives several powerful Calls to drink a magic potion of immortality. Despite an alluring sales pitch by Isabella Rossellini, he Refuses the Call and saves his own soul.
ARTIST AS HERO Another special case in which Refusal of the Call can be positive is that of the artist as hero. We writers, poets, painters, and musicians face difficult, contradictory Calls. We must fully immerse ourselves in the world to find the material for our art. But we must also at times withdraw from the world, going alone to actually make the art.
Like many heroes of story, we receive conflicting Calls, one from the outer world, one from our own insides, and we must choose or make compromises. To answer a higher Call to express ourselves, we artists may have to refuse the Call of what Joseph Campbell terms "the blandishments of the world." When you are getting ready to undertake a great adventure, the Ordinary World knows somehow and clings to you. It sings its sweetest, most insistent song, like the Sirens trying to draw Odysseus and his crew onto the rocks. Countless distractions tempt you off track as you begin to work. Odysseus had to stop up the ears of his men with wax so they wouldn't be lured onto the rocks by the Sirens' bewitching song.
However, Odysseus first had his men tie him to the mast, so he could hear the Sirens but would be unable to steer the ship into danger. Artists sometimes ride through life like Odysseus lashed to the mast, with all senses deeply experiencing the song of life, but also voluntarily bound to the ship of their art. They are refusing the powerful Call of the world, in order to follow the wider Call of artistic expression.
WILLING HEROES While many heroes express fear, reluctance, or refusal at this stage, others don't hesitate or voice any fear. They are willing heroes who have accepted or even sought out the Call to Adventure. Propp calls them "seekers" as opposed to "victimized heroes." However, the fear and doubt represented by the Refusal of the Call will find expression even in the stories of willing heroes. Other characters will express the fear, warning the hero and the audience of what may happen on the road ahead.
A willing hero like John Dunbar from Dances with Wolves may be past the fear of personal death. He has already sought out death in the first sequence of the movie as he rides suicidally in front of Rebel rifles and is miraculously spared. He seeks out the adventure of the West willingly, without refusal or reluctance. But the danger and harshness of the prairie is made clear to the audience through the fate of other characters who represent Refusal of the Call. One is the mad, pathetic Army officer who gives Dunbar his scribbled "orders." He shows a possible fate for Dunbar. The frontier is so strange and challenging that it can drive some people insane. The officer has been unable to accept the reality of this world, has retreated into denial and fantasy, and refuses the frontier's Call by shooting himself” (Vogler 110).
“The other character who bears the energy of Refusal is the scroungy wagon driver who escorts Dunbar to his deserted post. He expresses nothing but fear of the Indians and the prairie, and wants Dunbar to Refuse the Call, abandon his enterprise, and return to civilization. The driver ends up being brutally killed by the Indians, showing the audience another possible fate for Dunbar. Though there is no Refusal by the hero himself, the danger of the adventure is acknowledged and dramatized through another character” (Vogler 111).
Mythological fixations, according to Campbell, can represent an impotence to put off the infantile ego, with its sphere of emotional relationships and ideals. One is bound by the walls of childhood; the father and mother stand as threshold gaurdians, and the soul, fearful of some punishment, fails to make the passage through the door and come to birth in the world without. T
Refusal of the Call might also be associated with the refusal of consent – the refusal of a mating call T
A lover might refuse the call because of a previous bad experience – a scar – T
The call could be refused out of
Luke Skywalker does not refuse the call, which is obvious because he is eager for adventure at the start of the story. F
The refusal of the call accentuates the stakes involves with the adventure ahead T
The refusal of the call could look like avoidance T
The refusal of the call can serve to accentuate the vulnerability of the protagonist, which will attract empathy from your audience T
If the call is towards something evil or harmful, the refusal of such a call is still negative. F
The successful artist must answer calls to outer and inner experiences T
“Act II is a unit of dramatic action approximately sixty pages long, and goes from the end of Act I, anywhere from pages 20 to 30, to the end of Act II, approximately pages 85 to 90, and is held together with the dramatic context known as Confrontation. During this second act the main character encounters obstacle after obstacle that keeps him/her from achieving his/her dramatic need, which is defined as what the character wants to win, gain, get, or achieve during the course of the screenplay. If you know your character's dramatic need, you can create obstacles to it and then your story becomes your character, overcoming obstacle after obstacle to achieve his/her dramatic need. 24-25 Field
Act II is…a whole, a complete, self-contained unit of dramatic (or comedic) action; it is the middle of your screenplay and contains the bulk of the action. It begins at the end of Plot Point I and continues through to the Plot Point at the end of Act II. So we have a beginning of the middle, a middle of the middle, and an end of the middle. It is approximately sixty pages long, and the Plot Point at the end of Act II occurs approximately between pages 80 and 90 and spins the action around into Act III. The dramatic context is Confrontation, and in this unit of dramatic action your character encounters obstacle after obstacle that keeps him/her from achieving his/her dramatic need. Once you determine the dramatic need. If your character, what your character wants, you can create obstacles to that need, and then your story becomes your character's overcoming obstacle after obstacle to achieve his or her dramatic need” (201 Field).
“If the adventure were a college learning experience, Act One would be a series of entrance exams, and the Test stage of Act Two would be a series of pop quizzes, meant to sharpen the hero's skill in specific areas and prepare her for the more rigorous midterm and final exams coming up” (Vogler 136). “The early phases of Act Two may cover the recruiting of a team, or give an opportunity for the team to make plans and rehearse a difficult operation” (Vogler 138).
“Remember that the dramatic context of Act II is Confrontation. Is your character moving through the story with his/her dramatic need firmly established? You must keep the character's obstacles in mind all the time in order to generate dramatic conflict” (212 Field).
“When the protagonist steps out of the Inciting Incident, he enters a world governed by the Law of Conflict. To wit: Nothing moves forward in a story except through conflict. Put another way, conflict is to storytelling what sound is to music. Both story and music are temporal arts, and the single most difficult task of the temporal artist is to hook our interest, hold our uninterrupted concentration, then carry us through time without an awareness of the passage of time” (McKee 210).
In Act 2, “Realizing he's at risk, the protagonist draws upon greater willpower and capacity to struggle through this gap and take a second, more difficult action. But again the effect is to provoke forces of antagonism, opening a second gap between expectation and result” (McKee 208-209). The protagonist will have to “take an action that demands even more willpower and personal capacity, expecting or at least hoping for a helpful or manageable reaction from his world. But once more the gap flies open as even more powerful forces of antagonism react” (McKee 209).
“A story must not retreat to actions of lesser quality or magnitude, but move progressively forward to a final action beyond which the audience cannot imagine another” (McKee 209). “If you look closely at the soft bellies that hang out over the belt of so many films, you'll discover that this is where the writer's insight and imagination went limp. He couldn't build progressions, so in effect he put the story in retrograde. In the middle of Act Two he's given his characters lesser actions of the kind they've already done in Act One-not identical actions but actions of a similar size or kind: minimal, conservative, and by now trivial. As we watch, our instincts tell us that these actions didn't get the character what he wanted in Act One, therefore they're not going to get him what he wants in Act Two. The writer is recycling story and we're treading water. The only way to keep a film's current flowing and rising is research-imagination, memory, fact. Generally, a feature-length Archplot is designed around forty to sixty scenes that conspire into twelve to eighteen sequences that build into three or more acts that top one another continuously to the end of the line” (McKee 209-210).
“Progressive Complications: that great sweeping body of story that spans from Inciting Incident to Crisis/Climax of the final act. To complicate means to make life difficult for characters. To complicate progressively means to generate more and more conflict as they face greater and greater forces of antagonism, creating a succession of events that passes points of no return” (McKee 208). “Heroes may have disheartening setbacks at this stage while approaching the supreme goal. Such reversals of fortune are called dramatic complications. Though they may seem to tear us apart, they are only a further test of our willingness to proceed. They also allow us to put ourselves back together in a more effective form for traveling in this unfamiliar terrain” (Vogler 149).
BELLY OF WHALE
“Now the hero fully enters the mysterious, exciting Special World which Joseph Campbell called "a dream landscape of curiously fluid, ambiguous forms, where he must survive a succession of trials." It's a new and sometimes frightening experience for the hero. No matter how many schools he has been through, he's a freshman all over again in this new world” (Vogler 137). “When a submarine dives, a wagon train leaves St. Louis, or the starship Enterprise leaves the earth, the conditions and rules of survival change. Things are often more dangerous, and the price of mistakes is higher” (Vogler 137).
“The audience's first impressions of the Special World should strike a sharp
contrast with the Ordinary World. Think of Eddie Murphy's first look at the Special World of Beverly Hills Cop, which makes such a drastic contrast to his former world of Detroit. Even if the hero remains physically in the same place throughout the story, there is movement and change as new emotional territory is explored. A Special World, even a figurative one, has a different feel, a different rhythm, different priorities and values, and different rules. In Father oj the Bride or Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, while there is no physical threshold, there's definitely a crossing into a Special World with new conditions” (Vogler 137).
With this Crossing of the Threshold, the belly of the whale gives Seekers a shock. “this new world is so d1ferent from the home we've always known. Not only are the terrain and the local residents d1ferent, the rules oj this place are strange as they can be. Different things are valued here and we have a lot to learn about the local currency, customs, and language. Strange creatures jump out at you! Thinkfast l Don't eat that, it could be poison. Exhausted by the journey a(ross the desolate threshold zone, we're running out of time and energy. Remember our people back in the Home Tribe are counting on us. Enough sight-seeing, let's concentrate on the goal. We must go where the food and game and information are to be found. There our skills will be tested, and we'll (ome one step closer to what we seek” (Vogler 135).
“THE IDEA THAT THE PASSAGE of the magical threshold is a transit into a sphere of rebirth is symbolized in the worldwide womb image of the belly of the whale. The hero, instead of conquering or conciliating the power of the threshold, is swallowed into the unknown, and would appear to have died.
Mishe-Nahma, King of Fishes,
In his wrath he darted upward,
Flashing leaped into the sunshine,
Opened his great jaws and swallowed
Both canoe and Hiawatha” (Campbell 48).
BELLY OF WHALE EXAMPLES: The Eskimo of Bering Strait tell of the trickster-hero Raven, how, one day, as he sat drying his clothes on a beach, he observed a whalecow swimming gravely close to shore. He called: "Next time you come up for air, dear, open your mouth and shut your eyes." Then he slipped quickly into his raven clothes, pulled on his raven mask, gathered his fire sticks under his arm, and flew out over the water. The whale came up. She did as she had been told. Raven darted through the open jaws and straight into her gullet. The shocked whale-cow snapped and sounded; Raven stood inside and looked around” (Campbell 49).
“The Zulus have a story of two children and their mother swallowed by an elephant. When the woman reached the animal's stomach, "she saw large forests and great rivers, and many high lands; on one side there were many rocks; and there were many people who had built their village there; and many dogs and many cattle; all there inside the elephant” (Campbell 50).
“The Irish hero Finn MacCool was swallowed by a monster of indefinite form, of the type known to the Celtic world as a peist. The little German girl Red Ridinghood was swallowed by a wolf. The Polynesian favorite Maui was swallowed by his great-greatgrandmother, ine-nui-te-po. And the whole Greek pantheon, with the sole exception of Zeus, was swallowed by its father, Kronos” (Campbell 75).
“The Greek hero Herakles, pausing at Troy on his way homeward with the belt of the Queen of the Amazons, found that the city was being harassed by a monster sent against it by the sea-god Poseidon. The beast would come ashore and devour people as they moved about on the plain. Beautiful Hesione, the daughter of the king, had just been bound by her father to the sea rocks as a propitiatory sacrifice, and the great visiting hero agreed to rescue her for a price. The monster, in due time, broke to the surface of the water and opened its enormous maw. Herakles took a dive into the throat, cut his way out through the belly, and left the monster dead” (Campbell 79).
“This popular motif gives emphasis to the lesson that that passage of the threshold is a form of self-annihilation. Its resemblance to the adventure of the Symplegades is obvious. But here, instead of passing outward, beyond the confines of the visible world, the hero goes inward, to be born again. The disappearance corresponds to the passing of a worshiper into the temple-where he is to be quickened by the recollection of who and what he is, namely dust and ashes unless immortal” (Campbell 77).
“His secular character remains without; he sheds it as a snake its slough. Once inside he may be said to have died to time and returned to the World Womb, the World Navel, the Earthly Paradise. The mere fact that anyone can physically walk past the temple guardians does not invalidate their significance; for if the intruder is incapable of encompassing the sanctuary, he has effectually remained without.
“Anyone unable to understand a god sees it as a devil and is thus defended from the approach. Allegorically, then, the passage into a temple and the hero-dive through the jaws of the whale are identical adventures, both denoting, in the picture language, the life-centering, life-renewing act” (Campbell 79).
"No creature," writes Ananda Coomaraswamy, "can attain a higher grade of nature without ceasing to exist."51 Indeed, the physical body of the hero may be actually slain, dismembered, and scattered over the land or sea-as in the Egyptian myth of the savior Osiris: he was thrown into a sarcophagus and committed to the Nile by his brother Set,* and when he returned from the dead his brother slew him again, tore the body into fourteen pieces, and scattered these over the land. The Twin Heroes of the Navaho had to pass not only the clashing rocks, but also the reeds that cut the traveler to pieces, the boiling sands that overwhelm him. The hero whose attachment to ego is already annihilate passes back and forth across the horizons of the world, in and out of the dragon, as readily as a king through all the rooms of his house. And therein lies his power to save; for his passing and returning demonstrate that through all the contraries of phenomenality the Uncreate-Imperishable remains, and there is nothing to fear” (Campbell 79).
“And so it is that, throughout the world, men whose function it has been to make visible on earth the life-fructifYing mystery of the slaying of the dragon have enacted upon their own bodies the great symbolic act, scattering their flesh, like the body of Osiris, for the renovation of the world. In Phrygia, for example, in honor of the crucified and resurrected savior Artis, a pine tree was cut on the twentysecond of March, and brought into the sanctuary of the mothergoddess, Cybele. There it was swathed like a corpse with woolen bands and decked with wreaths of violets. The effigy of a young man was tied to the middle of the stem. Next day took place a ceremonial lament and blowing of trumpets. The twenty-fourth of March was known as the Day of Blood: the high priest drew blood from his arms, which he presented as an offering; the lesser clergy whirled in a dervish-dance, to the sound of drums, horns, flutes, and cymbals, until, rapt in ecstasy, they gashed their bodies with knives to bespatter the altar and tree with their blood; and the novices, in imitation of the god whose death and resurrection they were celebrating, castrated
themselves and swooned” (Campbell 79).
The Road of Trials: Externally, the road of trials is a series of challenges that the protagonist must overcome to approach the central confrontation(s). Internally, the road of trials is an initiation into an accord with previously dormant capabilities of the unconscious mind, the awakening of which is often symbolized by special powers and new skills. These tests—this road of trials—draws conscious experience across a broad stretch of the newly entered world.
Limits of Logic and Other Modalities: The normal world is governed by empirical science, a causal paradigm, dualistic logic, and literalistic interpretations. These modalities reach their limits in the other world, which is much more inspired by the zeal of imagination and the resonance of likenesses, which leads to a heightened level of symbolic imagery, archetypal figures, ritual experiences, and meaningful motifs. Love, Beauty and Wholeness are more powerful forces in a story at this stage than deterministic causality.
Confrontation with Otherness: The unknown other world represents the unknown other both within and beyond the self. Internally this means a confrontation and integration with the undiscovered self. Externally this can mean confrontation and initiatory integration with such otherness as gender, state, religion, race, the dead, or aliens.
“The original departure into the land of trials represented only the beginning of the long and really perilous path of initiatory conquests and moments of illumination. Dragons have now to be slain and surprising barriers passed-again, again, and again. Meanwhile there will be a multitude of preliminary victories, unretainable ecstasies, and momentary glimpses of the wonderful land” (Campbell 88).
“ONCE HAVING TRAVERSED the threshold, the hero moves in a dream landscape of curiously fluid, ambiguous forms, where he must survive a succession of trials. This is a favorite phase of the mythadventure. It has produced a world literature of miraculous tests and ordeals. The hero is covertly aided by the advice, amulets, and secret agents of the supernatural helper whom he met before his entrance into this region. Or it may be that he here discovers for the first time that there is a benign power everywhere supporting him in his superhuman passage” (CAMPBELL 81)
“In the vocabulary of the mystics this is the second stage of the Way, that of the "purification of the self," when the senses are "cleansed and humbled," and the energies and interests "concentrated upon transcendental things";8 or in a vocabulary of more modern turn: this is the process of dissolving, transcending, or transmuting the infantile images of our personal past. In our dreams the ageless perils, gargoyles, trials, secret helpers, and instructive figures are nightly still encountered; and in their forms we may see reflected not only the whole picture of our present case, but also the clue to what we must do to be saved” Campbell 84-85 )
“One of the best known and most charming examples of the "difficult tasks" motif is that of Psyche's quest for her lost lover, Cupid.' Here all the principal roles are reversed: instead of the lover trying to win his bride, it is the bride trying to win her lover; and instead of a cruel father withholding his daughter from the lover, it is the jealous mother, Venus, hiding her son, Cupid, from his bride. When Psyche pleaded with Venus, the goddess grasped her violently by the hair and dashed her head upon the ground, then took a great quantity of wheat, barley, millet, poppy seed, peas, lentils, and beans, mingled these all together in a heap, and commanded the girl to sort them before night. Psyche was aided by an army of ants. Venus told her, next, to gather the golden wool of certain dangerous wild sheep, sharp of horn and poisonous of bite, that inhabited an inaccessible valley in a dangerous wood. But a green reed instructed her how to gather from the reeds round about the golden locks shed by the sheep in their passage. The goddess now required a bottle of water from a freezing spring high on a towering rock beset by sleepless dragons. An eagle approached, and accomplished the marvelous task. Psyche was ordered, finally, to bring from the abyss of the underworld a box full of supernatural beauty. But a high tower told her how to go down to the world below, gave her coins for Charon and sops for Cerberus, and sped her on her way” (Campbell 85).
“Psyche's voyage to the underworld is but one of innumerable such adventures undertaken by the heroes of fairy tale and myth. Among the most perilous are those of the shamans of the peoples of the farthest north (the Lapps, Siberians, Eskimo, and certain American Indian tribes), when they go to seek out and recover the lost or abducted souls of the sick. The shaman of the Siberians is clothed for the adventure in a magical costume representing a bird or reindeer, the shadow principle of the shaman himself, the shape of his soul. His drum is his animal-his eagle, reindeer, or horse; he is said to fly or ride on it. The stick that he carries is another of his aids. And he is attended by a host of invisible familiars” (Campbell 85).
“An early voyager among the Lapps has left a vivid description of the weird performance of one of these strange emissaries into the kingdoms of the dead. 2 Since the yonder world is a place of everlasting night, the ceremonial of the shaman has to take place after dark. The friends and neighbors gather in the flickering, dimly lighted hut of the patient, and follow attentively the gesticulations of the magician. First he summons the helping spirits; these arrive, invisible to
all but himself. Two women in ceremonial attire, but without belts and wearing linen hoods, a man without hood or belt, and a girl not as yet adult are in attendance.
“The shaman uncovers his head, loosens his belt and shoestrings, covers his face with his hands and begins to twirl in a variety of circles. Suddenly, with very violent gestures, he shouts: "Fit out the reindeer! Ready to boat!" Snatching up an ax, he begins striking himself about the knees with it and swinging it in the direction of the three women. He drags burning logs out of the fire with his naked hands. He dashes three times around each of the women and finally collapses, "like a dead man." During the whole time, no one has been permitted to touch him. While he reposes now in trance, he is to be watched so closely that not even a fly may settle upon him. His spirit has departed, and he is viewing the sacred mountains with their inhabiting gods. The women in attendance whisper to each other, trying to guess in what part of the yonder world he now may be.
“The women may be unable to locate the shaman's position in the yonder world, in which case his spirit may fail to return to the body. Or the wandering spirit of an enemy shaman may engage him in battle or else lead him astray. It is said that there have been many shamans who fai led to return.)
If they mention the correct mountain, the shaman stirs either a hand or a foot. At length he begins to return. In a low, weak voice he utters the words he has heard in the world below. Then the women begin to sing. The shaman slowly awakes, declaring both the cause of the illness and the manner of sacrifice to be made. Then he announces the length of time it will take for the patient to grow well.
"On his laborious journey," reports another observer, the shaman has to encounter and master a number of differing obstacles (pudak) which are not always easily overcome. After he has wandered through dark forests and over massive ranges of mountains, where he occasionally comes across the bones of other shamans and their animal mounts who have died along the way, he reaches an opening in the ground. The most difficult stages of the adventure now begin, when the depths of the underworld with their remarkable manifestations open before him .... After he
has appeased the watchers of the kingdom of the dead and made his way past the numerous perils, he comes at last to the Lord of the Underworld, Erlik himself. And the latter rushes against him, horribly bellowing; but if the shaman is sufficiently skillful he can soothe the monster back again with promises of luxurious offerings” (Campbell 85).
