Journey Motif in Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist: A Study of the Role and Relevance of Archetypal Figures
The Alchemist is a famous novel by Brazilian author Paulo Coelho that was first published in 1988. The work traces a young shepherd’s journey named Santiago to the pyramids of Egypt in search of treasure. A recurring dream is the call for him to set on the perilous as well as adventurous journey. In this journey the boy faces many hindrances and obstacles. The main theme of the novel is about finding ones destiny. Paulo Coelho explains that “when you really want something to happen, the whole universe will conspire so that your wish comes of true.” This is core philosophy and motif of the novel. A hero follows his call from the unknown world which provides perils and pitfalls to test hero’s strength and determination. The boy reaches an oasis when he meets and falls in love with an Arabian girl, Fatima who claims true love for him and later proves a temptress in his journey. The boy sells all his shepherds so that he could meet the expenditure of his journey but he is robed. The boy takes such ordeals off hands until he doesn’t meet an old wise man, the Guru figure an alchemist who guides him in the rest of his journey. The alchemist, teaches him to realize his true self, his persona. They together risk the rest of the journey through the territory of warring tribes. At last Santiago is informed by a stranger that the treasure he has been seeking is in the ruined church where he had his original dream. Santiago has achieved the goal of his journey by finding the treasure of realization within and he is no more striving for any mundane accumulations. The hero turns triumph on his journey towards self even after facing the hardships of it.
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