“…And so it happens that if anyone-in whatever society-undertakes for himself the perilous journey into the darkness by descending, either intentionally or unintentionally, into the crooked lanes of his own spiritual labyrinth, he soon finds himself in a landscape of symbolical figures (anyone of which may swallow him) which is no less marvelous than the wild Siberian world of the pudak and sacred mountains. In the vocabulary of the mystics this is the second stage of the Way, that of the "purification of the self," when the senses are "cleansed and humbled," and the energies and interests "concentrated upon transcendental things";8 or in a vocabulary of more modern turn: this is the process of dissolving, transcending, or transmuting the infantile images of our personal past. In our dreams the ageless perils, gargoyles, trials, secret helpers, and instructive figures are nightly still encountered; and in their forms we may see reflected not only the whole picture of our present case, but also the clue to what we must do to be saved” (Campbell 86).
As Campbell continues, he shifts to the narrative motif’s appearance in dreams. “The specific psychological difficulties of the dreamer frequently are revealed with touching simplicity and force: "I had to climb a mountain. There were all kinds of obstacles in the way. I had now to jump over a ditch, now to get over a hedge, and finally to stand still because I had lost my breath." This was the dream of a stutterer. ')… "I am dreaming that 1 have to go through endless corridors. Then 1 remain for a long time in a little room that looks like the bathing pool in the public baths. They compel me to leave the pool, and I have to pass again through a moist, slippery shaft, until I come through a little latticed door into the open. I feel like one newly born, and I think: 'This means a spiritual rebirth for me, through my analysis’” (Campbell 86).
There can be no question: the psychological dangers through which earlier generations were guided by the symbols and spiritual exercises of their mythological and religious inheritance, we today (in so far as we are unbelievers, or, if believers, in so far as our inherited beliefs fail to represent the real problems of contemporary life) must face alone, or, at best, with only tentative, impromptu, and not often very effective guidance. This is our problem as modern, "enlightened" individuals, for whom all gods and devils have been rationalized out of existence.* Nevertheless, in the multitude of myths and legends that have been preserved to us, or collected from the ends of the earth, we may yet see delineated something of our still human course. To hear and profit, however, one may have to submit somehow to purgation and surrender. And that is part of our problem: just how to do that.
“The oldest recorded account of the passage through the gates of metamorphosis is the Sumerian myth of the goddess Inanna's descent to the nether world.
From the "great above" she set her mind toward
the "great below, "
The goddess, from the "great above" she set her
mind toward the "great below, "
[nanna, from the "great above" she set her mind
toward the "great below. "
My lady abandoned heaven, abandoned earth,
To the nether world she descended,
[nanna abandoned heaven, abandoned earth,
To the nether world she descended,
Abandoned lordship, abandoned ladyship,
To the nether world she descended.
She adorned herself with her queenly robes and jewels. Seven divine decrees she fastened at her belt. She was ready to enter the "land of no return," the nether world of death and darkness, governed by her enemy and sister goddess, Ereshkigal. In fear, lest her sister should put her to death, Inanna instructed Ninshubur, her messenger, to go to heaven and set up a hue and cry for her in the assembly hall of the gods if after three days she should have failed to return” (Campbell 88).
Inanna descended. She approached the temple made of lapis lazuli, and at the gate was met by the chief gatekeeper, who demanded to know who she was and why she had come. "I am the queen of heaven, the place where the sun rises," she replied. "If thou art the queen of heaven," he said, "the place where the sun rises, why, pray, hast thou come to the land of no return? On the road whose traveler returns not, how has thy heart led thee?" Inanna declared that she had come to attend the funeral rites of her sister's husband, the lord Gugalanna; whereupon Neti, the gatekeeper, bid her stay until he should report to Ereshkigal. Neti was instructed to open to the queen of heaven the seven gates, but to abide by the custom and remove at each portal a part of her clothing.
To the pure Inanna he says:
"Come, Inanna, enter. "
Upon her entering the first gate,
The shugurra, the "crown of the plain" of her head, was removed.
"What, pray, is this?"
"Extraordinarily, OInanna, have the decrees of
the nether world been perfected,
o Inanna, do not question the rites of the nether world. "
Upon her entering the second gate,
The rod of lapis lazuli was removed.
"What, pray, is this?"
"Extraordinarily, OInanna, have the decrees of
the nether world been perfected,
o Inanna, do not question the rites of the nether world. "
Upon her entering the third gate,
The small lapis lazuli stones of her neck were removed.
"What, pray, is this?"
"Extraordinarily, OInanna, have the decrees of
the nether world been perfected,
o Inanna, do not question the rites of the nether world. "
Upon her entering the fourth gate,
The sparkling stones of her breast were removed.
"What, pray, is this?"
"Extraordinarily, OInanna, have the decrees of
the nether world been perfected,
o Inanna, M not question the rites of the nether world. "
Upon her entering the fifth gate,
The gold ring of her hand was removed.
"What, pray, is this?"
"Extraordinarily, 0 [nanna, have the decrees of
the nether world been perfected,
o [nanna, do not question the rites of the nether world. "
Upon her entering the sixth gate,
The breastplate of her breast was removed.
"What, pray, is this?"
"Extraordinarily, 0 [nanna, have the decrees of
the nether world been perfected,
o [nanna, do not question the rites of the nether world. "
Upon her entering the seventh gate,
All the garments of ladyship of her body were removed.
"What, pray, is this?"
"Extraordinarily, 0 [nanna, have the decrees of
the nether world been perfected,
o [nanna, do not question the rites of the nether world. "
Naked, she was brought before the throne. She bowed low. The
seven judges of the nether world, the Anunnaki, sat before the
throne of Ereshkigal, and they fastened their eyes upon Inannathe
eyes of death.
At their word, the word which tortures the spirit,
The sick woman was turned into a corpse,
The corpse was hung from a stake.')
Inanna and Ereshkigal, the two sisters, light and dark respectively, together represent, according to the antique manner of symbolization, the one goddess in two aspects; and their confrontation epitomizes the whole sense of the difficult road of trials. The hero, whether god or goddess, man or woman, the figure in a myth or the dreamer of a dream, discovers and assimilates his opposite (his own unsuspected self) either by swallowing it or by being swallowed. One by one the resistances are broken. He must put aside his pride, his virtue, beauty, and life, and bow or submit to the absolutely intolerable. Then he finds that he and his opposite are not of differing
species, but one flesh” (Campbell 88).
For Vogler, once across the First Threshold, the hero naturally encounters new challenges and Tests, makes Allies and Enemies, and begins to learn the rules of the Special World” (13). The Tests may be a continuation of the Mentor's training. Many Mentors accompany their heroes this far into the adventure, coaching them for the big rounds ahead Vogler 136). “The Tests may also be built into the architecture or landscape of the Special World. This world is usually dominated by a villain or Shadow who is careful to surround his world with traps, barricades, and checkpoints. It's common for heroes to fall into traps here or trip the Shadow's security alarms. Vogler 137). In the Testing stage the hero may have to struggle against rivals for control of the group. The strengths and flaws of the team members are revealed during Testing. Vogler 138). The phase of Tests, Allies, and Enemies in stories is useful for "getting to know you" scenes where the characters get acquainted with each other and the audience learns more about them. Vogler 141).
The phase of Tests, Allies, and Enemies in stories is useful for "getting to know you" scenes where the characters get acquainted with each other and the audience learns more about them. This stage also allows the hero” (Vogler 140). And according to Vogler, “the most important function of this period of adjustment to the Special World is testing. Storytellers use this phase to test the hero, putting her through a series of trials and challenges that are meant to prepare her for greater ordeals ahead. Joseph Campbell illustrates this stage with the tale of Psyche, who is put through a fairy-tale-like series of Tests before winning back her lost love, Cupid (Eros)” (Vogler 136).
The Tests may also be built into the architecture or landscape of the Special World. This world is usually dominated by a villain or Shadow who is careful to surround his world with traps, barricades, and checkpoints. It's common for heroes to fall into traps here or trip the Shadow's security alarms. How the hero deals with these traps is part of the Testing” (Vogler 136). “The Tests at the beginning of Act Two are often difficult obstacles, but they don't have the maximum life-and-death quality of later events. If the adventure were a college learning experience, Act One would be a series of entrance exams, and the Test stage of Act Two would be a series of pop quizzes, meant to sharpen the hero's skill in specific areas and prepare her for the more rigorous midterm and final exams coming up. The Tests may be a continuation of the Mentor's training. Many Mentors accompany their heroes this far into the adventure, coaching
them for the big rounds ahead” (Vogler 136).
McKee compares the road of Trials to a Journey through LA’s labyrinth of roads. “The streets of Los Angeles conspire into the ancient archetype of the labyrinth. Freeways, alleyways, cul-de-sacs, and corridors of buildings twist and turn the characters until they work their way down to its tangled heart. There Sarah, like Theseus at the center of the Minoan maze battling the half-man/half-bull Minotaur, confronts the half-man/half-robot Terminator. If she vanquishes the demon, she will, like the Virgin Mary, give birth to the savior of humanity, John Connor OC), and raise him to lead humanity to deliverance in the coming holocaust. Sarah progresses from waitress to goddess, and the film's symbolic progression lifts it above almost all others in its genre” (McKee 298).
Throughout the Writer’s Journey, Vogler continuously refers to The Wizard of Oz. On the Road of Trials, he writes, “Of course not all heroes go to bars at this stage if the journey. Dorothy encounters her Tests, Allies, and Enemies on the Yellow Brick Road. Like Psyche or the heroes if many jairy tales she is wise enough to know that requests jar aid on the road should be honored with an open heart. She earns the loyalty if the Scarecrow by getting him unhooked jrom his post and by helping him learn to walk. Meanwhile she learns that her Enemy, the Wicked Witch, shadows her at every turn and waits for the chance to strike. The Witch influences some grumpy apple trees to become Enemies to Dorothy and the Scarecrow. The Scarecrow proves his worthiness to be on the team by outwitting the trees. He taunts them into throwing apples, which he and Dorothy pick up to eat. Dorothy wins the affection of another Ally, the Tin Woodsman, by oiling his joints and listening sympathetically to his sad story if having no heart. The witch appears again, showing her enmity for Dorothy and her Allies by hurling a fireball at them. To protect her dog Toto, Dorothy stands up to the blustering of the Cowardly Lion, a potential Enemy or Threshold Guardian, and ends up making him an Ally. The battle lines are clear~ drawn. Dorothy has learned the rules oj the Special World and has passed many Tests. Protected by Allies and on guard against declared Enemies, she is ready to approach the central source of power in the land of Oz” (Vogler 140).
-------- ~ --------
APPROACH OF INMOST CAVE
Approach of the Inmost Cave/AKA Dark night of the Soul: As with the refusal of the call preceding the commitment to cross a threshold, the fear, doubt, despair, and high stakes that come with taking the last step into the very headquarters of confrontation with antagonistic forces can be conveyed by hesitation and despair. The hero is often symbolically and internally isolated. The Dark night of the soul, as described by St. John of the Cross, is about the surrender and letting go that comes at the very limit of despair, which can be followed by an ordeal of inrushing insight and psychic (or externally symbolic) revolution. More confident heroes sometimes displace fear and despair of the ordeal ahead with intense preparation. Sometimes the tone of this preparation conveys despair. And sometimes preparation bridges conveyes the readiness for action of a hero who has rebounded from the pit of despair with newfound conviction. The tension of lovers is often also expressed in this moment, before life is risked and survival unlikely. Though great adventurers have reached this far before, none have survived the upcoming challenge.
“Though Vogler puts added emphasis on preparation for entry into the cave, Campbell introduces a series of relevant examples. He writes, "I stood before a dark cave, wanting to go in," was the dream of a patient at the beginning of his analysis; "and I shuddered at the thought that I might not be able to find my way back."9 "I saw one beast after another," Emanuel Swedenborg recorded in his dream book, for the night of October 19-20, 1744, "and they spread their wings, and were dragons. I was flying over them, but one of them was supporting me."lo* And the dramatist Friedrich Hebbel recorded, a century later (April 13, 1844): "In my dream I was being drawn with great force through the sea; there were terrifying abysses, with here and there a rock to which it was possible to hold. "" Themistocles dreamed that a snake wound itself around his body, then crept up to his neck and when it touched his face became an eagle that took him in its talons and, carrying him upward, bore him a long distance, and set him down on a golden herald's staff that suddenly appeared, so safely that he was all at once relieved of his great anxiety and fear” (Campbell 11).
Expanding on this stage of the Journey, Vogler writes, “The hero comes at last to the edge of a dangerous place, sometimes deep underground, where the object of the quest is hidden. Often it's the headquarters of the hero's greatest enemy, the most dangerous spot in the Special World, the Inmost Cave. When the hero enters that fearful place he will cross the second major threshold. H eroes often pause at the gate to prepare, plan, and outwit the villain's guards. This is the phase of Approach. In mythology the Inmost Cave may represent the land of the dead. The hero may have to descend into hell to rescue a loved one (Orpheus). into a cave to fight a dragon and win a treasure (Sigurd in Norse myth), or into a labyrinth to confront a monster (Theseus and the Minotaur)' In the Arthurian stories the Inmost Cave is the Chapel Perilous, the dangerous chamber where the seeker may find the Grail. In the modern mythology of Star Wcirs the Approach to the Inmost Cave is Luke Skywalker and company being sucked into the Death Star where they will face Darth Vader and rescue Princess Leia. In The Wizard of Oz it's Dorothy being kidnapped to the Wicked Witch's baleful castle, and her companions slipping in to save her. The title of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom reveals the Inmost Cave of that film. Approach covers all the preparations for entering the Inmost Cave and confronting death or supreme danger” (Vogler 14).
“This is the Approach to the Inmost Cave, where soon they will encounter supreme wonder and terror. It's time to make final preparations for the central ordeal of the adventure. Heroes at this point are like mountaineers who have raised themselves to a base camp by the labors of Testing, and are about to make the final assault on the highest peak” (Vogler 14).
“As heroes near the gates of a citadel deep within the Special World, they may take time to make plans, do reconnaissance on the enemy, reorganize or thin out the group, fortify and arm themselves, and have a last laugh and a final cigarette before going over the top into no-man's-land. The student studies for the midterm. The hunter stalks the game to its hiding place. Adventurers squeeze in a love scene before tackling the central event of the movie” (Vogler 144). Many have [prepared for] this point before and none have survived. Perseus' Approach to the monster Medusa is choked with statues of heroes turned to stone by her glance. The labyrinth which Theseus enters is littered with the bones of those who were eaten by the monster inside or who starved trying to find their way out” (Vogler 165).
“IN such stories when the sudden ‘turn’ comes we get a piercing glimpse of joy, and heart’s desire, that for a moment passes outside the frame, tends indeed the ver web of story, and lets a gleam come through” (Tolkien 70). “The Mid-Point is a story progression point, an incident, episode, or event, that occurs around page 60. It could be a scene or sequence, a major event, or an understanding or line of dialogue. Its function is to move the story forward” (Field 212). According to McKee, the story should begin to become more focused. Coincidence should be over, and the character’s should begin working more and more directly towards the achievement of their goals. He writes, “do not use coincidence beyond the midpoint of the telling. Rather, put the story more and more into the hands of the characters” (357).
“It is the mark of a good fairy story, of the higher more complete knd, that however wild its events, however fantastic or terrible the adventures, it can give to child or man that hears it, when the turn comes, a catch of the breath, a beat and lifting of the heart, near to (or indeed accompanied by) teers, as keen as that given by any orm of literary art, and having a peculiar quality” (Tolkien 69).
Death and the Ordeal: The ordeal is an obligatory scene that must occur on screen. It often serves as the midpoint, central/bottom moment, and major turn/crisis of the story. This is where the protagonist will face that which is most externally feared and internally repressed—often an antagonistic dragon or inner demon, hoarding the object/outcome of desire in a very defended lair. When it seems as though the hero will likely fail—often within a static moment—the hero is tasked with a penultimate choice that calls for sacrifice of some kind. Such sacrifice not only leads to success, but also the inrush of enlightening insight symbolized by such totems as world-saving swords or grails the hero then takes into possession before climactically delivering it to his home world as a revivifying force. Whatever the totem, insight, or boon, its retrieval represents a change in direction for the hero and home world of the story—from the direction of down and dying to the upward direction of rising life. This is midnight, new moon or the winter solstice moment—sometimes symbolized by the death of ego in the hero or in the form of a slain nemesis—followed by the sparking green shoot of new life, the first sliver of moon, or the first movement towards spring. The death of ego is the death of that which had been blocking the marriage of opposites within (or without) the hero, which allows the hero to become whole, (relatively) enlightened, and filled with new life (and personality). Though the ordeal/crisis is not the climax, they must bridge to one another in a building way as opposed to slowing down with sub-plot that drains rising energy.
Penultimate Antagonistic Force: The conflation of tyrant and shadow has led many astray here. The shadow is not at odds with the self—only the stubbornness of ego who refuses the wholeness desires by one’s deeper self. The stubbornness of ego in need of change is symbolized in the tyrannical nemesis. The stubborn ego must be destroyed within the protagonist, or in the externalized form of dragon slaying, for consciousness to integrate what had been relegated to shadow, which will resolve one-sided ignorance and trigger such new enlightenment as will redefine the character.
“Journeys naturally arrange themselves around a central event: getting to the top of the mountain, the depth of the cave, the heart of the forest, the most intimate interior of a foreign country, or the most secret place in your own soul. Everything in the trip has been leading up to this moment, and everything after it will be just going home. Vogler 159 ). “Every journey seems to have a center: a bottom or a peak, somewhere near the middle. The words crisis, critic, and critical come from a Greek word that means "to separate:' (Vogler 159). Campbell and Vogler call this the Ordeal. “In a conventional film, the hero always survives the Ordeal and lives to see the villain defeated in the climax” (Vogler 169).
“The smoldering combat that ignites in the Ordeal may be an inner struggle between an old, comfortable, well-defended personality structure and a new one that is weak, unformed, but eager to be born. But the new Self can't be born until the old one dies or at least steps aside to leave more room on the center stage” (Vogler 171).
“FACING THE GREATEST FEAR The Ordeal can be defined as the moment the hero faces his greatest fear. For most people this is death, but in many stories it's just whatever the hero is most afraid of: facing up to a phobia, challenging a rival, or roughing out a storm or a political crisis. Indiana Jones inevitably must come face-to-face with what he fears most – snakes” (Vogler 170). “Here the fortunes of the hero hit bottom in a direct confrontation with his greatest fear. He faces the possibility of death and is brought to the brink in a battle with a hostile force. The Ordeal is a "black moment" for the audience, as we are held in suspense and tension, not knowing if he will live or die. The hero, like Jonah, is "in the belly of the beast" (Vogler 15).
Campbell writes, “The ordeal is a deepening of the problem of the first threshold and the question is still in balance: Can the ego put itself to death? For many-headed is this surrounding Hydra; one head cut off, two more appear-unless the right caustic is applied to the mutilated stump. (Campbell 88). What does he mean when he asks, can the ego put itself to death? He is referring to the decapitation of the bull and the last loss of the lunar crescent. He’s talking about the emptiness achieved by the Buddha’s enlightenment. The mistake so many make is the mortal sin of using the Hero’s Journey. The Hero’s Journey is not all about championing the hero. According to Campbell, to complete the Journey, the hero must put ego to death.
He writes, “mythology does not hold as its greatest hero the merely virtuous man. Virtue is but the pedagogical prelude to the culminating insight, which goes beyond all pairs of opposites. Virtue quells the self-centered ego and makes the transpersonal centeredness possible; but when that has been achieved, what then of the pain or pleasure, vice or virtue, either of our own ego or of any other? Through all, the transcendent force is then perceived which lives in all, in all is wonderful, and is worthy, in all, of our profound obeisance” (Campbell35-36).
CRISIS: THE CRISIS, NOT THE CLIMAX “The Ordeal is a major nerve ganglion of the story. Many threads of the hero's history lead in, and many threads of possibility and change lead out the other side. It should not be confused with the climax of the Hero's Journey - that's another nerve center further down near the end of the story (like the brain at the base of a dinosaur's tail). The Ordeal is usually the central event of the story, or the main event of the second act. Let's call it the crisis to differentiate it from the climax (the big moment of Act Three and the crowning event of the whole story)” (Vogler 156).
“Crisis with a capital C is the ultimate decision. The Chinese ideogram for Crisis is two terms: Danger/Opportunity-"danger" in that the wrong decision at this moment will lose forever what we want; "opportunity" in that the right choice will achieve our desire. The protagonist's quest has carried him through the Progressive Complications until he's exhausted all actions to achieve his desire, save one. He now finds himself at the end of the line. His next action is his last. No tomorrow. No second chance. This moment of dangerous opportunity is the point of greatest tension in the story as both protagonist and audience sense that the question "How will this tum out?" will be answered out of the next action. The Crisis is the story's Obligatory Scene. From the Inciting Incident on, the audience has been anticipating with growing vividness the scene in which the protagonist will be face to face with the most focused, powerful forces of antagonism in his existence. This is the dragon, so to speak, that guards the Object of Desire: be it the literal dragon of JAWS or the metaphorical dragon of meaninglessness in TENDER MERCIES. The audience leans into the Crisis filled with expectation mingled with uncertainty. The Crisis must be true dilemma-a choice between irreconcilable goods, the lesser of two evils, or the two at once that places the protagonist under the maximum pressure of his life” (McKee 303-304).
The location of the Crisis is determined by the length of the climactic action” (McKee 306). “This is the Obligatory Scene. Do not put it off screen, or skim over it. The audience wants to suffer with the protagonist through the pain of this dilemma. We freeze this moment because the rhythm of the last movement depends on it. An emotional momentum has built to this point, but the Crisis dams its flow. As the protagonist goes through this decision, the audience leans in, wondering: "What's he going to do? What's he going to do?" Tension builds and builds, then as the protagonist makes a choice of action, that compressed energy explodes into the Climax” (308 McKee). “This dilemma confronts the protagonist who. When face-to-face with the most powerful and focused forces of antagonism in his life. must make a decision to take one action or another in a last effort to achieve his Object of Desire” (McKee 304).
CHOICE: In order to properly dramatize the choice, “The Crisis decision must be a deliberately static moment” (308 McKee). Think Neo just before Morpheus’ plug is pulled. How the protagonist chooses here gives us the most penetrating view of his deep character, the ultimate expression of his humanity. This scene reveals the story's most important value. If there's been any doubt about which value is central, as the protagonist makes the Crisis Decision, the primary value comes to the fore. At Crisis the protagonist's willpower is most severely tested. As we know from life, decisions are far more difficult to make than actions are to take. We often put off doing something for as long as possible, then as we finally make the decision and step into the action, we're surprised by its relative ease. We're left to wonder why we dreaded doing it until we realize that most of life's actions are within our reach, but decisions take willpower” (McKee 304).
FACING THE SHADOW By far the most common kind of Ordeal is some sort of battle or confrontation with an opposing force. It could be a deadly enemy villain, antagonist, opponent, or even a force of nature. An idea that comes close to encompassing all these possibilities is the archetype of the Shadow. A villain may be an external character, but in a deeper sense what all these words stand for is the negative possibilities of the hero himself. In other words, the hero's greatest opponent is his own Shadow. Vogler 163). [Oversimplified and wrong. The hero’s greatest hero is the shadow, and his great opponent is his own ego. The ego will be broken open by the shadow, with which it must integrate. The tyrannical ego that refuses to integrate shadow is, in my opinion, the more ultimate villain.
DARK MOMENT - DECONSTRUCTION – OVERCOMING EGO / HERO COMPLEX / SACRIFICE “We have not even to risk the adventure alone; for the heroes of all time have gone before us; the labyrinth is thoroughly known; we have only to follow the thread of the hero-path. And where we had thought tfind an abomination, we shall find a god; where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves; where we had thought to travel outward, we shall come to the center of our own existence; where we had thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world” (Campbell 18).
The low point of a story is its midnight, its winter solstice, its new moon. This is the darkest time of the year. The darkest time of the day. Philosophically, this is expressed as emptiness—emptiness of ego (and the recognition of matter’s inherent emptiness). “This moment in the story, the climax of Act Two… the moment of greatest tension in Act Two and should set the story on the final path to resolution in Act Three” (Vogler 192-193). In the myth of Theseus, we see this in the decapitation of the Bull, In the Dark Night of the Soul, we see this in the form of a hope is lost moment. Christ empties his sepulcher, and the Buddha recognizes the inherent emptiness of matter and ego. It is this very moksha – liberation – from ego (which can come in painful forms) that enables the coming insight.
DEATH OF THE EGO “The Ordeal in myths signifies the death of the ego. The hero is now fully part of the cosmos, dead to the old, limited vision of things and reborn into a new consciousness of connections. The old boundaries of the Self have been transcended or annihilated. In some sense the hero has become a god with the divine ability to soar above the normal limits of death and see the broader view of the connectedness of all things. The Greeks called this a moment of apotheosis, a step up from enthusiasm where you merely have the god in you” (Vogler 171).
“Where surrender meets rebirth preceding death Resurrection often calls for a sacrifice by the hero. … Something must be shared for the good of the group” (Vogler 209). Sacrifice comes from Latin words meaning "making holy." Heroes are often required to sanctify a story by making a sacrifice, perhaps by giving up or giving back something of themselves. Sometimes the sacrifice is the death of members of the group. Luke Skywalker, at the climax of Star Wars, sees many of his comrades killed in the effort to destroy the Death Star. Luke also gives up part of his personality: his dependence on machines. With Obi Wan's voice in his head, he decides to "Trust the Force;' and learns to trust human instinct rather than machinery. Luke undergoes another personal sacrifice at the climax of the second film in the series, The Empire Strikes Back. Here he is escaping from the Emperor and loses a hand in the getaway. In repayment, he gains new control over the Force in the third film of the trilogy, Return if the Jedi” (Vogler 209).
“The hero facing an Ordeal has moved her center from the ego to the Self, to the more godlike part of her. There may also be a movement from Self to group as a hero accepts more responsibility than just looking out for herself” (Vogler 172). “The hero is the man of self-achieved submission. But submission to what? That precisely is the riddle that today we have to ask ourselvesand that it is everywhere the primary virtue and historic deed of the hero to have solved” (Campbell 11).
“Gilbert Murray has pointed our in his preface to Ingram Bywater's translation of the Poetics of Aristotle on tragic katharsis (i.e., the "purification" or "purgation" of the emotions of the spectator of tragedy through his experience of pity and terror) corresponds to an earlier ritual katharsis ("a purification of the community from the taints and poisons of the past year, the old contagion of sin and death"), which was the function of the festival and mystery play of the dismembered bull-god, Dionysos. The meditating mind is united, in the mystery play, not with the body that is shown to die, but with the principle of continuous life that for a time inhabited it, and for that time was the reality clothed in the apparition (at once the sufferer and the secret cause), the substratum into which our selves dissolve when the "tragedy that breaks man's face" l' has split, shattered, and dissolved our mortal frame” (Campbell 19-20). "No creature," writes Ananda Coomaraswamy, "can attain a higher grade of nature without ceasing to exist." (77 Campbell). “To wake the sleeping princess, the soul. Life is her sleep, death the awakening. The hero, the waker of his own soul, is himself but the convenient means of his own dissolution. God, the waker of the soul, is therewith his own immediate death” (Campbell 222-223). “The dominant motive in all truly religious (as opposed to black-magical) ceremonial is that of submission to the inevitables of destiny-and in the seasonal festivals this motive is particularly apparent” (Campbell 331).
RESURRECTION OF SELF: “The simple secret of the Ordeal is this: Heroes must die so that they can be reborn. The dramatic movement that audiences enjoy more than any other is death and rebirth” (Vogler 155). This is a critical moment in any story, an Ordeal in which the hero must die or appear to die so that she can be born again. It's a major source of the magic of the heroic myth. The experiences of the preceding stages have led us, the audience, to identify with the hero and her fate. What happens to the hero happens to us. We are encouraged to experience the brink-of-death moment with her. Our emotions are temporarily depressed so that they can be revived by the hero's return from death. The result of this revival is a feeling of elation and exhilaration” (Vogler 15).
“Only birth can conquer death-the birth, not of the old thing again, but of something new. Within the soul, within the body social, there must be-if we are to experience long survival-a continuous "recurrence of birth" (palingenesis) to nullify the unremitting recurrences of death. For it is by means of our own victories, if we are not regenerated, that the work of Nemesis is wrought: doom breaks from the shell of our very virtue. Peace then is a snare; war is a snare; change is a snare; permanence a snare. When our day is come for the victory of death, death closes in; there is nothing we can do, except be crucified-and resurrected; dismembered totally, and then reborn” (Campbell 11-12).
“The hero, therefore, is the man or woman who has been able to battle past his personal and local historical limitations to the generally valid, normally human forms. Such a one's visions, ideas, and inspirations come pristine from the primary springs of human life and thought. Hence they are eloquent, not of the present, disintegrating society and psyche, but of the unquenched source through which society is reborn. The hero has died as a modern man; but as eternal man-perfected, unspecific, universal man-he has been reborn” (Campbell 14-15).
“This is also the key element in rites of passage or rituals of initiation into fraternities and secret societies. The initiate is forced to taste death in some terrible experience, and then is allowed to experience resurrection as he is reborn as a new member of the group. The hero of every story is an initiate being introduced to the mysteries of life and death” (Vogler 16).
Spielberg's E.T. dies before our eyes but is reborn through alien magic and a boy's love. Sir Lancelot, remorseful over having killed a gallant knight, prays him back to life. Clint Eastwood's character in Uriforgiven is beaten senseless by a sadistic sheriff and hovers at the edge of death, thinking he's seeing angels. Sherlock Holmes, apparently killed with Professor Moriarity in the plunge over Reichenbach Falls, defies death and returns transformed and ready for more adventures. Patrick Swayze's character, murdered in Ghost, learns how to cross back through the veil to protect his wife and finally express his true love for her” (Vogler 156).
UNION OF OPPOSITES: One of the great ordeals in mythology is the sacred marriage or hieros gamos. As Jung discusses, in alchemy this is called the mysterium conjuncionis – the mysterious conjunction of opposites. Throughout the Ordeal, according to Campbell, characters undergo experiences with masculine and feminine representatives that bring them into harmony with the other and enable them to experience atonement – at one ment – with the divine.
Vogler picks up on this motif. “In a Sacred Marriage both sides of the personality are acknowledged to be of equal value” (Vogler 168). Sacred Marriage "represents the hero's total mastery of life," a balanced marriage between the hero and life itself. Therefore the Ordeal may be a crisis in which the hero is joined with the repressed feminine or masculine side in a Sacred Marriage” (Vogler 168).
Campbell writes, “the ultimate adventure, when all the barriers and ogres have been overcome, is commonly represented as a mystical marriage of the triumphant hero-soul with the Queen Goddess of the World. This is the crisis at the nadir, at the zenith, or at the uttermost edge of the earth, at the central point of the cosmos, in the tabernacle of the temple, or within the darkness of the deepest chamber of the heart” (Campbell 91). Recall the image of Osiris in the innermost chamber of Aker, down in the depths of the Amduat. It is exactly at this time he is conceiving with Isis, queen of the gods, who is directly above him, in the sky—taking the form of a bird. In this moment, the union is across the entire axis mundi. This is the marriage of above and below—the union of all opposites.
ATONEMENT WITH FATHER: “For the ogre aspect of the father is a reflex of the victim's own ego-derived from the sensational nursety scene that has been left behind, bur projected before; and the fixating idolatry of that pedagogical nonthing is itself the fault that keeps one steeped in a sense of sin, sealing the potentially adult spirit from a better balanced, more realistic view of the father, and therewith of the world. Atonement (at-one-ment) consists in no more than the abandonment of that self-generated double monster-the dragon thought to be God (superego)* and the dragon thought to be Sin (repressed id). But this requires an abandonment of the attachment to ego itself; and that is what is difficult. One must have a faith that the father is merciful, and then a reliance on that mercy. Therewith, the center of belief is transferred outside of the bedeviling god's tight scaly ring, and the dreadful ogres dissolve” (Campbell 107-109).
“When the child outgrows the popular idyl of the mother breast and turns to face the world of specialized adult action, it passes, spiritually, into the sphere of the father-who becomes, for his son, the sign of the future task, and for his daughter, of the future husband. Whether he knows it or not, and no matter what his position in society, the father is the initiating priest through whom the young being passes on into the larger world” (Campbell 115).
“The mystagogue (father or father-substitute) is to entrust the symbols of office only to a son who has been effectually purged of all inappropriate infantile cathexes-for whom the just, impersonal exercise of the powers will not be rendered impossible by unconscious (or perhaps even conscious and rationalized) motives of self-aggrandizement, personal preference, or resentment. Ideally, the invested one has been divested of his mere humanity and is representative of an impersonal cosmic force. He is the twiceborn: he has become himself the father. And he is competent, consequently, now to enact himself the role of the initiator, the guide, the
sun door, through whom one may pass from the infantile illusions of "good" and "evil" to an experience of the majesty of cosmic law, purged of hope and fear, and at peace in the understanding of the revelation of being” (115- Campbell 116).
Regenerative Energy of Father the world-begetting affirmative of the father: "Life must be!" In
full awareness of the life anguish of the creatures of his hand, in full consciousness of the roaring wilderness of pains, the brain-splitting fires of the deluded, self-ravaging, lustful, angry universe of his creation, this divinity acquiesces in the deed of supplying life to life. To withhold the seminal waters would be to annihilate; yet to give them forth is to create this world that we know” (Campbell 125).
“The problem of the hero going to meet the father is to open his soul beyond terror to such a degree that he will be ripe to understand how the sickening and insane tragedies of this vast and ruthless cosmos are completely validated in the majesty of Being. The hero transcends life with its peculiar blind spot and for a moment rises to a glimpse of the source. He beholds the face of the father, understands-and the two are atoned. For the son who has grown really to know the father, the agonies of the ordeal are readily borne; the world is no longer a vale of tears but a bliss-yielding, perpetual manifestation of the Presence” (Campbell 125-126).
Atonement with Father EXAMPLE: “When the Twin Warriors of the Navaho, having departed from Spider Woman with her advice and protective charms, had made their perilous way between the rocks that crush, through the reeds that cut to pieces, and the cactus plants that tear to pieces, and then across the boiling sands, they came at last to the house of the Sun, their father. (Campbell 109)
The door was guarded by two bears. These arose and growled; but the words that Spider Woman had taught the boys made the animals crouch down again. After the bears, there threatened a pair of serpents, then winds, then lightnings: the guardians of the ultimate threshold.t(Campbell 109)
All were readily appeased, however, with the words of the prayer. Built of turquoise, the house of the Sun was great and square, and it stood on the shore of a mighty water. The boys entered it, and they beheld a woman sitting in the west, two handsome young men in the south, two handsome young women in the north. The young women stood up without a word, wrapped the newcomers in four sky-coverings, and placed them on a shelf. The boys lay quietly. Presently a rattle hanging over the door shook fout times and one of the young women said, "Our father is coming." (Campbell 110)
The bearer of the sun strode into his home, removed the sun from his back, and hung it on a peg on the west wall of the room, where it shook and clanged for some time, going "da, da, tla, tla." (Campbell 110)
He turned to the older woman and demanded angrily: "Who were those two that entered here today?" But the woman did not reply. The young people looked at one another. The bearer of the sun put his question angrily four times before the woman said to him at last: "It would be well for you not to say too much. Two young men came hither today, seeking their father. You have told me that you pay no visits when you go abroad, and that you have met no woman but me. Whose sons, then, are these?" She pointed to the bundle on the shelf, and the children smiled significantly at one another. (Campbell 110)
The bearer of the sun took the bundle from the shelf, unrolled the four robes (the robes of dawn, blue sky, yellow evening light, and darkness), and the boys fell out on the floor. He immediately seized them. Fiercely, he flung them at some great sharp spikes of white shell that stood in the east. The boys tightly clutched their life-feathers and bounded back. The man hurled them, equally, at spikes of turquoise in the south, haliotis in the west, and black rock in the north. The boys always clutched their life-feathers tightly and came bounding back. "I wish it were indeed true," said the Sun, "that they were my children. (Campbell 110)"
The terrible father assayed then to steam the boys to death in an overheated sweatlodge. They were aided by the winds, who provided a protected retreat within the lodge in which to hide. "Yes, these are my children," said the Sun when they emerged-but that was only a ruse; for he was still planning to trick them. The final ordeal was a smoking-pipe filled with poison. A spiny caterpillar warned the boys and gave them something to put into their mouths. They smoked the pipe without harm, passing it back and forth to one another till it was finished. They even said it tasted sweet. The Sun was proud. He was completely satisfied. "Now, my children," he asked, "what is it you want from me? Why do you seek me?" The Twin Heroes had won the full confidence of the Sun, their father” (Campbell 110).
MEETING WITH THE GODDESS: “Heroes are ultimately seeking a confrontation with their anima, their soul, or the unrecognized feminine or intuitive parts of their personality” (Vogler 167). “To wake the sleeping princess, the soul. Life is her sleep, death the awakening. The hero, the waker of his own soul, is himself but the convenient means of his own dissolution. God, the waker of the soul, is therewith his own immediate death” (Campbell 222-223).
“The hero, whether god or goddess, man or woman, the figure in a myth or the dreamer of a dream, discovers and assimilates his opposite (his own unsuspected self) either by swallowing it or by being swallowed” (Campbell 89). Hero’s “Must see Woman as Spiritual instead of reducing her to corpse – asceticisms projections onto Women must be seen through The kabbalistic teachings of the medieval Jews, as well as the Gnostic Christian writings of the second century, represent the Word Made Flesh as androgynous-which was indeed the state of Adam as he was created, before the female aspect, Eve, was removed into another form” (Campbell 137).
“And among the Greeks, not only Hermaphrodite (the child of Hermes and Aphrodite),89 but Eros too, the divinity of love (the first of the gods, according to Plato) ,9° were in sex both female and male. "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them."9 1 The question may arise in the mind as to the nature of the image of God; but the answer is already given in the text, and is clear enough. "When the Holy One, Blessed be He, created the first man, He created him androgynous."92 The removal of the feminine into another form symbolizes the beginning of the fall from perfection into duality; and it was naturally followed by the discovery of the duality of good and evil, exile from the garden where God walks on earth, and thereupon the building of the Wall of Paradise, constituted of the "coincidence of opposites, "93 by which Man (now man and woman) is cut off from not only the vision but even the recollection of the image of God” (Campbell 137).
“This is the biblical version of a myth known to many lands. It represents one of the basic ways of symbolizing the mystery of creation: the devolvement of eternity into time, the breaking of the one into the two and then the many, as well as the generation of new life through the reconjunction of the two. This image stands at the beginning of the cosmogonic cycle,94 and with equal propriety at the conclusion of the hero-task, at the moment when the wall of Paradise is dissolved, the divine form found and recollected, and wisdom regained” (Campbell 131-132). “The bisexual god … is the mystery of the theme of initiation. We are taken from the mother, chewed into fragments, and assimilated to the world-annihilating body of the ogre for whom all the precious forms and beings are only the courses of a feast; but then, miraculously reborn, we are more than we were. If the God is a tribal, racial, national, or sectarian archetype, we are the warriors of his cause; but if he is a lord of the universe itself, we then go forth as knowers to whom alL men are brothers. And in either case, the childhood parent images and ideas of "good" and "evil" have been surpassed. We no longer desire and fear; we are what was desired and feared. All the gods, Bodhisattvas, and Buddhas have been subsumed in us, as in the halo of the mighty holder of the lotus of the world” (Campbell 132).
“This is the meaning of those Tibetan images of the union of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas with their own feminine aspects that have seemed so indecent to many Christian critics. According to one of the traditional ways of looking at these supports of meditation, the female form (Tibetan: yurn) is to be regarded as time and the male (yab) as eternity. The union of the two is productive of the world, in which all things are at once temporal and eternal, created in the image of this self-knowing male-female God. The initiate, through meditation, is led to the recollection of this Form of forms (yab-yurn) within himself. Or on the other hand, the male figure may be regarded as symbolizing the initiating principle, the method; in which case the female denotes the goal to which initiation leads. But this goal is nirviir;a (eternity). And so it is that both the male and the female are to be envisioned, alternately, as time and eternity. That is to say, the two are the same, each is both, and the dual form (yabyurn) is only an effect of illusion, which itself, however, is not different from enlightenment” (Campbell 145-146).
“In the Eskimo story of Raven in the belly of the whale, the motif of the fire sticks has suffered a dislocation and subsequent rationalization. The archetype of the hero in the belly of the whale is widely known. The principal deed of the adventurer is usually to make fire with his fire sticks in the interior of the monster, thus bringing about the whale's death and his own release. Fire making in this manner is symbolic of the sex act. The two sticks-socket-stick and spindleare known respectively as the female and the male; the flame is the newly generated life. The hero making fire in the whale is a variant of the sacred marriage” (Campbell 212).
ENLIGHTENMENT & ELIXIR
Enlightenment, the Ultimate Boon and unification of opposites: Enlightenment follows the recognition of self that blocks greater insight. The block is typically one-sidedness of some form. To remove this block is to allow the union of opposites, synthesis (Hegel), “sacred marriage” or “heiros gamos” (Jung). Unified opposites could include anything from the masculine and feminine, conscious and unconscious, ego and shadow, sacred and profane, mortal and divine, local and foreign modalities, and so on. Fundamentally, this is the conscious self with that it has experienced as other, which is not just the synthesis of opposites, but also one and manifold. This can be experienced as mystical oneness or apotheosis, which is often conflated with enlightenment. The reflexive oneness of the individual with the all can be symbolically represented as powers over reality itself. This is complimented by the enlightened realization that disempowerment was an ignorant illusion in the first place. Contingent with the experience of oneness is what the Buddha called sunyatta, patticca samupadda, and anatman, which describe the emptiness of self and all things that in fact depend on the mutual co-arising of things in interaction. Such enlightenment is contingent with Nirvana—the extinguishing of desire, hostility and delusion Such atonement, especially in the context of integration with that which had been demonized as “other” typically manifests feelings of love and forgiveness. It is even possible for love to serve as the actuating insight that enables such atonement. Symbolically, enlightenment, atonement, and the redeeming energy of life is represented through totems like the Holy Grail and its elixir, which literally reflects the hero’s submarine opposite and can only be integrated by a kiss followed by willful imbibing (visualize the drinking process). The boon, however, can be symbolized in a variety of ways, which may be extremely specific to the story and/or expressive of enormous universal patterns. Fundamentally, the boon is the baby itself, brought forth from the depths of womb.
godlike being is a pattern of the divine state to which the human hero attains who has gone beyond the last terrors of ignorance. "When the envelopment of consciousness has been annihilated, then he becomes free of all fear, beyond the reach of change."85 This is the release potential within us all, and which anyone can attain-through hero hood; for, as we read: "All things are Buddha-things";86 or again (and this is the other way of making the same statement): "All beings are without self." Campbell 127
INTRO TO BOON: boon bestowed on the worshiper is always scaled to his stature and to the nature of his dominant desire: the boon is simply a symbol of life energy stepped down to the requirements of a certain specific case. The irony, of course, lies in the fact that, whereas the hero who has won the favor of the god may beg for the boon of perfect illumination, what he generally seeks are longer years to live, weapons with which to slay his neighbor, or the health of his child. Campbell 163
The hero, therefore, is the man or woman who has been able to battle past his personal and local historical limitations to the generally valid, normally human forms. Such a one's visions, ideas, and inspirations come pristine from the primary springs of human life and thought. Hence they are eloquent, not of the present, disintegrating society and psyche, but of the unquenched source through which society is reborn. The hero has died as a modern man; but as eternal man-perfected, unspecific, universal man-he has been reborn. Campbell 14-15
Having survived death, beaten the dragon, or slain the Minotaur, hero and audience have cause to celebrate. The hero now takes possession of the treasure she has come seeking, her Reward. It might be a special weapon like a magic sword, or a token like the Grail or some elixir which can heal the wounded land. Vogler 16
TAKING POSSESSION One of the essential aspects of this step is the hero taking possession of whatever she came seeking. Treasure hunters take the gold, spies snatch the secret, pirates plunder the captured ship, an uncertain hero seizes her self-respect, a slave seizes control of his own destiny. A transaction has been made - the hero has risked death or sacrificed life, and now gets something in exchange. The Norse god Odin, in his Supreme Ordeal, gives up an eye and hangs on the World-Tree for nine days and nights. His Reward is the knowledge of all things and the ability to read the sacred runes. Vogler 178
The prize is not always given, even if it has been paid for or earned. It must be taken. Campbell calls this motif "elixir theft." Vogler 179
Campbell's term for it is "The Ultimate Boon." Another concept is the Holy Grail, an ancient and mysterious symbol for all the unattainable things of the soul that knights and heroes quest after. A rose or a jewel may be the treasure in another story. The wily Monkey King of Chinese legends is seeking the sacred Buddhist sutras that have been taken to Tibet. Vogler 179
Initiation into secret societies, sororities, or fraternities means that you are privy to certain secrets and sworn never to reveal them. You pass tests to prove your worthiness. You may be put through a ritual deathand- rebirth Ordeal and may be given a new name and rank to signify you are a newborn being. Vogler 180
Enlightenment and Boon
“The happy ending of the fairy tale, the myth, and the divine comedy of the soul is to be read, not as a contradiction, but as a transcendence of the universal tragedy of man. The objective world remains what it was, but, because of a shift of emphasis within the subject, is beheld as though transformed. Where formerly life and death contended, now enduring being is made manifest-as indifferent to the accidents of time as water boiling in a pot is to the destiny of a bubble, or as the cosmos to the appearance and disappearance of a galaxy of stars” (Campbell 21).
“Enlightenment This is the stage of Narcissus looking into the pool, of the Buddha sitting contemplative under the tree, but it is not the ultimate goal; it is a requisite step, but not the end. The aim is not to see, but to realize that one is, that essence; then one is free to wander as that essence in the world. Furthermore: the world too is of that essence. The essence of oneself and the essence of the world: these rwo are one. Hence separateness, withdrawal, is no longer necessary. Wherever the hero may wander, whatever he may do, he is ever in the presence of his own essence-for he has the perfe.cted eye to see. There is no separateness….Centered in this hub-point, the question of selfishness or altruism disappears. The individual has lost himself in the law and been reborn in identity with the whole meaning of the universe” (Campbell 333).
The adventure of the hero represents the moment in his life when he achieved illumination-the nuclear moment when, while still alive, he found and opened the road to the light beyond the dark walls of our living death” (Campbell 222).
Knowledge and Elixirs of Immortality – Grail and stone
Gilbert Murray has pointed our in his preface to Ingram Bywater's translation of the Poetics of Aristotle,JO tragic katharsis (i.e., the "purification" or "purgation" of the emotions of the spectator of tragedy through his experience of pity and terror) corresponds to an earlier ritual katharsis ("a purification of the community from the taints and poisons of the past year, the old contagion of sin and death"), which was the function of the festival and mystery play of the dismembered bull-god, Dionysos. The meditating mind is united, in the mystery play, not with the body that is shown to die, but with the principle of continuous life that for a time inhabited it, and for that time was the reality clothed in the apparition (at once the sufferer and the secret cause), the substratum into which our selves dissolve when the "tragedy that breaks man's face" l' has split, shattered, and dissolved our mortal frame Campbell 19-20
Appear, appear, whatso thy shape or name, o Mountain Bull, Snake of the Hundred Heads, Lion of the Burning Flame! o God, Beast, Mystery, come! This death to the logic and the emotional commitments of our chance moment in the world of space and time, this recognition of, and shift of our emphasis to, the universal life that throbs and celebrates its victory in the very kiss of our own annihilation, this amor foti, "love of fate," love of the fate that is inevitably death, constitutes the experience of the tragic art: therein the joy of it, the redeeming ecstasy: Campbell 20
An elixir can also be a medicine that heals every ill, a magical substance that restores life. In alch emy the elixir is one of the steps towards the philosopher's stone which can transmute metals, create life, and transcend death. This ability to overcome the forces of death is the real Elixir most heroes seek. Vogler 179
Arthur C Clarke – Stone
“We need recovery. We should look at green again, and be startles anew (but not blinded) by blue and yellow and red. We should meet the centaur and the dragon, and then perhaps suddenly behold, like the ancient shepherds, sheep, and dogs, and horses—and wolves. This recovery fairy-stories help us to make. In that sense only a taste for them may make us, or keep us, childish” (Tolkien 57)
“Recovery (which includes return and renewal of health) is a re-gaining—regaining of a clear view. I do not say “seeing things as they are; and involve myself with the phlosophers, though I might venture to say ‘seeing things as we are (or were) meant to see them;--as things apart rom ourselves. We need, in any case, to clean our windows: so that the thigs seen clearly may be freed from te drab blur or triteness or familiarity—from possessiveness. “ (Tolkien 58).
Heroes may find that surviving death grants new powers or better perceptions. In the previous chapter we spoke of death's ability to sharpen the perception of life. This is beautifully captured in the northern tale of Sigurd the dragon-killer. Sigurd's Supreme Ordeal is to slay a dragon named Fafnir. A drop of the dragon's blood happens to fall on Sigurd's tongue. He has truly tasted death, and for this is granted new powers of perception. He can understand the language of the birds, and hears two of them warning him that his Mentor, the dwarf Regin, plans to kill him. He is saved from a second deadly danger because of his newfound power, the Reward for surviving death. New knowledge may be the sword that the hero seizes. Vogler 180
SEEING THROUGH DECEPTION
A hero may be granted a new insight or understanding of a mystery as her Reward. She may see through a deception. If she has been dealing with a shapeshifting partner, she may see through his disguises and perceive the reality for the first time. Vogler 180-181).
After transcending death, a hero may even become clairvoyant or telepathic, sharing in the power of the immortal gods. Clairvoyant means simply "seeing clearly." A hero who has faced death is more aware of the connectedness of things, more intuitive. Vogler 181
James Joyce expanded the meaning of the word epiphany, using it to mean a sudden perception of the essence of something, seeing to the core of a person, idea, or thing. Heroes sometimes experience a sudden understanding of the nature of things after passing through an Ordeal. Surviving death gives meaning to life and sharpens perceptions. Vogler 182
SELF-REALIZATION Insight might be of a deeper type. Heroes can sometimes experience a profound self-realization after tricking death. They see who they are and how they fit into the scheme of things. They see the ways they've been foolish or stubborn. The scales fall from their eyes and the illusion of their lives is replaced with clarity and truth. Maybe it doesn't last long, but for a moment heroes see themselves clearly. Vogler 181
One and Many
THE FORWARD ROLL of the cosmogonic round precipitates the One into the many. Herewith a great crisis, a rift, splits the created world into rwo apparently contradictory planes of being. In Paiore's chart the people emerge from the lower darknesses and immediately go to work to elevate the Sky Campbell 241
In Egyptian iconography the position of the cosmic couple is inverted: the sky is the mother, the father is the vitality of the earth;J9 but the pattern of the myth remains: the two were pushed asunder by their child, the air god Shu Campbell 242
the world and the age between deep sleep and waking consciousness, the zone where the One breaks into the manifold and the many are reconciled in the One. Campbell 253
"For the One who has become many, remains the One undivided, but each part is all of Christ," we read in the writings of Saint Symeon the younger (A.D. 949-1022). "I saw Him in my house," the saint goes on. Among all those everyday things He appeared unexpectedly and became unutterably united and merged with me, and leaped over to me without anything in between, as fire to iron, as the light to glass. And He made me like fire and like light. And r became that which r saw before and beheld from afar. r do not know how to relate this miracle to you .... I am man by nature, and God by the grace of GodY A comparable vision is described in the apocryphal Gospel of Eve. r stood on a lofdy mountain and saw a gigantic man and another a dwarf; and r heard as it were a voice of thunder, and drew nigh for to hear; and He spake unto me and said: I am thou, and thou art I; and wheresoever thou mayest be I am there. In all am I scattered, and whensoever thou willest, thou gatherest Me; and gathering Me, thou gatherest Thyself. 43
The two-the hero and his ultimate god, the seeker and the found-are thus understood as the outside and inside of a single, selfmirrored mystery, which is identical with the mystery of the manifest world. The great deed of the supreme hero is to come to the knowledge of this unity in multiplicity and then to make it known. Campbell 31
All is Love
Once we have broken free of the prejudices of our own provincially limited ecclesiastical, tribal, or national rendition of the world archetypes, it becomes possible to understand that the supreme initiation is not that of the local motherly fathers, who then project aggression onto the neighbors for their own defense. The good news, which the World Redeemer brings and which so many have been glad to hear, zealous to preach, but reluctant, apparently, to demonstrate, is that God is love, that He can be, and is to be, loved, and that all without exception are his children."° Such comparatively trivial matters as the remaining details of the credo, the techniques of worship, and devices of episcopal organization (which have so absorbed the interest of Occidental theologians that they are today seriously discussed as the principal questions of religion), are merely pedantic snares, unless kept ancillaty to the major teaching 135
Briefly, Nirvana means "the Extinguishing of the Threefold Fire of Desire, Hostility, and Delusion." As the reader will recall: in the legend of the Temptation under the Bo Tree (see above, pp. 24-25) the antagonist of the Future Buddha was Kama-Mara, literally "Desire-Hostility," or "Love and Death," the magician of Delusion. He was a personification of the Threefold Fire 138-139
Briefly, Nirvana means "the Extinguishing of the Threefold Fire of Desire, Hostility, and Delusion." As the reader will recall: in the legend of the Temptation under the Bo Tree (see above, pp. 24-25) the antagonist of the Future Buddha was Kama-Mara, literally "Desire-Hostility," or "Love and Death," the magician of Delusion. He was a personification of the Threefold Fire Campbell 138-139
Secular AND mundane
Herein lies the basic paradox of myth: the paradox of the dual focus….From the perspective of the source, the world is a majestic harmony of forms pouring into being, exploding, and dissolving. But what the swiftly passing creatures experience is a terrible cacaphony of battle cries and pain. The myths do not deny this agony (the crucifixion); they reveal within, behind, and around it essential peace (the heavenly rose). Campbell 247
The shift of perspective from the repose of the central Cause to the turbulation of the peripheral effects is represented in the Fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. They ate of the forbidden fruit, "And the eyes of them both were opened."44 The bliss of Paradise was closed to them and they beheld the created field from the other side of a transforming veil. Henceforth they should experience the inevitable as the hard to gain. Campbell 247).
Art derives a considerable part of its beneficial exercise from flying in the face of presumptions, and some of the most interesting experiments of which it is capable are hidden in the bosom of common things. 15 H James
Transcending Dualistic Logic – W. Philosophy vs. E. Religion
Appear, appear, whatso thy shape or name, o Mountain Bull, Snake of the Hundred Heads, Lion of the Burning Flame! o God, Beast, Mystery, come! This death to the logic and the emotional commitments of our chance moment in the world of space and time, this recognition of, and shift of our emphasis to, the universal life that throbs and celebrates its victory in the very kiss of our own annihilation, this amor foti, "love of fate," love of the fate that is inevitably death, constitutes the experience of the tragic art: therein the joy of it, the redeeming ecstasy: Campbell 20
At Lykaion was an oracle, presided over by the nymph Erato, whom Pan inspired, as Apollo the prophetess at Delphi. And Plutarch numbers the ecstasies of the orgiastic rites of Pan along with the ecstasy of Cybele, the Bacchic frenzy of Dionysos, the poetic frenzy inspired by the Muses, the warrior frenzy of the god Ares (= Mars), and, fiercest of all, the frenzy of love, as illustrations of that divine "enthusiasm" that overturns the reason and releases the forces of the destructive-creative dark. 67
“I don’t know how many times in developing stories I have referenced the archetypes of Star Wars,” Abrams says. “As a fan of Joseph Campbell and the use of myth in storytelling, you could argue that it is a classic paradigm but it is the common language among all of us because we are all so familiar with the Star Wars canon. It’s hard to remember breaking a story for an episode of a show, whether it was Lost, Alias or even Felicity and not feel like there was some way to reference the love triangle you felt in Episode IV or the struggle of good and evil that you have seen in all six of the films.” http://www.starwars.com/news/director-j-j-abrams-and-his-lifelong-appreciation-of-star-wars
Mythology does not hold as its greatest hero the merely virtuous man. Virtue is but the pedagogical prelude to the culminating insight, which goes beyond all pairs of opposites. Virtue quells the self-centered ego and makes the transpersonal centeredness possible; but when that has been achieved, what then of the pain or pleasure, vice or virtue, either of our own ego or of any other? Through all, the transcendent force is then perceived which lives in all, in all is wonderful, and is worthy, in all, of our profound obeisance. Campbell 35-36
Mythology, in this respect, makes the tragic attitude seem somewhat hysterical, and the merely moral judgment shortsighted. 37
THE RETURN – GENERAL
The hero’s “second solemn task and deed therefore (as Toynbee declares and as all the mythologies of mankind indicate) is to return then to us, transfigured, and teach the lesson he has learned of life renewed” (Campbell 15).
“The return and reintegration with society, which is indispensable to the continuous circulation of spiritual energy into the world, and which, from the standpoint of the community, is the justification of the long retreat, the hero himself may find the most difficult requirement of all. For if he has won through, like the Buddha, to the profound repose of complete enlightenment, there is danger that the bliss of this experience may annihilate all recollection of, interest in, or hope for, the sorrows of the world; or else the problem of making known the way of illumination to people wrapped in economic problems may seem too great to solve. And on the other hand, if the hero, instead of submitting to all of the initiatory tests, has, like Prometheus, simply darted to his goal (by violence, quick device, or luck) and plucked the boon for the world that he intended, then the powers that he has unbalanced may react so sharply that he will be blasted from within and without-crucified, like Prometheus, on the rock of his own violated unconscious. Or if the hero, in the third place, makes his safe and willing return, he may meet with such a blank misunderstanding and disregard from those whom he has come to help that his career will collapse. The third of the following chapters will conclude the discussion of these prospects under six subheadings” (Campbell 29).
REFUSAL OF THE RETURN
The protagonist is called to deliver what has been retrieved, but for various reasons, there is often a hesitation or even refusal to return. This has to do with the character’s deep acclimation to the other world, which has brought meaning to the character’s life to which little in the mundane world can compare. The hero may also believe that the retrieved elixir will be resisted or denied by those at home who are entrenched in ways that the elixir will change. Such a struggle is not immediately attractive to the hero who has achieved the bliss of enlightenment/union/atonement.
Campbell writes, “When the Hero Quest has been accomplished, through penetration to the source, or through the grace of some male or female, human or animal personification, the adventurer still must return with his life-transmuting trophy. The full round, the norm of the monomyth, requires that the hero shall now begin the labor ofbringing the runes of wisdom, the Golden Fleece, or his sleeping princess back into the kingdom of humanity, where the boon may redound to the renewing of the community, the nation, the planet, or the ten thousand worlds” (Campbell 167).
“But the responsibility has been frequently refused. Even the Buddha, after his triumph, doubted whether the message of realization could be communicated, and saints are reported to have passed away while in the supernal ecstasy. Numerous indeed are the heroes fabled to have taken up residence forever in the blessed isle of the unaging Goddess of Immortal Being” (Campbell 167).
Why does the hero sometimes struggle to choose to return?
Desire to remain in the discovered state of bliss/adventure/union
Doubt that those in the normal world will receive what's been retrieved in a positive way
Unwillingness to return to a reality that is mundane compared to the world known through quest
He can't wait to get home.
The hero does not return to deliver that which has been discovered on the journey
The return journey is a time for the hero to express resolve. The motif of the refusal of the return emphasizes the requirement of a strong choice for the successful return
Whether the boon has been won from a slain dragon or stolen from an antagonist, the forces of the world from which the elixir has been stolen will converge on that hero attempting to leave with it. With the priority of escape as opposed to confrontation, the protagonist flees while rallying antagonistic forces drive a chase sequence. The road back is itself often rigged with its own snares. Symbolically, these rallying antagonistic forces represent the onslaughts of the former self attempting to regain control by attacking and doubting transformative insights and experiences. Until the threat of regression is defeated, the hero is not free from peril. In every way, the former self tries to interfere with the successful construction of the self made whole, which is likely to become impervious to small minded past perspectives.
Campbell writes, “If the monomyth is to fulfill its promise, not human failure or superhuman success but human success is what we shall have to be shown. That is the problem of the crisis of the threshold of the return” (Campbell 178). “If the hero in his triumph wins the blessing of the goddess or the god and is then explicitly commissioned to return to the world with some elixir for the restoration of society, the final stage of his adventure is supported by all the powers of his supernatural patron. On the other hand, if the trophy has been attained against the opposition of its guardian, or if the hero's wish to return to the world has been resented by the gods or demons, then the last stage of the mythological round becomes a lively, often comical, pursuit. This flight may be complicated by marvels of magical obstruction and evasion” (Campbell 171).
What Campbell calls the Magic Flight, Vogler calls The Road Back. He Writes, “This stage marks the decision to return to the Ordinary World. The hero realizes that the Special World must eventually be left behind, and there are still dangers, temptations, and tests ahead” (Vogler 17). “This is a time when the story's energy, which may have ebbed a little in the quiet moments of Seizing the Sword, is now revved up again. If we look at the Hero's Journey as a circle with the beginning at the top, we are still down in the basement and it will take some push to get us back up into the light” (Vogler 187).
With the revving up begins “Act Three…as the hero begins to deal with the consequences of confronting the dark forces of the Ordeal. If she has not yet managed to reconcile with the parent, the gods, or the hostile forces, they may come raging after” (Vogler 17). Things can happen very quickly at this time. As Field describes, it’s possible for “Act III [to] become an entire sequence, a full and complete unit of action” (102).
“The Road Back marks a time when heroes rededicate themselves to the adventure. A plateau of comfort has been reached and heroes must be pried off that plateau, either by their own inner resolve or by an external force. Inner resolve might be represented by a scene of a tired commander rallying dispirited troops after a battle, or a parent pulling a family together after a death or tragedy. An external force might be an alarm going off, a clock ticking, or a renewed threat by a villain. The heroes may be reminded of the ultimate goal of the adventure. The Road Back is a turning point, another threshold crossing which marks the passage from Act Two to Act Three. Like crossing the First Threshold, it may cause a change in the aim of the story” (Vogler 189). “Often heroes are motivated to hit The Road Back when the forces they have defied in the Ordeal now rally and strike back at them. If the elixir was stolen ftom the central forces rather than given freely, there may be dangerous repercussions” (Vogler 189).
“Some of the best chase scenes spring up at this point, as the hero is pursued on The Road Back by the vengeful forces she has disturbed by Seizing the sword, the elixir, or the treasure. Thus Luke and Leia are furiously pursued by Darth Vader as they escape the Death Star. The Road Back in E. T is the moonlight bicycle flight of Elliott and E. T. as they escape from ‘Keys’ (Peter Coyote), who represents repressive governmental authority” (Vogler 189).
“In many cases heroes leave the Special World only because they are running for their lives. Chases may occur in any part of the story, but the end of Act Two is one of the most popular places. Chases are useful for torquing up a story's energy. Audiences may get sleepy at this point, and you have to wake them up with some action or conflict. In the theatre, this stage is called "racing for the curtain," a time when you want to pick up the pace and build momentum for the finish” (Vogler 191).
“In a typical story a little girl escapes from the clutches of a witch with the help of gifts from animals she's been kind to. The girl throws down the gifts one by one in the witch's path and they magically transform into barriers that delay the witch. A comb becomes a thick forest that slows the witch while she gobbles it up. A scarf becomes a wide river which she has to drink” (Vogler 191). Campbell writes, a “well-known variety of the magic flight is one in which a number of delaying obstacles are tossed behind by the wildly fleeing hero” (Campbell 174). “One of the most shocking of the obstacle flights is that of the Greek hero Jason” (Campbell 175). “Then Jason snatched the prize. Medea ran with him, and the Argo put to sea. But the king was soon in swift pursuit. And when Medea perceived that his sails were cutting down their lead, she persuaded Jason to kill Apsyrtos, her younger brother whom she had carried off, and toss the pieces of the dismembered body into the sea. This forced King Aeetes, her father, to put about, rescue the fragments, and go ashore to give them decent burial. Meanwhile the Argo ran with the wind and passed from his ken” (Campbell 176).
Vogler points out that it isn’t uncommon for “a Shadow captured and controlled in the Ordeal [to] escape at this stage and becomes more dangerous than before” (Vogler 192). Whether it’s the shadow figure or its agents, the Magic Flight or Road Back is often defined by a sequence of challenges and setbacks. Vogler writes, “Another twist of The Road Back may be a sudden catastrophic reversal of the hero's good fortune. Things were going well after surviving the Ordeal, but now reality sets in again. Heroes may encounter setbacks that seem to doom the adventure.
“The psychological meaning of such counterattacks is that neuroses, flaws, habits, desires, or addictions we have challenged may retreat for a time, but can rebound in a last-ditch defense or a desperate attack before being vanquished forever. Neuroses have a powerful life force of their own and will strike back when threatened. Addicts who have made a first effort at recovery may fall off the wagon with a vengeance as their addiction fights back for its life” (Vogler 190).
Campbell gives the Welsh tale of Gwion Bach, who found himself in the Land Under Waves, as an extended example. He writes, “he was at the bottom of Lake Bala, in Merionethshire, in the north of Wales. And there lived at the bottom of this lake an ancient giant, Tegid the Bald, together with his wife, Caridwen. The latter, in one of her aspects, was a patroness of grain and fertile crops, and in another, a goddess of poetry and letters. She was the owner of an immense kettle and desired to prepare therein a brew of science and inspiration. With the aid of necromantic books she contrived a black concoction which she then set over a fire to brew for a year, at the end of which period three blessed drops should be obtained of the grace of inspiration.
“And she put our hero, Gwion Bach, to stir the cauldron, and a blind man named Morda to keep the fire kindled beneath it, and she charged them that they should not suffer it to cease boiling for the space of a year and a day. And she herself, according to the books of the astronomers, and in planetary hours, gathered every day of all charm bearing herbs. And one day, towards the end of the year, as Caridwen was culling plants and making incantations, it chanced that three drops of the charmed liquor flew out of the cauldron and fell upon the finger of Gwion Bach. And by reason of their great heat he put his finger in his mouth, and the instant he put those marvel-working drops into his mouth he foresaw everything that was to come, and perceived that his chief care must be to guard against the wiles of Caridwen, for vast was her skill. And in very great fear he fled towards his own land. And the cauldron burst in two, because all the liquor within it except the three charm-bearing drops was poisonous, so that the horses of Gwyddno Garanhir were poisoned by the water of the stream into which the liquor of the cauldron ran, and the confluence of that stream was called the Poison of the Horses of Gwyddno from that time forth.
“Thereupon came in Caridwen and sawall the toil of the whole year lost. And she seized a billet of wood and struck the blind Marda on the head until one of his eyes fell out upon his cheek. And he said, "Wrongfully hast thou disfigured me, for I am innocent. Thy loss was not because of me." "Thou speakest truth," said Caridwen, "it was Gwion Bach who robbed me.
“And she went forth after him, running. And he saw her, and changed himself into a hare and fled. But she changed herself into a greyhound and turned him. And he ran towards a river, and became a fish. And she in the form of an otter-bitch chased him under the water, until he was fain to turn himself into a bird of the air. She, as a hawk, followed him and gave him no rest in the sky. And just as she was about to stoop upon him, and he was in fear of death, he espied a heap of winnowed wheat on the floor of a barn, and he dropped among the wheat, and turned himself into one of the grains. Then she transformed herself into a high-crested black hen, and went to the wheat and scratched it with her feet, and found him out and swallowed him. And, as the story says, she bore him nine months, and when she was delivered of him, she could not find it in her heart to kill him, by reason of his beauty. So she wrapped him in a leathern bag, and cast him into the sea to the mercy of God, on the twenty-ninth day of April. The flight is a favorite episode of the folktale, where it is developed under many lively forms” (Campbell 171-173).
As another example of the magic flight, Campbell points to the Buriat of Irkutsk (Siberia)… [who] declare[d] that Morgon-Kara, their first shaman, was so competent that he could bring back souls from the dead. And so the Lord of the Dead complained to the High God of Heaven, and God decided to pose the shaman a test. He got possession of the soul of a certain man and slipped it into a bottle, covering the opening with the ball of his thumb, The man grew ill, and his relatives sent for Morgon-Kara” (Campbell 173).
“The shaman looked everywhere for the missing soul. He searched the forest, the waters, the mountain gorges, the land of the dead, and at last mounted, "sitting on his drum," to the world above, where again he was forced to search for a long time. Presently he observed that the High God of Heaven was keeping a bottle covered with the ball of his thumb, and, studying the circumstance, perceived that inside the bottle was the very soul he had come to find. The wily shaman changed himself into a wasp. He flew at God and gave him such a hot sting on the forehead that the thumb jerked from the opening and the captive got away. Then the next thing God knew, there was this shaman, Morgon-Kara, sitting on his drum again, and going down to earth with the recovered soul. The flight in this case, however, was not entirely successful. Becoming terribly angry, God immediately diminished the power of the shaman forever by splitting his drum in two. And so that is why shaman drums, which originally (according to this story of the Buriat) were fitted with two heads of skin, from that day to this have had only one” (Campbell 173-174).
Providing another example, he writes “A little brother and sister were playing by a spring, and as they did so suddenly tumbled in. There was a waterhag down there, and this waterhag said, ‘Now 1 have you! Now you shall work your heads off for me!’ And she carried them away with her. She gave to the little girl a tangle of filthy flax to spin and made her fetch water in a bottomless tub; the boy had to chop a tree with a blunt ax; and all they ever had to eat were stone-hard lumps of dough. So at last the children became so impatient that they waited until one Sunday, when the hag had gone to church, and escaped. When church let out, the hag discovered that her birds had flown, and so made after them with mighry bounds.
“But the children espied her from afar, and the little girl threw back a hairbrush, which immediately turned into a big brush mountain with thousands and thousands of bristles over which the hag found it very difficult to climb; nevertheless, she finally appeared. As soon as the children saw her, the boy threw back a comb, which immediately turned into a big comb-mountain with a thousand times a thousand spikes; but the hag knew how to catch hold of these, and at last she made her way through. Then the little girl threw back a mirror, and this turned into a mirror-mountain, which was so smooth that the hag was unable to get over. Thought she: "I shall hurry back home and get my ax and chop the mirror-mountain in rwo." But by the time she got back and demolished the glass, the children were long since far away, and the waterhag had to trudge back again to her spring” (Campbell 174-175).
Chase Scenes tend to gravitate towards the phase of the Hero’s Journey knowns as the Magic Flight or Return Journey
The excitement of an intense flight serves to rev up the energy of the story as the Climax is approached.
One of the psychological challenges of the return journey is the thread of regression—a new insight and self has been discovered, but regression to one’s past way of being is still felt (if not feared) as a possibility
Motivation to depart from the special world is often a need to escape approaching threats
Escape is with that thing, person, or knowledge needed by the world to which the hero is attempting a return
Obstacles are often in the way of the hero’s return
RESCUE FROM WITHOUT
The hero may need help from the world to which he is returning in order to cross the threshold. Such help could be anything from an initial call for return to a physical rescue from pursuing demons, or even CPR on the waiting body.
“THE HERO may have to be brought back from his supernatural adventure by assistance from without. That is to say, the world may have to come and get him. For the bliss of the deep abode is not lightly abandoned in favor of the self-scattering of the wakened state. "Who having cast off the world," we read, "would desire to return again? He would be only there." 10 And yet, in so far as one is alive, life will call. Society is jealous of those who remain away from it, and will come knocking at the door. If the hero-like Muchukunda-is unwilling, the disturber suffers an ugly shock; but on the other hand, if the summoned one is only delayed-sealed in by the beatitude of the state of perfect being (which resembles death)-an apparent rescue is effected, and the adventurer returns” (Campbell 178-179).
“Inanna, it will be remembered, descended from the heavens into the hell region of her sister-opposite, the Queen of Death, Ereshkigal. And she left behind Ninshubur, her messenger, with instructions to rescue her should she not return. She arrived naked before the seven judges; they fastened their eyes upon her, she was turned into a corpse, and the corpse-as we have seen-was hung upon a stake…
After three days and three nights had passed, *
Inanna 's messenger Ninshubur,
Her messenger of favorable words,
Her carrier of supporting words,
Filled the heaven with complaints for her,
Cried for her in the assembly shrine,
Rushed about for her in the house of the gods . ...
Like a pauper in a single garment he dressed for her,
To the Ekur, the house of Enlil, all alone he directed his step.
This is the beginning of the rescue of the goddess, and illustrates
the case of one who so knew the power of the zone into which she
was entering that she took the precaution to have herself aroused.
Ninshubur went first to the god Enlil; but the god said that, Inanna
having gone from the great above to the great below, in the nether
world the decrees of the nether world should prevail. Ninshubur next
went to the god Nanna; but the god said that she had gone from
the great above to the great below, and that in the nether world the
decrees of the nether world should prevail. Ninshubur went to the
god Enlci; and the god Enki devised a plan. He fashioned rwo sexless
creatures and entrusted to them the "food of life" and the "water of
life" with instructions to proceed to the nether world and sprinkle
this food and water sixty times on Inanna's suspended corpse.
Upon the corpse hungfrom a stake they directed the fear of the rays of fire,
Sixty times the food of life, sixty times the water of life, they sprinkled upon it,
Inanna ascends from the nether world,
The Anunnaki fled,
And whoever of the nether world may have descended
peacefully to the nether world,·
When Inanna ascends from the nether world,
Verily the dead hasten ahead of her.
Inanna ascends from the nether world,
The small demons like reeds,
The large demons like tablet styluses,
Walked at her side.
Who walked in front of her, held a staff in hand,
Who walked at her side, carried a weapon on the loin.
They who preceded her,
They who preceded Inanna,
Were beings who know not food, who know not water,
Who eat not sprinkled flour,
Who drink not libated wine,
Who take away the wife from the loins of man,
Who take away the child from the breast of the nursing mother.
Surrounded by this ghostly, ghastly crowd, Inanna wandered through
the land of Sumer, from city to city.'” (Campbell 184-186).
Here we see Inanna’s rescue from without – by the fingernail dirt creatures who brought Inanna the water and food of life while bringing empathy to the underworld’s queen, Erishkigal.
From Inanna, Campbell turns to the story of the Raven, which carries us back to Frobenius’ emphasis on journeys through a Whale’s Belly. He writes, “Raven had broken one of the heart-arteries, and the whale-cow had died. The inua never returned. The body of the whale was washed ashore. But now Raven was a prisoner. While he pondered what he should do, he heard two men talking, up on the back of the animal, and they decided to summon all the people from the village to help with the whale. Very soon they had cut a hole in the upper part of the great body. * When it was large enough, and all the people had gone off with pieces of meat to carry them high up on the shore, Raven stepped out unnoticed. But no sooner had he reached the ground than he remembered he had left his fire sticks within. He took off his coat and mask, and pretry soon the people saw a small, black man, wrapped up in a queer animal skin approaching them. They looked at him curiously. The man offered to help, rolled up his sleeves, and set to work.
“In a little while, one of the people working in the interior of the whale shouted, "Look what I have found! Fire sticks in the belly of the whale!" Raven said, "My, but this is bad! My daughter once told me that when fire sticks are found inside a whale that people have cut open, many of these people will die! I'm for running!" He rolled down his sleeves again and made away. The people hurried to follow his example. And so that was how Raven, who then doubled back, had, for a time, the whole feast to himself” (Campbell 179-180).
These “examples from widely separated culture areas—Raven…and Inanna—sufficiently illustrate the rescue from without. They show in the final stages of the adventure the continued operation of the supernatural assisting force that has been attending the elect through the whole course of his ordeal. His consciousness having succumbed, the unconscious nevertheless supplies its own balances, and he is born back into the world from which he came. Instead of holding to and saving his ego, as in the pattern of the magic flight, he loses it, and yet, through grace is returned” (Campbell 186).
Climactic Return Threshold
CLIMACTIC CROSSING OF RETURN THRESHOLD
“The hero…is the man or woman who has been able to battle past his personal and local historical limitations to the generally valid, normally human forms. Such a one's visions, ideas, and inspirations come pristine from the primary springs of human life and thought. Hence they are eloquent, not of the present, disintegrating society and psyche, but of the unquenched source through which society is reborn. The hero has died as a modern man; but as eternal man-perfected, unspecific, universal man-he has been reborn” (Campbell 14-15).
As McKee describes, “a story is a series of acts that build to a last act climax or story climax which brings about absolute and irreversible change” (McKee 42). “The Resurrection usually marks the climax of the drama” (Vogler 202). The crossing of the return threshold is the moment of resurrection and return from the other world through which the protagonist traveled. The newly transformed protagonist returns to deliver the retrieved elixir that will enable a climactic victory against the final imposing force and the redemption of wasteland(s) at home.
As with any major turning events, they are best anchored by a difficult choice made by the protagonist that will convey a transformation in personal philosophy. It will be essential for the hero to transpose the insights gained in the other world into a new understanding of the world at home. Such transposition may be essential to redeeming the wasteland and defeating the final imposing force, who could be the re-born/evaded nemesis from the ordeal or a more tyrannical than shadow-like force, whose will is imposed on home. In my opinion, if the tyrant and shadow are fused into a single nemesis, then the nemesis defeated in the ordeal should chase down the hero and become guardian of the return threshold. If the tyrant and shadow are written as differing forces, however, the two great conflicts (ordeal and climax) may be with separate antagonists. In the world below, it is only the inner tyrant who needs to be defeated for the integration with shadow—the defeat of an external tyrant is optional. In the world above, the removal of an external imposing force is paramount while the symbolic representation of integration with shadow is not necessary (this will be conveyed by the acceptance of elixir and redemption of wasteland). A properly written climax causes irreversible change that answers all questions and closes the story. The French term for this is denouement, which means the untying or unknotting of a story. This is the sequence made obligatory by the original inciting incident/call to adventure/and the fall of home into a state of wasteland, which establish the dramatic need. The controlling idea is that which defines and emerges from the inciting fall to ultimate climax—it is that which defines the central meaning and statement of the story. In the arch-plot structure taught in this course, an up-ending climax follows a down-directing inciting incident. The protagonist who began as a microcosmic expression of the world as it was becomes a microcosmic representation of the world as it will become.
“This brings us to the final crisis of the round, to which the whole miraculous excursion has been but a prelude-that, namely, of the paradoxical, supremely difficult threshold-crossing of the hero's return from the mystic realm into the land of common day. Whether rescued from without, driven from within, or gently carried along by the guiding divinities, he has yet to re-enter with his boon the long-forgotten atmosphere where men who are fractions imagine themselves to be complete. He has yet to confront society with his ego-shattering, life-redeeming elixir, and take the return blow of reasonable queries, hard resentment, and good people at a loss to comprehend” (Campbell 186).
“The two worlds, the divine and the human, can be pictured only as distinct from each other-different as life and death, as day and night. The hero adventures out of the land we know into darkness; there accomplishes his adventure, or again is simply lost to us, imprisoned, or in danger; and his return is described as a coming back out of that yonder zone. Nevertheless-and here is a great key to the understanding of myth and symbol-the two kingdoms are actually one. The realm of the gods is a forgotten dimension of the world we know. And the exploration of that dimension, either willingly or unwillingly, is the whole sense of the deed of the hero. The values and distinctions that in normal life seem important disappear with the terrifying assimilation of the self into what formerly was only otherness. As in the stories of the cannibal ogresses, the fearfulness of this loss of personal individuation can be the whole burden of the transcendental experience for unqualified souls. But the hero-soul goes boldly in-and discovers the hags converted into goddesses and the dragons into the watchdogs of the gods” (Campbell 188).
“Many failures attest to the difficulties of this life-affirmative threshold. The first problem of the returning hero is to accept as real, after an experience of the soul-satisfying vision of fulfillment, the passing joys and sorrows, banalities and noisy obscenities of life. Why re-enter such a world? Why attempt to make plausible, or even interesting, to men and women consumed with passion, the experience of transcendental bliss? As dreams that were momentous by night may seem simply silly in the light of day, so the poet and the prophet can discover themselves playing the idiot before a jury of sober eyes. The easy thing is to commit the whole community to the devil and retire again into the heavenly rock-dwelling, close the door, and make it fast” (Campbell 189).
Vogler writes, “Primitive societies seem better prepared to handle the return of heroes. They provide rituals to purge the blood and death from hunters and warriors so they can become peaceful members of society again. Returning hunters may be quarantined safely away from the tribe for a period of time. To reintegrate hunters and warriors into the tribe, shamans use rituals that mimed the effects of death or even take the participants to death's door. The hunters or warriors may be buried alive for a period of time or confined in a cave or sweat lodge, symbolically growing in the womb of the earth. Then they are raised up (Resurrected) and welcomed as newborn members of the tribe. Sacred architecture aims to create this feeling of Resurrection, by confining worshippers in a narrow dark hall or tunnel, like a birth canal, before bringing them out into an open well-lit area, with a corresponding lift of relief. Baptism by immersion in a stream is a ritual designed to give the Resurrection feeling, both cleansing the sinner and reviving him from symbolic death by drowning” (198).
“The hero who ‘has been to the realm of the dead must be reborn and cleansed in one last Ordeal of death and Resurrection before returning to the Ordinary World of the living. This is often a second life-and-death moment, almost a replay of the death and rebirth of the Ordeal. Death and darkness get in one last, Desperate shot before being finally defeated. It's a kind of final exam for the hero, who must be tested once more to see if he has really learned the lessons of the Ordeal. The hero is transformed by these moments of death-and-rebirth, and is able to return to ordinary life reborn as a new being with new insights” (Vogler 17-18).
CROSSING RETURN THRESHOLD AS RIPPING VEIL: The ultimate elixir is the perennial wisdom taught over and again, era after era. This wisdom penetrates the wasteland of reality and reveals it as an illusion. The enlightened hero is extinguished (nirvana), empty of self (anatman/kenosis), and recognizes reality as both empty (sunyatta) and co-arising (paticca samupadda). They see through the delusion of reality (Maya), and they will rip the veil for others as well.
This is a challenge, as exemplified by the return journey in Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. There is a “certain baffling inconsistency between the wisdom brought forth from the deep” and “ normal waking consciousness” (Campbell 188). Over and again, this is the wisdom with which the Hero returns. Over and again, the question becomes “How to teach again…what has been taught correctly and incorrectly learned a thousand times, throughout the millennia of mankind's prudent folly… That is the hero's ultimate difficult ask. How render back into light-world language the speech-defying pronouncements of the dark? How represent on a two-dimensional surface a three-dimensional form, or in a three-dimensional image a multi-dimensional meaning? How translate into terms of "yes" and "no" revelations that shatter into meaninglessness every attempt to define the pairs of opposites? How communicate to people who insist on the exclusive evidence of their senses the message of the all-generating void?” (Campbell 188-189).
“Insight might be of a deeper type. Heroes can sometimes experience a profound self-realization after tricking death. They see who they are and how they fit into the scheme of things. They see the ways they've been foolish or stubborn. The scales fall from their eyes and the illusion of their lives is replaced with clarity and truth. Maybe it doesn't last long, but for a moment heroes see themselves clearly” (Vogler 181). “Such an ideal is well known, also, to Hinduism: the one freed in life (jivan mukta), desireless, compassionate, and wise, ‘with the heart concentrated by yoga, viewing all things with equal regard, beholds himself in all beings and all beings in himself. In whatever way he leads his life, that one lives in God” (Campbell 142).
Essentially, the insight that penetrates the delusions sustaining a wasteland is an elixir that, when delivered to popular consciousness will, ultimately, redeem the wasteland. According to the “Freudian school… the life-wish (eros or libido, corresponding to the Buddhist Kama, "desire") and the death-wish (thanatos or destrudo, which is identical with the Buddhist Mara, "hostility or death") are the two drives that not only move the individual from within but also animate for him the surrounding world” (Campbell 114). “Moreover, the unconsciously grounded delusions from which desires and hostilities arise are in both system dispelled by psychological analysis (Sanskrit: viveka) and illumination (Sanskrit: vidya). Yet the aims of the two teachings-the traditional and the modern-are not exactly the same” (Campbell 139).
Campbell compares this to psychological treatment. He writes, “Psychoanalysis is a technique to cure excessively suffering individuals of the unconsciously misdirected desires and hostilities that weave around them their private webs of unreal terrors and ambivalent attractions; the patient released from these finds himself able to participate with comparative satisfaction in the more realistic fears, hostilities, erotic and religious practices, business enterprises, wars, pastimes, and household tasks offered to him by his particular culture” (Campbell 139).
Not unlike psychoanalysis, “the aim of the religious teaching is not to cure the individual back again to the general delusion, but to detach him from delusion altogether; and this not by readjusting the desire (eros) and hostility (thanatos)-for that would only originate a new context of delusion-but by extinguishing the impulses to the very root, according to the method of the celebrated Buddhist Eightfold Path:
With the final ‘extirpation of delusion, desire, and hostility" (nirvana) the mind knows that it is not what it thought: thought goes. The mind rests in its true state. And here it may dwell until the body drops away” (Campbell 139).
“Stars, darkness, a lamp, a phantom, dew, a bubble, A dream, a flash of lightning, and a cloud: Thus we should look upon all that was made. The Bodhisattva, however, does not abandon life. Turning his regard from the inner sphere of thought-transcending truth (which can be described only as ‘emptiness,’ since it surpasses speech) outward again to the phenomenal world, he perceives without the same ocean of being that he found within. ‘Form is emptiness, emptiness indeed is form. Emptiness is not different from form, form is not different from emptiness. What is form, that is emptiness; what is emptiness, that is form. And the same applies to perception, name, conception, and knowledge.' Having surpassed the delusions of his formerly self-assertive, self-defensive, self-concerned ego, he knows without and within the same repose. What he beholds without is the visual aspect of the magnitudinous, thought-transcending emptiness on which his own experiences of ego, form, perceptions, speech, conceptions, and knowledge ride. And he is filled with compassion for the self-terrorized beings who live in fright of their own nightmare. He rises, returns to them, and dwells with them as an egoless center, through whom the principle of emptiness is made manifest in its own simplicity. And this is his great "compassionate act"; for by it the truth is revealed that in the understanding of one in whom the Threefold Fire of Desire, Hostility, and Delusion is dead, this world is nirvana. ‘Gift waves’ go out from such a one for the liberation of us all. 'This our worldly life is an activity of nirvana itself, not the slightest distinction exists between them” (Campbell 139-141).
“Having subdued within himself to the critical point of the ultimate ember the Threefold Fire, which is the moving power of the universe, the Savior beheld reflected, as in a mirror all around him, the last projected fantasies of his primitive physical will to live like other human beings-the will to live according to the normal motives of desire and hostility, in a delusory ambient of phenomenal causes, ends, and means. He was assailed by the last fury of the disregarded flesh. And this was the moment on which all depended; for from one coal could arise again the whole conflagration” (Campbell 139).
“The asceticism of the medieval saints and of the yogis of India, the Hellenistic mystery initiations, the ancient philosophies of the East and of the West, are techniques for the shifting of the emphasis of individual consciousness away from the garments. The preliminary meditations of the aspirant detach his mind and sentiments from the accidents of life and drive him to the core. "I am not that, not that," he meditates: "not my mother or son who has just died; my body, which is ill or aging; my arm, my eye, my head; not the summation of all these things. I am not my feeling; not my mind; not my power of intuition." By such meditations he is driven to his own profundity and breaks through, at last, to unfathomable realizations. No man can return from such exercises and take very seriously himself as Mr. So-and-so of Such-and-such a township, U.S.A. Society and duties drop away. Mr. So-and-so, having discovered himself big with man, becomes indrawn and aloof” (Campbell 332-333).
CHANGED HERO & RESURRECTION: “One of the Rewards of surviving death is that others can see that heroes have changed. Young people coming back from a war or from an ordeal like basic training seem different - more mature, self-confident, and serious, and worthy of a little more respect” (Vogler 181). “The higher dramatic purpose of Resurrection is to give an outward sign that the hero has really changed. The old Self must be proven to be completely dead, and the new Self immune to temptations and addictions that trapped the old form. The trick for writers is to make the change visible in appearance or action. It's not enough to have people around a hero notice that she's changed; it's not enough to have her talk about change. The audience must be able to see it in her dress, behavior, attitude, and actions” (Vogler 210).
A “new self must be created for a new world. Just as heroes had to shed their old selves to enter the Special World, they now must shed the personality of the journey and build a new one that is suitable for return to the Ordinary World. It should reflect the best parts of the old selves and the lessons learned along the way” (Vogler 198).
“This new self should be expressed through a “climactic choice…that indicates whether or not the hero has truly learned the lesson of change. A difficult choice tests a hero's values: Will he choose in accordance with his old, flawed ways, or will the choice reflect the new person he's become?” (Vogler 201). “Resurrection is an opportunity for a hero to show he has absorbed, or incorporated, every lesson from every character. Incorporation literally means he has made the lessons of the road part of his body. An ideal climax would test everything he's learned, and allow him to show that he has absorbed the Mentor, Shapeshifter, Shadow, Guardians, and Allies along the way” (Vogler 209-210).
“Anyone can deliver a happy ending-just give the characters everything they want. Or a downer-just kill everybody. An artist gives us the emotion he's promised .. . but with a rush of unexpected insight that he's withheld to a Turning Point within the Climax itself. So that as the protagonist improvises his final effort, he mayor may not achieve his desire, but the flood of insight that pours from the gap delivers the hoped-for emotion but in a way we could never have foreseen” (McKee 311).
“The action the protagonist chooses to take becomes the story's consummate event, causing a positive, negative, or ironically positive/ negative Story Climax. If, however, as the protagonist takes the climactic action, we once more pry apart the gap between expectation and result, if we can split probability from necessity just one more time, we may create a majestic ending the audience will treasure for a lifetime. For a Climax built around a Turning Point is the most satisfying of all. We've taken the protagonist through progressions that exhaust one action after another until he reaches the limit and thinks he finally understands his world and knows what he must do in a last effort. He draws on the dregs of his willpower, [and] chooses an action he believes will achieve his desire” (McKee 305).
“This crowning Major Reversal is not necessarily full of noise and violence. Rather, it must be full of meaning…a value swing at maximum charge that's absolute and irreversible. The meaning of that change moves the heart of the audience” (McKee 309). “If I could send a telegram to the film producers of the world, it would be these three words: ‘Meaning Produces Emotion.’ Not money; not sex; not special effects; not movie stars; not lush photography” (McKee 309). “The action that creates this change must be ‘pure,’ clear, and self-evident, requiring no explanation. Dialogue or narration to spell out it out is boring and redundant” (McKee 309).
“This climax of the last act is a final action that excites and moves you, that feels complete and satisfying” (McKee 117). “If logic allows, climax subplots within the Central Plot's Climax. This is a wonderful effect; one final action by the protagonist settles everything” (McKee 310). “A well-made story can bring all levels - mind, body, and spirit - to climax in the same moment. When a hero takes a decisive action, her whole world can be changed at once” (Vogler 203).
“Climax is a Greek word meaning" a ladder." For us storytellers it has come to mean an explosive moment, the highest peak in energy, or the last big event in a work. It may be the physical showdown or final battle, but it can also be expressed as a difficult choice, sexual climax, musical crescendo, or highly emotional but decisive confrontation” (Vogler 202). “In Aristotle's words, an ending must be both ‘inevitable and unexpected’ Inevitable in the sense that as the Inciting Incident occurs, everything and anything seems possible, but at Climax, as the audience looks back through the telling, it should seem that the path the telling took was the only path” (McKee 311).
“Resurrection is the hero's final exam, her chance to show what she has learned. Heroes are totally purged by final sacrifice or deeper experience of the mysteries of life and death. Some don't make it past this dangerous point, but those who survive go on to close the circle of the Hero's Journey when they Return with the Elixir” (Vogler 212).
This kind of change, this kind of “resurrection, often calls for a sacrifice by the hero. … Something must be shared for the good of the group” (Vogler 209). “Sacrifice comes from Latin words meaning ‘making holy.’ Heroes are often required to sanctify a story by making a sacrifice, perhaps by giving up or giving back something of themselves….Luke…gives up part of his personality: his dependence on machines. With Obi Wan's voice in his head, he decides to "Trust the Force;' and learns to trust human instinct rather than machinery. Luke undergoes another personal sacrifice at the climax of the second film in the series, The Empire Strikes Back. Here he is escaping from the Emperor and loses a hand in the getaway. In repayment, he gains new control over the Force in the third film of the trilogy, Return if the Jedi” (Vogler 209).
"A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself;' Joseph Campbell says” (Field 160). “Casablanca is an extraordinary film experience, one of those rare and magical moments that reside deep within our collective film consciousness. What makes it such a great film? What makes it stand out so vividly in the fabric of our film experience? Many things, of course, but in own my personal opinion, Rick is a character who, through his words and actions, sacrifices his life for the higher good. In The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell says the hero has "to die in order to be reborn’” (Field 160). “If you look at the template of the classical ‘hero’ throughout myth and literature, Rick's action elevates him to the stature of a contemporary hero. ‘Life consists in action,’ Aristotle said, ‘and its end is a mode of action, not a quality.’ The same with Hamlet, or Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita, or Neo in The Matrix: characters who have overcome their doubts and fears, then pushed them aside and acted. It is this action that elevates them into the realm of ‘heroic figures’” (Field 161).
At the simplest level, the Resurrection may just be a hero facing death one last time in an ordeal, battle, or showdown. It's often the final, decisive confrontation with the villain or Shadow. But the difference between this and previous meetings with death is that the danger is usually on the broadest scale of the entire story. Threat is not just to the hero, but to the whole world. In other words, the stakes are at their highest. The James Bond movies often climax with 007 battling the villains and then racing against time and impossible odds to disarm some Doomsday device, such as the atomic bomb at the climax of goldfinger. Millions of lives are at stake. Hero, audience, and world are taken right to the brink of death one more time before Bond (or his Ally Felix Leiter) manages to yank the right wire and save us all from destruction” (Vogler 199).
“In Westerns, crime fiction, and many action films, the Resurrection is expressed as the biggest confrontation and battle of the story, the showdown or shootout. A showdown pits hero and villains in an ultimate contest with the highest possible stakes, life and death. It's the classic gunfight of the Western, the swordfight of the swashbuckler, or the last acrobatic battle of a martial arts movie. It may even be a courtroom showdown or an emotional U shootout" in a domestic drama” (Vogler 200). “Conventionally heroes survive this brush with death and are Resurrected. Often it is the villains who die or are defeated, but some tragic heroes actually die at this point” (Vogler 200).
This finale struggle is the biggest confrontation or battle of the story – the main showdown or shootout
Examples of a threshold showdown include
Atreyu confronting the wolf fighting for The Nothing at the end of Never Ending Story
Obi Wan Fighting Vader
Morpheus fighting Smith
Luke confronting Vader at the end of Star Wars and The Star Wars Trilogy,
Harry Potter confronting Voldemort at the end of The Philosopher’s Stone & Harry Potter Series
Neo fighting Smith at the end of The Matrix and The Matrix Trilogy,
Climax should be seen as a moment of
crescendo - FORTISIMO!
decrescendo - PIANISIMO
Wasteland Redeemed - Denouement
RETURN WITH ELIXIR TO REDEEM THE WASTELAND
Upon the arrival and delivery of the elixir, the wasteland at home begins to transform into a redeemed and revivified reality, which brings resolution to the story. Though this can be externally symbolized as the relief of drought and famine by life-giving waters, such transformation should be contingent with the transformation of the community’s common sense to reflect the hard-won insights of the microcosmic protagonist that open a flow of creative existence that had been blocked by the story’s antagonizing forces—anything from a specific tyrant to cultural norms. The transfiguration of the protagonist becomes the seed of transfiguration for the collective. Notice that the circle of the journey’s cycle has been completed, and that this stage takes place in the coming of age territory that follows (re)birth from the source of creation that connects and extends through all layers of reality—namely the world navel and/or axis mundi.
“Having survived all the ordeals. having lived through death. heroes return to their starting place, go home, or continue the journey. But they always proceed with a sense that they are commencing a new life. one that will be forever different because of the road just traveled. If they are true heroes. they Return with the Elixir from the Special World; bringing something to share with others. or something with the power to heal a wounded land” (Vogler 215). “Sometimes the Elixir is treasure won on the quest, but it may be love, freedom, wisdom, or the knowledge that the Special World exists and can be survived. Sometimes it's just coming home with a good story to tell” (Vogler 215).
“Not everyone has a destiny: only the hero who has plunged to touch it, and has come up again-with a ring” (Campbell 196). “The hero Returns to the Ordinary World, but the journey is meaningless unless she brings back some Elixir, treasure, or lesson from the Special World. The Elixir is a magic potion with the power to heal. It may be a great treasure like the Grail that magically heals the wounded land, or it simply might be knowledge or experience that could be useful to the community someday” (Vogler 18). “The passage of the mythological hero may be over-ground, incidentally; fundamentally it is inward-into depths where obscure resistances are overcome, and long lost, forgotten powers are revivified, to be made available for the transfiguration of the world” (Campbell 22). Unless something is brought back from the Ordeal in the Inmost Cave, the hero is doomed to repeat the adventure. Many comedies use this ending, as a foolish character refuses to learn his lesson and embarks on the same folly that got him in trouble in the first place” (Vogler 19)
In the context of our own lives, the return resurrection of our inner wasteland can take the form of dredging up “life potentialities that we never managed to bring to adult realization. Those other portions of our self, are there; for such golden seeds do not die. If only a portion of that lost totality could be dredged up into the light of day, we should experience a marvelous expansion of our powers, a vivid renewal of life. We should tower in stature. Moreover, if we could dredge up something forgotten not only by ourselves but by our whole generation or our entire civilization, we should become indeed the boon-bringer, the culture hero of the day-a personage of not only local but world historical moment” (Campbell 12).
“The effect of the successful adventure of the hero is the unlocking and release again of the flow of life into the body of the world. The miracle of this flow may be represented in physical terms as a circulation of food substance, dynamically as a streaming of energy, or spiritually as a manifestation of grace. Such varieties of image alternate easily, representing three degrees of condensation of the one life force. An abundant harvest is the sign of God's grace; God's grace is the food of the soul; the lightning bolt is the harbinger of fertilizing rain, and at the same time the manifestation of the released energy of God. Grace, food substance, energy: these pour into the living world, and wherever they fail, life decomposes into death” (Campbell 32).
“The torrent pours from an invisible source, the point of entry being the center of the symbolic circle of the universe, the Immovable Spot of the Buddha legend,« around which the world may be said to revolve. Beneath this spot is the earth-supporting head of the cosmic serpent, the dragon, symbolical of the waters of the abyss, which are the divine life-creative energy and substance of the demiurge, the world-generative aspect of immortal being. The tree of life, i.e., the universe itself, grows from this point. It is rooted in the supporting darkness; the golden sun bird perches on its peak; a spring, the inexhaustible well, bubbles at its foot. Or the figure may be that of a cosmic mountain, with the city of the gods, like a lotus of light, upon its summit, and in its hollow the cities of the demons, illuminated by precious stones. Again, the figure may be that of the cosmic man or woman (for example the Buddha himself, or the dancing Hindu goddess KalI) seated or standing on this spot, or even fixed to the tree (Artis, Jesus, Wotan) j for the hero as the incarnation of God is himself the navel of the world, the umbilical point through which the energies of eternity break into time. Thus the World Navel is the symbol of the continuous creation: the mystery of the maintenance of the world through that continuous miracle of vivification which wells within all things” (Campbell 32).
“That font of life is the core of the individual, and within himself he will find it-if he can tear the coverings away. The pagan Germanic divinity Othin (Wotan) gave an eye to split the veil of light into the knowledge of this infinite dark, and then underwent for it the passion of a crucifixion: J ween that J hung on the windy tree, Hung there for nights foIL nine; With the spear 1 was wounded, and offered 1 was To Othin, myself to myself, On the tree that none may ever know What root beneath it runs” (Campbell 68).
“The passage of the mythological hero may be over-ground, incidentally; fundamentally it is inward-into depths where obscure resistances are overcome, and long lost, forgotten powers are revivified, to be made available for the transfiguration of the world. This deed accomplished, life no longer suffers hopelessly under the terrible mutilations of ubiquitous disaster, battered by time, hideous throughout space; but with its horror visible still, its cries of anguish still tumultuous, it becomes penetrated by an all-suffusing, all-sustaining love, and a knowledge of its own unconquered power. Something of the light that blazes invisible within the abysses of its normally opaque materiality breaks forth, with an increasing uproar. The dreadful mutilations are then seen as shadows, only, of an immanent, imperishable eternity; time yields to glory; and the world sings with the prodigious, angelic, but perhaps finally monotonous, siren music of the spheres. Like happy families, the myths and the worlds redeemed are all alike” (Campbell 22).
“The supreme hero…is not the one who merely continues the dynamics of the cosmogonic round, but he who reopens the eye-so that through all the comings and goings, delights and agonies of the world panorama, the One Presence will be seen again. This requires a deeper wisdom than the other, and results in a pattern not of action but of significant representation” (Campbell 296). “The Buddha broke past even the zone of the creative gods and came back from the void; he announced salvation from the cosmogonic round” (Campbell 276).
“The Buddha's victory beneath the Bo Tree is the classic Oriental example of this deed. With the sword of his mind he pierced the bubble of the universe-and it shattered into nought. The whole world of natural experience, as well as the continents, heavens, and hells of traditional religious belief, exploded-together with their gods and demons. But the miracle of miracles was that though all exploded, all was nevertheless thereby renewed, revivified, and made glorious with the effulgence of true being. Indeed, the gods of the redeemed heavens raised their voices in harmonious acclaim of the man-hero who had penetrated beyond them to the void that was their life and source: Flags and banners erected on the eastern rim of the world let their streamers Ry to the western rim of the world; likewise those erected on the western rim of the world, to the eastern rim of the world; those erected on the northern rim of the world, to the southern rim of the world; and those erected on the southern rim of the world, to the northern rim of the world; while those erected on the level of the earth let theirs fly until they beat against the Brahma world; and those of the Brahma-world let theirs hang down to the level of the earth. Throughout the ten thousand worlds the flowering trees bloomed; the fruit trees were weighted down by the burden of their fruit; trunk-lotuses bloomed on the trunks of trees; branch-lotuses on the branches of trees; vine-lotuses on the vines; hanging-lotuses in the sky; and stalk-lotuses burst through the rocks and came up by sevens. The system of ten thousand worlds was like a bouquet of flowers sent whirling through the air, or like a thick carpet of Rowers; in the intermundane spaces the eight-thousand-league-long hells, which not even the light of seven suns had formerly been able to illum ine, were now flooded with radiance; the eighty-four-thousand-league-deep ocean became sweet to the taste; the rivers checked their Rowing; the blind from birth received their sight; the deaf from birth their hearing; the crippled from birth the use of their limbs; and the bonds and fetters of captives broke and fell off Campbell” (Campbell 169).
From the Buddha Campbell turns to “The dance of Uzume and the uproar of the gods” (183). As he describes, this is a joyous occasion of “coming renewal” (ibid). As part of the event, a crucial symbol called the shimenawa, an “august rope of straw that was stretched behind the goddess when she reappeared, symbolizes the graciousness of the miracle of the light's return. This shimenawa is one of the most conspicuous, important, and silently eloquent, of the traditional symbols of the folk religion of Japan. Hung above the entrances of the temples, … [it] denotes the renovation of the world at the threshold of the return. If the Christian cross is the most telling symbol of the mythological passage into the abyss of death, the shimenawa is the simplest sign of the resurrection. The two represent the mystery of the boundary between the worlds-the existent nonexistent line” (Campbell 183-184).
Comparable examples of the Wasteland’s redemption in myth and film can be found in the movie, Fisher King, and the description of a Messianic Age in Jeremiah.
“The movie The Fisher King is a thorough study of two men and their psychic wounds. The story is inspired by the Arthurian legend of the Holy Grail and the Fisher King, whose physical wound symbolized a wound of the spirit. This legend tells of a king who was wounded in the thigh and was therefore unable to rule his land or find any pleasure in life. Under his weakened kingship, the land was dying, and only the powerful spiritual magic of the Holy Grail could revive it. The quest by the Knights of the Round Table to find the Grail is the great adventure to restore health and wholeness to a system that has been almost fatally wounded” (Vogler 93).
Another example familiar to religious Christians can be found in The New Testament as the Messianic Age. In Jeremiah 33, this is described as the redemption of a wasteland.
“1While Jeremiah was still confined in the courtyard of the guard, the word of the Lord came to him a second time: 2“This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it—the Lord is his name: 3‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ 4For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says about the houses in this city and the royal palaces of Judah that have been torn down to be used against the siege ramps and the sword 5in the fight with the Babyloniansa : ‘They will be filled with the dead bodies of the people I will slay in my anger and wrath. I will hide my face from this city because of all its wickedness.
6“ ‘Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security. 7I will bring Judah and Israel back from captivityb and will rebuild them as they were before. 8I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed against me and will forgive all their sins of rebellion against me. 9Then this city will bring me renown, joy, praise and honor before all nations on earth that hear of all the good things I do for it; and they will be in awe and will tremble at the abundant prosperity and peace I provide for it.’
10“This is what the Lord says: ‘You say about this place, “It is a desolate waste, without people or animals.” Yet in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem that are deserted, inhabited by neither people nor animals, there will be heard once more 11the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom, and the voices of those who bring thank offerings to the house of the Lord, saying, “Give thanks to the Lord Almighty, for the Lord is good; his love endures forever.” For I will restore the fortunes of the land as they were before,’ says the Lord.
12“This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In this place, desolate and without people or animals—in all its towns there will again be pastures for shepherds to rest their flocks. 13In the towns of the hill country, of the western foothills and of the Negev, in the territory of Benjamin, in the villages around Jerusalem and in the towns of Judah, flocks will again pass under the hand of the one who counts them,’ says the Lord.
14“ ‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will fulfill the good promise I made to the people of Israel and Judah.
15“ ‘In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line; he will do what is just and right in the land. 16In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name by which itc will be called: The Lord Our Righteous Savior.’ 17For this is what the Lord says: ‘David will never fail to have a man to sit on the throne of Israel, 18nor will the Levitical priests ever fail to have a man to stand before me continually to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings and to present sacrifices.’ ”
19The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 20“This is what the Lord says: ‘If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, so that day and night no longer come at their appointed time, 21then my covenant with David my servant—and my covenant with the Levites who are priests ministering before me—can be broken and David will no longer have a descendant to reign on his throne. 22I will make the descendants of David my servant and the Levites who minister before me as countless as the stars in the sky and as measureless as the sand on the seashore.’ ”
23The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 24“Have you not noticed that these people are saying, ‘The Lord has rejected the two kingdomsd he chose’? So they despise my people and no longer regard them as a nation. 25This is what the Lord says: ‘If I have not made my covenant with day and night and established the laws of heaven and earth, 26then I will reject the descendants of Jacob and David my servant and will not choose one of his sons to rule over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. For I will restore their fortunese and have compassion on them.’ ”
A climax brings about absolute and irreversible change, according to McKee.
The climax should be more full of meaning than noise
The climax should be driven by a choice of the character.
It is common, if not recommended, to write backwards from the climax
As McKee describes, there is no story without a climax
McKee draws on Aristotle’s words when he writes that an ending must be both ‘inevitable and unexpected.’ Inevitable in the sense that as the Inciting Incident occurs, everything and anything seems possible
Heroes DON'T return to heal the wounded land
Bringing something back from the journey gives it meaning
As Vogler describes, Sometimes the Elixir is
Sometimes it's just coming home with a good story to tell
treasure won on the quest
it may be love
the knowledge that the Special World exists and can be survived.
As Vogler writes, “The Elixir is a magic potion with the power to heal. It may be a great treasure like the Grail that magically heals the wounded land, or it simply might be knowledge or experience that could be useful to the community someday”
From Campbell’s point of view, something forgotten by ourselves, generation or entire civilization can become a boon in need of retrieval
According to Campbell, the Hero’s ultimate task is to render back into light the world language the speech-defying pronouncements of the dark.
Campbell suggests that there will always be a gap between the wisdom of the other world and its expression in the known world
According to Campbell, THE Effect of the successful adventure of the hero is:
The flowering of trees in ten thousand worlds is symbolic of a wasteland redemption—of a life-energy burst
According to Vogler, another name for the return is denouement
Denouement is a French word that means unknotting, which is to say that the Denouement is the untying of the story’s knot of threads
RESOLUTION & DENOUEMENT
One “use of a Resolution is to show the spread of climactic effects. If a film expresses progressions by widening into society, its Climax may be restricted to the principal characters. The audience, however, has come to know many supporting roles whose lives will be changed by the climactic action. This motivates a social event that satisfies our curiosity by bringing the entire cast to one location where the camera can track around to show us how these lives have been changed: the birthday party, the picnic at the beach, an Easter Egg hunt in STEEL MAGNOLIAS, a satiric title roll inANIMAL HOUSE. Even if the first two uses don't apply, all fllms need a Resolution as a courtesy to the audience. For if the Climax has moved the fllmgoers, if they're laughing helplessly, riveted with terror, flushed with social outrage, wiping away tears, it's rude suddenly to go black and roll the titles. This is the cue to leave, and they will attempt to do so jangling with emotion, stumbling over one another in the dark, dropping their car keys on the Pepsi-sticky floor. A fllm needs what the theatre calls a "slow curtain." A line of description at the bottom of the last page that sends the camera slowly back or tracking along images for a few seconds, so the audience can catch its breath, gather its thoughts, and leave the cinema with dignity” (McKee 314).
“Another name for the Return is denouement, a French word meaning "untying" or "unknotting:' ( noue means knot). A story is like a weaving in which the lives of the characters are interwoven into a coherent design. The plot lines are knotted together to create conflict and tension, and usually it's desirable to release the tension and resolve the conflicts by untying these knots. We also speak of "tying up the loose ends" of a story in a denouement. Whether tying up or untying, these phrases point to the idea that a story is a weaving and that it must be finished properly or it will seem tangled or ragged. That's why it's important in the Return to deal with subplots and all the issues and questions you've raised in the story. It's all right for a Return to raise new questions - in fact that may be highly desirable - but all the old questions should be addressed or at least restated. Usually writers strive to create a feeling of closing the circle on all these storylines and themes” (Vogler 216).
“So what makes a good ending? It has to work, first of all, by satisfying the story; when we reach the final fade-out and walk away from the movie experience, we want to feel full and satisfied, much as if we were leaving the table after a good meal. It's this feeling of satisfaction that must be fulfilled in order for an ending to work effectively. And, of course, it's got to be believable” (Field 103).
Last 20 Minutes: “A revered Hollywood axiom warns: ‘Movies are about their last twenty minutes.’ In other words, for a film to have a chance in the world, the last act and its climax must be the most satisfying experience of all. For no matter what the first ninety minutes have achieved, if the final movement fails, the film will die over its opening weekend” (McKee 107).
“The key to a great film ending, as François Truffaut put it, is to create a combination of ‘Spectacle and Truth.’ When Truffaut says ‘Spectacle,’ he doesn't mean explosive effects. He means a Climax written, not for the ear, but the eye. By ‘Truth’ he means Controlling Idea. In other words, Truffaut is asking us to create the Key Image of the film -a single image that sums up and concentrates all meaning and emotion. Like the coda of a symphony, the Key Image within the climactic action echoes and resonates all that has gone before. It is an image that is so tuned to the telling that when it's remembered the whole film comes back with a jolt” (McKee 312).
“If I could sum up the concept of endings and state the one most important thing to remember, I would say: The ending comes out of the beginning. Someone, or something, initiates an action, and how that action is resolved becomes the story line of the film. The Chinese say that "the longest journey begins with the first step," and in many philosophical systems "endings and beginnings" are connected” (Field 104). “Cat Stevens sums it up in his song "Sitting": Life is like a maze of doors, and they open from the side you're on. Just keep on pushin' hard, boy, try as you may, you might wind up where you started from” (Field 104).
“In physics, it's a natural law that endings and beginnings are related-cause and effect, like Newton's Third Law of Motion in physics: For every action there's an equal and opposite reaction. For me, the ending of one thing is always the beginning of something else. Be it a wedding, funeral, or divorce; a career change or the ending of one relationship and the beginning of a new one; a move to a new city or country; or winning or losing your life savings in Las Vegas-it's all the same: The end of one thing is always the beginning of something else” (Field 96).
False Ending: “Occasionally, especially in Action genres, at the Penultimate Act Climax or within the last act's movement, the writer creates a False Ending: a scene so seemingly complete we think for a moment the story is over. E.T. is dead-end of movie, we think. In ALIEN Ripley blows up her spaceship and escapes, we think. In ALIENS she blows up an entire planet and escapes, we hope. In BRAZIL Jonathan (Sam Lowry) rescues Kim (Jill Layton) from a tyrannical regime, the lovers embrace, happy ending ... or is it?” (McKee 224). “Hitchcock loved False Endings, placing them unconventionally early for shock effect” (McKee 225). “For most films, however, the False Ending is inappropriate. Instead, the Penultimate Act Climax should intensifY the Major Dramatic Question: "Now what's going to happen?" (McKee 225).
Happy Ending: “The happy ending is justly scorned as a misrepresentation; for the world, as we know it, as we have seen it, yields but one ending: death, disintegration, dismemberment, and the crucifixion of our heart with the passing of the forms that we have loved” (Campbell 19). “The fairy tale of happiness ever after cannot be taken seriously; it belongs to the never-never land of childhood, which is protected from the realities that will become terribly known soon enough; just as the myth of heaven ever after is for the old, whose lives are behind them and whose hearts have to be readied for the last portal of the transit into night-which sober, modern Occidental judgment is founded on a total misunderstanding of the realities depicted in the fairy tale, the myth, and the divine comedies of redemption” (Campbell 21).
“The happy ending of the fairy tale, the myth, and the divine comedy of the soul is to be read, not as a contradiction, but as a transcendence of the universal tragedy of man. The objective world remains what it was, but, because of a shift of emphasis within the subject, is beheld as though transformed. Where formerly life and death contended, now enduring being is made manifest-as indifferent to the accidents of time as water boiling in a pot is to the destiny of a bubble, or as the cosmos to the appearance and disappearance of a galaxy of stars” (Campbell 21).
“The consolation’ of fairy-stories has another aspect than the imaginative satisfaction of ancient desires. Far more important is the Consolation of the Happy Ending. Almost I would venture to assert that all complete fairystories must have it. At least I would say that Tragedy is the true form of Drama, its highest function; but the opposite is true of Fairy-Story. [the happy ending] is the true form of fairy tale and its highest function” (Tolkien 68)
“The "happy endings" of Hollywood films link them with the world of fairy tales, which are often about the achievement of perfection. Fairy tales frequently end with a statement of perfection, like "and they lived happily ever after". Fairy tales bring the shattered family back into balance, back to completion.”
For the vast majority doesn't care if a film ends up or down. What the audience wants is emotional satisfaction- a Climax that fulfills anticipation” (McKee 311). “Who determines which particular emotion will satisfy an audience at the end of a film? The writer. From the way he tells his story from the beginning, he whispers to the audience: ‘Expect an up-ending’ or ‘Expect a down-ending’ or ‘Expect irony.’ Having pledged a certain emotion, it'd be ruinous not to deliver. So we give the audience the experience we've promised, but not in the way it expects. This is what separates artist from amateur” (McKee 311).
Closed Versus Open Endings: The arch plot studied in this course delivers an optimistic up ending that that closes the story with answers to all questions and resolutions to all imbalances. Such endings suggest, on the mortal level, that the questions and knots of life will be answered and resolved in the end. On the societal level, such endings convey a belief that society can fix its problems and answer its questions. Conversely, down-endings, often open, convey a pessimistic belief that problems are never fully resolved and hard questions are never fully answered.
“The Archplot delivers a closed ending-all questions raised by the story are answered; all emotions evoked are satisfied. The audience leaves with a rounded, closed experience-nothing in doubt, nothing unsated” (McKee 47-48). “A Story Climax of absolute. irreversible change that answers all questions raised by the telling and satisfies all audience emotion is a CLOSED ENDING” (McKee 48). As Field describes it, this is when there are “No loose ends. Everything is resolved dramatically, in terms of action and character; all questions raised are answered. The story is complete” (Field 101). A Story climax that leaves a question or two unanswered and some emotion unfulfilled is an OPEN ENDING” (McKee 48).
“Aristotle gave us the first genres by dividing dramas according to the value-charge of their ending versus their story design. A story, he noted, could end on either a positive or a negative charge.
Then each of these two types could be either a Simple design (ending flat with no turning point or surprise) or a Complex design (climaxing around a major reversal in the protagonist's life). The result is his four basic genres: Simple Tragic, Simple Fortunate, Complex Tragic, Complex Fortunate” (McKee 79).
"Up-ending" stories expressing the optimism, hopes, and dreams of mankind, a positively charged vision of the human spirit; life as we wish it to be” (McKee 123). “Too often Hollywood films force an up-ending for reasons more commercial than truthful; too often non-Hollywood films cling to the dark side for reasons more fashionable than truthful. The truth, as always, sits somewhere in the middle” (McKee 60).
"Down-ending" stories expressing our cynicism, our sense ofloss and misfortune, a negatively charged vision of civilization's decline, of humanity's dark dimensions; life as we dread it to be but know it so often is” (McKee 124).
"Up/down-ending" stories expressing our sense of the complex, dual nature of existence, a simultaneously charged positive and negative vision; life at its most complete and realistic” (McKee 125).
“Until the 1970S an ‘up-ending’ could be loosely defined as ‘The protagonist gets what he wants.’ At climax the protagonist's object of desire became a trophy of sorts, depending on the value at stake-the lover of one's dreams (love), the dead body of the villain (justice), a badge of achievement (fortune, victory), public recognition (power, fame)-and he won it.
“In the 1970s, however, Hollywood evolved a highly ironic version of the success story, Redemption Plots, in which protagonists pursue values that were once esteemed-money, reknown, career, love, winning, success-but with a compulsiveness, a blindness that carries them to the brink of self-destruction. They stand to lose, if not their lives, their humanity. They manage, however, to glimpse the ruinous nature of their obsession, stop before they go over the edge, then throwaway what they once cherished. This pattern gives rise to an ending rich in irony: At climax the protagonist sacrifices his dream (positive), a value that has become a soul-corrupting fixation (negative), to gain an honest, sane, balanced life (positive)…this idea has been a magnet for Oscars” (McKee 126).
“It seems that one of the major difficulties screenwriters deal with is the problem of endings: how to end your screenplay so it works effectively, so it's satisfying and fulfilling, so it makes an emotional impact on the reader and audience, so it's not contrived or predictable, so it's real, believable, not forced or fabricate~; an ending that resolves all the main story points; an ending, in short, that works…More easily said than done. What's so interesting about endings is that, in most cases, the ending itself is not really the problem; it's the fact that it doesn't work effectively. It's either too soft or too slow, too wordy or too vague, too expensive or not expensive enough, too down, too up, too contrived, too predictable, or too unbelievable” (Field 96).
“Sometimes it's simply not dramatic enough to resolve the story line, or maybe a surprise twist suddenly comes out of nowhere. Many aspiring screenwriters feel the best way to end their screenplay is by having the main character die, or in some extreme cases, having. everybody die. It's tight, complete, easy. But you can do better than that” (Field 96).
NEW LIFE OF THE HERO:
The hero, made new by heightened self awareness and a deep seated insight develops a new personality that commands respect that his former personality did not. With this newly expanded self comes mastery of both worlds—home and other—as well as the qualities of self with which they correspond. Such mastery, combined with the completion of a heroic task, allows the protagonist freedom to live—not just as a hero—as a member of mundane society, which is welcomed by those able to see the presence of transcendent sacredness in the mundane/profane world. “Man, finally redeemed, will be like and unlike the fallen that we know” (Tolkien 73)
MASTER OF TWO WORLDS: “Freedom to PASS back and forth across the world division, from the perspective of the apparitions of time to that of the causal deep and back-not contaminating the principles of the one with those of the other, yet permitting the mind to know the one by virtue of the other-is the talent of the master. The Cosmic Dancer, declares Nietzsche, does not rest heavily in a single spot, but gaily, lightly, turns and leaps from one position to another. It is possible to speak from only one point at a time, but that does not invalidate the insights of
the rest” (Campbell 196).
“Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, and was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here; if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.* While he yet spoke, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only. And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead” (Campbell 196).
“Here is the whole myth in a moment: Jesus the guide, the way, the vision, and the companion of the return. The disciples are his initiates, not themselves masters of the mystery, yet introduced to the full experience of the paradox of the two worlds in one. Peter was so frightened he babbled.29 Flesh had dissolved before their eyes to reveal the Word. They fell upon their faces, and when they arose the door again had closed” (Campbell 197)
“The meaning is very clear; it is the meaning of all religious practice. The individual, through prolonged psychological disciplines, gives up completely all attachment to his personal limitations, idiosyncrasies, hopes and fears, no longer resists the self-annihilation that is prerequisite to rebirth in the realization of truth, and so becomes ripe, at last, for the great at-one-ment. His personal ambitions being totally dissolved, he no longer tries to live but willingly relaxes to whatever may come to pass in him; he becomes, that is to say, an anonymity. The Law lives in him with his unreserved consent” (Campbell 204-205).
“I am Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, and I have the power to be born a second time; I am the divine hidden Soul who createth the gods, and who giveth sepulchral meals unto the denizens of the Underworld of Amentet and of Heaven. I am the rudder of the east, the possessor of two divine faces wherein his beams are seen. I am the lord of the men who are raised up; the lord who cometh forth out of darkness, and whose forms of existence are of the house wherein are the dead. Hail, ye two hawks who are perched upon your resting-places, who harken unto the things which are said by him, who guide the bier to the hidden place, who lead along Re, and who follow him into the uppermost place of the shrine which is in the celestial heights! Hail, lord of the shrine which standeth in the middle of the earth. He is I, and I am he, and Ptah hath covered his sky with crystal” (Campbell, book of the dead 321).
“Thereafter, the soul may range the universe at will, as is shown in the "Chapter of Lifting Up the Feet and of Coming Forth upon the Earth," the "Chapter of Journeying to Heliopolis and of Receiving a Throne Therein," the "Chapter of a Man Transforming Himself into Whatever Form He Pleaseth" (Campbell 321).
“This is the stage of Narcissus looking into the pool, of the Buddha sitting contemplative under the tree, but it is not the ultimate goal; it is a requisite step, but not the end. The aim is not to see, but to realize that one is, that essence; then one is free to wander as that essence in the world. Furthermore: the world too is of that essence. The essence of oneself and the essence of the world: these rwo are one. Hence separateness, withdrawal, is no longer necessary. Wherever the hero may wander, whatever he may do, he is ever in the presence of his own essence-for he has the perfe.cted eye to see. There is no separateness….Centered in this hub-point, the question of selfishness or altruism disappears. The individual has lost himself in the law and been reborn in identity with the whole meaning of the universe” (Campbell 333).
FREEDOM TO LIVE: “WHAT, NOW, IS THE RESULT of the miraculous passage and return? The battlefield is symbolic of the field of life, where every creature lives on the death of another. A realization of the inevitable guilt of life may so sicken the heart that, like Hamlet or like Arjuna, one may refuse to go on with it. On the other hand, like most of the rest of us, one may invent a false, finally unjustified, image of oneself as an exceptional phenomenon in the world, not guilty as others are, but justified in one's inevitable sinning because one represents the good. Such self-righteousness leads to a misunderstanding, not only of oneself but of the nature of both man and the cosmos. The goal of the myth is to dispel the need for such life ignorance by effecting a reconciliation of the individual consciousness with the universal will” (Campbell 205).
“And this is effected through a realization of the true relationship of the passing phenomena of time to the imperishable life that lives and dies in all. Even as a person casts off worn-out clothes and puts on <;>thers that
are new, so the embodied Self casts off worn-out bodies and enters into others that are new. Weapons cut It not; fire burns It not; water wets It not; the wind does not wither It. This Self cannot be cut nor burnt nor wetted nor withered. Eternal, all-pervading, unchanging, immovable, the Self is the same forever” (Campbell 205-206).
“Man in the world of action loses his centering in the principle of eternity if he is anxious for the outcome of his deeds, but resting them and their fruits on the knees of the Living God he is released by them, as by a sacrifice, from the bondages of the sea of death” (Campbell 206).
"Do without attachment the work you have to do . . . . Surrendering all action to Me, with mind intent on the Self, freeing yourself from longing and selfishness, fight-unperturbed by grief” (Campbell 206).
As Tolkien writes, redeemed man will be like and unlike the fallen man previously known
Resurrection is often the featured element of a story’s climax
The final challenge often requires a display of the newly formed self that incorporates lessons learned from the journey through a decision that the old self would be unable to make.
Remembering that a choice without consequences is no choice at all, the ultimate choices made in these final scenes are often those of great self-sacrifice, which sometimes means even death
The ability to put something above personal interests is one of the core features of the hero
The character’s transformation should be visible to the other characters and audience
EPILOGUE – POST SCRIPT
Epilogues continue the work of wasteland redemption by conveying the extended effects of a story’s resolution, which may take place well beyond the story’s conclusion—sometimes months, years, or even eons after the story’s conclusion.
Just as some stories may have a prologue that precedes the main action, there may also be a need for an epilogue that follows the bulk of the story. An epilogue or postscript on rare occasions can serve to complete the story, by projecting ahead to some future time to show how the characters turned out. Terms if Endearment has an epilogue that shows the characters a year after the main story has ended. The feeling communicated is that even though there is sadness and death, life goes on. Look Who's Talking has an epilogue that shows the birth of the baby hero's little sister nine months after the main plot has been resolved. Stories that show a group of characters at a formative or critical period, like American Grtiffiti or war movies such as Glory or The Dirty Dozen, may end with a short segment that tells how the characters died, progressed in life, or were remembered. A League of Their Own has an extensive epilogue in which an aging woman ballplayer, having remembered her career in flashback for the main body of the film, visits the Baseball Hall of Fame and sees many of her teammates. The fates of the players are revealed and the surviving women, now in their sixties, stage a game to show that they still know how to play ball. Their spirit is the Elixir that revives the hero and the audience” (Vogler 223).
Catharsis means to vomit out or purge in the context of a breakthrough emotional release. This is the logical climax of a character arc and the emotional journey of an audience member. Such catharsis is dependent on the projections of pains brought to the story by audience members onto those pains resolved in the story, which leads to the intense catharctic experience that begins with the (internal) reliving of a deep personal pain.
“A catharsis is the logical climax of a hero's character arc. This is a term used to describe the gradual stages of change in a character: the phases and turning points of growth. A common £law in stories is that writers make heroes grow or change, but do so abruptly, in a single leap because of a single incident” (Vogler 205). “Catharsis works best through physical expression of emotions such as laughter and crying. Sentimental stories can bring an audience to a catharsis of tears by pushing their emotions to a climax” (Vogler 204).
“A climax should provide the feeling of catharsis. This Greek word actually means "vomiting up" or "purging," but in English has come to mean a purifying emotional release, or an emotional breakthrough. Greek drama was constructed with the intent of triggering a vomiting-up of emotions by the audience, a purging of the poisons of daily life. Just as they took purgatives to empty and cleanse their digestive systems from time to time, the Greeks at regular times of the year would go to the theatre to get rid of ill feeling. Laughter, tears, and shudders of terror are the triggers that bring about this healthy cleansing, this catharsis. In psychoanalysis, catharsis is a technique of relieving anxiety or depression by bringing unconscious material to the surface. The same is true, in a way, of storytelling. The climax you are trying to trigger in your hero and audience is the moment when they are the most conscious, when they have reached the highest point on a ladder of awareness. You are trying to raise the consciousness of both the hero and the participating audience. A catharsis can bring about a sudden expansion of awareness, a peak experience of higher consciousness” (Vogler 203).
A Climax should deliver Catharsis
Catharsis is a release
The climax can center around around any or all of the following crucial elements:
Defeat of Antagonist defending return threshold
Resurrection of New Hero
Redemption of Wasteland
Freedom to pass back and forth between the two worlds is one of the great rewards of the quest
SHELTERED WASTELAND OF THOU SHALT NORMS
ORDINARY / NORMAL WORLD – STATUS QUO & THOU SHALT
Introduction to Ordinary World: “The needs of the story will always dictate the best approach to structure. You may want to begin, as many stories do, by introducing the hero in her normal environment: the "Ordinary World."” ( Vogler 87). “Most stories take the hero out of the ordinary, mundane world and into a Special World, new and alien” (Vogler 10). For example, “in The Wizard if Oz, considerable time is spent to establish Dorothy's drab normal life in Kansas before she is blown to the wonderworld of Oz. Here the contrast is heightened by shooting the Kansas scenes in stern black and white while the Oz scenes are shot in vibrant Technicolor” (Vogler 10).
Amplification of Ordinary World Examples: Like Perceval, Sosruquo, Theseus, Persephone and so many other mythic characters, Luke Skywalker, Harry Potter, Neo and countless characters begin their stories in a comfortable, normal, mundane, known, ordinary world—a world of common day. The world at the beginning of the story is the status quo – the normal of the now.
Beginning in Ordinary World: “Because so many stories are journeys that take heroes and audiences to Special Worlds, most begin by establishing an Ordinary World as a baseline for comparison. The Special World of the story is only special if we can see it in contrast to a mundane world of everyday affairs from which the hero issues forth. The Ordinary World is the context, home base, and background of the hero” (Vogler 87). As C. S. Lewis writes, “the hero’s home and estate are important in any story” (Preface to Paradise Lost 27).
Contrast with Special World: “It's a good idea for writers to make the Ordinary World as different as possible from the Special World, so audience and hero will experience a dramatic change when the threshold is finally crossed. In The Wizard of Oz the Ordinary World is depicted in black and white, to make a stunning contrast with the Technicolor Special World of Oz” (Vogler 87). “Compared to the Special World, the Ordinary World may seem boring and calm, but the seeds of excitement and challenge can usually be found there. The hero's problems and conflicts are already present in the Ordinary World, waiting to be activated” (Vogler 87).
Ordinary World as Common Sense: The ordinary or normal world is an expression of a culture’s common sense, which is usually based on the most obvious dynamics of life—often structured around the choices and perspectives that result in societal acceptance and sustenance, beneath which lie the unseen, unspoken, and unsupported.
Ordinary World as Poetic Expression of Thematic Problem: Displaying the normal world is a crucial opportunity to display the thematic problem of the story. Cinematic introductions are filled with sequences that introduce the state of the world, and these sequences consistently reveal the problems embedded within the status quo. Think of Zootopia, Fellowship of the Ring, Star Wars, Superman—these stories begin by communicating the situation and status quo. It is exactly this status quo that the hero will transform. Campbell writes, “a transmutation of the whole social order is necessary, so that through every detail and act of secular life the vitalizing image of the universal god-man who is actually immanent and effective in all of us may be somehow made known to consciousness” (Campbell 335).
Thou Shalt: "Thou Shalt," is what great dragon is called…sparkling with gold - a beast covered with scales; and on every scale glitters a golden, "Thou Shalt!" The values of a thousand years glitter on those scales, and thus speaks the mightiest of all dragons: "All the values of all things - glitter on me. All values have already been created, and all created values - do I represent. Truly, there shall be no 'I will' any more. Thus speaks the dragon” (Nietzsche, Zarathustra 24).
Status Quo & Accumulation of Norms: In this famous passage from Nietzsche’s work, he describes status quo as an accumulation of past norms that stifles the freedom of a new individual. At the beginning of stories, the world is typically in this form—stilted and dried out by old norms and customs that no longer serve culture or creative life. Such stasis, such boring normality, is, at the same time, lifelessness, motionlessness, soullessness. This is a wasteland.
Slaying Monster of Status Quo: Campbell picks up on Nietzsche’s work, which was picked up by Stanley Kubric, who used the song, Thus Sprake Zarathustra, in 2001. “The mythological hero is the champion not of things become but of things becoming; the dragon to be slain by him is precisely the monster of the status quo: Holdfast, the keeper of the past. From obscurity the hero emerges, but the enemy is great and conspicuous in the seat of power; he is enemy, dragon, tyrant, because he turns to his own advantage the authority of his position. He is Holdfast not because he keeps the past but because he keeps” (Campbell 289).
Collective Belief as Stifling to Individuality: Jung engages the topic of status quo and the stifling of individuality in his work, The Undiscovered Self. He writes. “the patient should have acquired enough certainty of judgment to enable him to act on his own insight and decision and not from the mere wish to copy convention – even if he happens to agree with collective opinion. Unless he stands firmly on his own feet, the so-called objective values profit him nothing, since they then only serve as a substitute for character and so help to suppress his individuality. Naturally, society has an indisputable right to protect itself against arrant subjectivisms, but, in so far as society itself is composed of de-individualized persons, it is completely at the mercy of ruthless individualists. Let it band together into groups and organizations as much as it likes – it is just this banding together and the resultant extinction of the individual personality that makes it succumb so readily to a dictator. A million zeros joined together do not, unfortunately, add up to one. Ultimately everything depends on the quality of the individual, but the fatally shortsighted habit of our age is to think only in terms of large numbers and mass organizations, though one would think that the world had seen more than enough of what a well-disciplined mob can do in the hands of a single madman. Unfortunately, this realization does not seem to have penetrated very far – and the individual’s understanding of himself our blindness in this respect is extremely dangerous. People go on blithely organizing and believing in the sovereign remedy of mass action, without the least consciousness of the fact that the most powerful organizations can be maintained only by the greatest ruthlessness of their leaders and the cheapest of slogans” (Jung, Undiscovered 39).
Individual Leaders of Collective Belief: Where Jung looks at the threats of collective consciousness to individuality, Hegel (a 19th century philosopher) gives attention to what happens when an individual comes to personify a growing collective vision for the future. He writes, it is “an unconscious impulse that [occasions] the accomplishment of that for which the time [is] ripe. Such [is the case with] all great historical men whose own particular aims involve those large issues which are the will of the World−Spirit. They may be called Heroes, inasmuch as they have derived their purposes and their vocation, not from the calm, regular course of things, sanctioned by the existing order; but from a concealed fount--one which has not attained to phenomenal, present existence, but from that inner Spirit, still hidden beneath the surface, which, impinging on the outer world as on a shell, bursts it in pieces, because it is another kernel than that which belonged to the shell in question. They are men, therefore, who appear to draw the impulse of their life from themselves; and whose deeds have produced a condition of things and a complex of historical relations which appear to be only their interest, and their work…They [are] thinking men, who [have] an insight into the requirements of the time [that are] ripe for development…That Spirit which [takes a] fresh step in history is the inmost soul of all individuals; but in a state of unconsciousness which the great men in question aroused. Their fellows, therefore, follow these soul−leaders; for they feel the irresistible power of their own inner Spirit thus embodied” (33-34, Philosophy of History, Hegel)
Hero as Defeater of Status Quo Guardian: According to Campbell, “The work of the incarnation [the hero] is to refute by his presence the pretensions of the tyrant ogre” who champions and defends the status quo—the known world of common day (Campbell 300). “The figure of the tyrant-monster [Thou Shalt] is known to the mythologies, folk traditions, legends, and even nightmares of the world; and his characteristics are everywhere essentially the same. He is the hoarder of the general benefit. He is the monster avid for the greedy rights of "my and mine." The havoc wrought by him is described in mythology and fairy tale as being universal throughout his domain. This may be no more than his household, his own tortured psyche, or the lives that he blights with the touch of his friendship and assistance; or it may amount to the extent of his civilization. The inflated ego of the tyrant is a curse to himself and his world-no matter how his affairs may seem to prosper. "Self-terrorized, fear-haunted, alert at every hand to meet and battle back the anticipated aggressions of his environment, which are primarily the reflections of the uncontrollable impulses to acquisition within himself, the giant of self-achieved independence is the world's messenger of disaster, even though, in his mind, he may entertain himself with humane intentions. Wherever he sets his hand there is a cry (if not from the housetops, then-more miserably-within every heart); a cry for the redeeming hero, the carrier of the shining blade, whose blow, whose touch, whose existence, will liberate the land” (Campbell 11).
Hero as Connection with Past for Purpose of Future: To Campbell, the hero’s role is to carry the past into the present for the purpose of the future. To make an analogy, there was once a theory that the growing up of children reflected a memory of human evolution—so we would go through a stage as water creatures (sperm) and grow/evolve towards humanity in our childhood. I don’t think this theory holds a lot of water, but it’s a perfect analogy. To go through a new heroic journey that will change the world and renew its relationship with the depths, the hero must first become familiar with the great revolutions that have brought the world to present. As Evans Smith would say, the underworld is a granary of treasure and a storehouse of memory. One of the great accomplishments of heroes is to raid the underworld and return with memories that serve the present. For example, in Hindu myth, in a time of peril, a dive was orchestrated. The purpose of this dive was to retrieve items from a civilization that had fallen beneath the waves. These objects were needed in their own time. Campbell writes, “the modern hero deed must be that of questing to bring to light again the lost Atlantis of the co-ordinated soul” (Campbell 334).
Hero as Reuniter with Divine Source Isolated from Status Quo: “The supreme hero, however, is not the one who merely continues the dynamics of the cosmogonic round, but he who reopens the eye-so that through all the comings and goings, delights and agonies of the world panorama, the One Presence will be seen again. This requires a deeper wisdom than the other, and results in a pattern not of action but of significant representation” (Campbell 296). “The hero's first task is to experience consciously the antecedent stages of the cosmogonic cycle; to break back through the epochs of emanation. His second, then, is to return from that abyss to the plane of contemporary life, there to serve as a human transformer of demiurgic potentials” (Campbell 276).
As Campbell explained, part of the essential recovery of the hero is the actual link or bridge with the divine. When Prometheus steals fire, it isn’t just knowledge, this is the fire through which sacrifices are sent to the divine. This is the fire the connects every settlement to the divine hearth of the hub-city. As the fire connects mortals to the divine, Campbell calls for a reconnection of the conscious psyche with its deeper and unconscious qualities. He writes, “today no meaning is in the group none in the world: all is in the individual. But there the meaning is absolutely unconscious. One does not know toward what one moves. One does not know by what one is propelled. The lines of communication between the conscious and the unconscious zones of the human psyche have all been cut, and we have been split in two” (Campbell 334).
Recovery of Imaginal Relationship with Nature: As Prometheus renewed the human relationship with the divine, and as Campbell calls for a renewed relationship with the unconscious, Tolkien calls for a recovery of an imaginal relationship with nature, which he sees as responsible for the creative processes of crafting a fairy story. “We need recovery. We should look at green again, and be startled anew (but not blinded) by blue and yellow and red. We should meet the centaur and the dragon, and then perhaps suddenly behold, like the ancient shepherds, sheep, and dogs, and horses—and wolves. This recovery fairy-stories help us to make. In that sense only a taste for them may make us, or keep us, childish” (Tolkien 57). This renewal is not just the deed needed of a great hero. Tolkien believes that all of us would be rewarded by such recovery. What I would say is that he is the hero—the individual leading the way towards a new and hopefully one-day pervasive perspective.
The Normal World provides a strong baseline for contrast with the extraordinary world. T
Characters most frequently begin the story in the extraordinary world and journey to the world of normality. F
The Ordinary World is experienced as Profane and Mundane. T
The Ordinary World is experienced by all as Sacred. F
The Ordinary world is often
- Reflective of common sense
- Representative of the Thematic Problem
The accumulation of norms over time can be experienced as a set of stifling burdens to the individual seeking authenticity. T
The hero is frequently the one who will transform the status quo and bring about something new. T
The threshold guardian, tyrant ogre and dragon thou shalt are monsters defending the status quo from positive change. T
A hero is often one who slays the status quo guardian monster. T
Hegel suggests that major leaders throughout history often carry an emerging interest of collective will. T
To change the future, the Hero often has to establish a revitalized relationship with the past. T
To redeem the wasteland and establish a new fertile norm, the hero often actuates a revived relationship with the source of creation. T
Introduction to Oedipus Complex: “The myth of King Oedipus, who killed his father and took his mother to wife, reveals, with little modification, the infantile wish, which is later opposed and repudiated by the barrier against incest. Shakespeare's Hamlet is equally rooted in the soil of the incest-complex, but under a better disguise.” (Freud, 1910 Lectures, 13 – First appearance of Oedipus Complex).What Freud means by the infantile wish, which he comes to see as the Oedipus Complex, is the desire of the infant son to return to its mother. Because for Freud, everything about everything was sexual, his fixation was on sexually literalized urges in the psyche. Since his initial introduction of the concept, others have come to interpret the complex (and myth) as symbolic of something more metaphysical and existential in nature.
Oedipus Complex & Separation: Before the baby is born, it is one with the mother. The mother inside which it lives is its universe, with which it is one. Birth, the cutting of the umbilical cord, the separation from the mother, is the first human experience of separation itself—separation from oneness, from cosmos, from the divine. Such separation is one of the primary foundations of the entire existential tradition. The recognition of self as isolated, as separate from the universe, from other people—humanity at large and lovers no matter how near—can trigger tremendous anxiety that can be called existential. There are two primary responses to the Oedipal anxiety of separation from the cosmos: 1, go backwards to that source, which, taken literally, is to the mother; or 2, go forward, to a new source of union. This impulse is exemplified through an interpretation of the Grail Quest as a quest for both divine union and feminine love
Physical Anxiety of Birth & Separation: “Freud has suggested that all moments of anxiety reproduce the painful feelings of the first separation from the mother-the tightening of the breath, congestion of the blood, etc., of the crisis of birth” (Campbell 44). “Conversely, all moments of separation and new birth produce anxiety. Whether it be the king's child about to be taken from the felicity of her established dual-unity with King Daddy, or God's daughter Eve, now ripe to depart from the idyl of the Garden, or again, the supremely concentrated Future Buddha breaking past the last horizons of the created world, the same archetypal images are activated, symbolizing danger, reassurance, trial, passage, and the strange holiness of the mysteries of birth” (44).
Freud suggests that moments of anxiety reproduce the painful feelings of the first separation from the mother T/F
The Oedipus Complex concerns the anxiety of separation itself, which is experienced most directly through the separation of child from mother T/F
Insofar as the grail quest portrays a journey from the pre-birth union with mother to a new union with a lover, the Oedipus complex represents a regressive path back to the mother’s womb. T / F
According to Campbell, the Oedipus complex sets up a foundational narrative pattern within the nuclear family in which the father, as the intruder on an infant’s union with the mother, is experienced as “bad” while the mother is seen as the source of union and nourishment. T / F
According to Freud, when King Oedipus slayed his father and married his mother, it was an enactment of childhood wishes T / F
We are studying the Oedpius complex, first and foremost, because we are interested in the surface of Freud’s theory about the son’s sexual attraction to his mother—not the deeper psychology of separation and the quest for union T/F
The feeling of estrangement—separation, solitude—is one of the deepest emotional and existential motivators of the human psyche. Quests for lovers and totems can be surrogate quests for wholeness. Sometimes this wholeness is sought on the grandest level—with cosmos or God—and sometimes on the smallest—with a memento or a small community. T/F
Shelter of Young Heroes: Reflecting the experience of birth as the beginning of human estrangement, the biographies of many heroes “exhibit the variously rationalized theme of the infant exile and return. This is a prominent feature in all legend, folktale, and myth. Usually an effort is made to give it some semblance of physical plausibility.” (Campbell 278). “THE PLACE OF THE HERO'S BIRTH, or the remote land of exile from which he returns to perform his adult deeds among men, is the mid-point or navel of the world. Just as ripples go out from an underwater spring, so the forms of the universe expand in circles from the source” (Campbell 287). This motif of a sheltered or removed childhood can be found in the stories of Perceval and Sosruquo, as well as Christ and the Buddha.
Sheltering of Buddha: Campbell writes, “The young prince Gautama Sakyamuni, the Future Buddha, had been protected by his father from all knowledge of age, sickness, death, or monkhood, lest he should be moved to thoughts of life renunciation; for it had been prophesied at his birth that he was to become either a world emperor or a Buddha. The king-prejudiced in favor of the royal vocation-provided his son with three palaces and forty thousand dancing girls to keep his mind attached to the world. But these only served to advance the inevitable; for while still relatively young, the youth exhausted for himself the fields of fleshly joy and became ripe for the other experience” (Campbell 46-47).
Home as Womb: The Sheltering of the youth in the mother’s home is mimetic with the sheltering of the infant in the womb. As the infant is born from the womb (or egg), so it is born from the nest or home, so it is born from Eden, Paradise, or the golden age. As long as one is in the nest or in the home, the parent takes responsibility for their resources and wellbeing—this is mimetic with the womb, golden age, and Eden.
Paradisal Beginnings: Before “The Fall,” four rivers watered the garden, where the lord God made grow “every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food” (Genesis 2: 8-15). It is generally believed that in the garden there was enough provision for the first humans “not to go hungry nor to go naked, nor to suffer from thirst, nor from the sun's heat" (Sura XX Ta-Ha 7:118-119). “In the happy Garden … / [mankind reaped] immortal fruits of joy and love, / uninterrupted joy, unrivaled love” (Milton, III. 67-68).[i] “Every tree that is planted in it is sacred” (Book of Jubilees 15; 3). According to Andersen’s fairy tale, it is an “Isle of Bliss, where death never comes … a delightful place to be” (Garden of Paradise 85). In Milton’s description, the fruit was actually “burnished with Golden Rind … Hesperian fables true” (67). The Garden is where humans existed before they were mortal, before they were hungry, before they labored. As the paradise of heaven follows death, the paradise of Eden preceded life’s labors.[ii] In this un-fallen place, the divine couple was, according to Milton, “incapable of mortal injury Imperishable, and though pierced with wound, / Soon closing, and by native vigor healed” (VI. 434-436). The situation of Eden in the east, in the context of beginnings, implies this was not to last.
Separation from Paradise: Separation from home, like the separation from Eden, is as an umbilical cutting from a source—like the plucking of a fruit from its mother tree. The desire to regressively return to this source of paradisal union can be seen as an expression of the Oedipus Complex—an expression of what Freud calls the infantile state.
Separation as Beginning: This is often where a character will begin the story—in a dependent state resisting growth, resisting the quest for self-sustaining individuality, for a new sustainable way of being that feels meaningful and connected. Psychologically, or for the purpose of studying story, we look at Eden as an example of the starting state of comfort. Life is covered and nothing is hard—there’s food, there are no anxieties, and there are no doubts. Characters often start in this state—as children, as thriving adults, as mooching bums, etc. The characters are then, as with Adam & Eve, separated from their paradise, from their stasis. Naturally, this can trigger an overwhelming motivation to restore a sense of paradise—sometimes in healthy ways, sometimes not.
Vegetal Origins of Wasteland Motif: The origin of the wasteland motif is death of vegetation that comes with winter followed by new growth with the warming days of Spring. As humans came to control vegetation in the form of agriculture, wasteland extended into the death of crops during winter, draught, or the destruction of a field for battle. Symbolically, drought and death on earth and field has poetically used to express the drought and death of soul, creativity and freedom. The following section integrates quotations from the original and most foundational works focused on the wasteland.