Analysis of The Hero's Journey

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According to Christopher Vogler (2007)

The hero is the protagonist and the central character whose primary objective is to separate from the ordinary world. The hero has also managed to sacrifice himself to offer full service to the journey. The Hero’s quest is always to complete the journey and restore the balance of the Ordinary World. The journey might be a challenge when it comes to personal growth. The hero wants to win a competition, find love, and heal wound at the same time.

Heroes are also required to answer calls to adventures

Whereby the physical lives and the fate of the world require immediate solution. In that case, heroes are always required to learn to accept the sacrifice that comes with life and limb for the services of other fellow heroes. After all, the hero must always be driven by the universal needs such as justice, success, love, and correction of mistakes (Vogler, 1992). The hero does not need to be good but can grow and learn during the journey. Even though the hero might be reluctant and have some excuses, by the end of the journey the hero must be active and driven by the conviction to succeed. What follows is the analysis of the archetypes and stages of the Hero’s Journey.

Archetypes and Stages of The Hero’s Journey


This is an essential archetype and stage of the hero’s journey. The mentor provides the hero with training, insights, and motivation to help him overcome fears and doubts during the journey. In most cases, the mentor has traveled the journey before and can provide the best guide to the Hero, especially the one who is reluctant to face challenges. Suppose the hero prove his commitment to the completion of the journey, the mentor might respond by rewarding him with magical gifts such as a key, clothing, weapon, and a piece of advice (Suter, 2016). Also, the mentor will present a more powerful magical gift, with the aim of luring the hero to accept the challenge.


The herald characters helps with the issuing of challenges and announcement of the coming significant change at the same time. Their main objective is to warn and challenge. In that case, herald characters can make an appearance anytime during the success of the journey. They normally appear at the beginning of the journey to announce their call for an adventure (Suiter, 2016). The character may wear the herald mask while making an announcement or simply delivering a letter. The Herald character can also reside within the hero in the form of visions and dreams. These factors can push the hero to change his lie. The herald’s agenda is also defined by the external event such as the declaration of war or storm. Whichever the case, the Herald is needed by the hero to keep the story rolling.


This is also an important archetype that determines the stage of the hero's life. The shadow represents the darkest desires, untapped resources, and rejected qualities of the hero. Shadow cannot be bad as such and can reveal admirable and redeeming qualities at the same time (Vogler, 2007). The villains and the enemy of the hero normally wear the shadow mask and this particular force have been used to destroy the hero together with his cause.


This kind of mask normally misleads the hero by hiding the loyalties and intentions of the character. It presents surface questions and doubts in the mind of the hero. At some point, the archetype can effectively impart suspense in the hero's journey. For example, on a romantic journey, the mask of a shape-shifter is always put on by the opposite sex (Vogler, 1992).


This is the type of archetype that results in the stage of disruption, which in turn brings chaos into the ordinary world. The trickster normally uses laughter to make a character that sees the absurdity of the current situation, and maybe can bring change. In pursue an action adventure, the Hero may wear the trickster mask to disarm the enemy. In the comedy adventure, the hero will use the mask throughout the journey.

Threshold Guardian:

The archetype creates situations that bring tests into the life of the hero. Threshold Guardians normally protect the secrets of the special world from the hero (Suiter, 2016). Therefore, providing the hero with essential tests to prove his worth and commitment. The hero must overcome these obstacles at all cost. The hero can use any method available, including befriending, overcoming, appeasing, ignoring, and outwitting. In that case, the threshold Guardian in the hero's journey might be a locked door, character, or secret vault, the force of nature, or an animal.

Discussion and Conclusion

According to the analysis of the stages created by the archetypes above, the hero does not be good in everything. Some of the heroes might be loner heroes, outlaws, and antiheroes who live by their rules and sometimes buck the system. The hero is required to grow and learn most of the time during the journey. Before the start of the journey, the hero normally exists in the ordinary world. This is the place, where the hero feels safe. It is the same place where the true nature and capabilities of nature are revealed. The hero is anchored as a normal human being.

Normally, the stages of the hero’s journey started when he received calls to action. The calls may entail a direct threat to his life, peace of the community, or his family. Whatever the type of the call the hero receives, it automatically disrupts his comfort in the Ordinary World. Consequently, presenting a challenge that a hero must solve. The hero might accept the call, but at this stage, he will be having some fears that he must overcome before undertaking the journey. The hero might respond by refusing the call when the challenge is too big to handle. However, the hero's quest to conquer is normally saved by the mentor. Meeting the mentor is the crucial turning point in the hero's life. It is the stage where the hero desperately needs the mentor to guide him in whatever he needs. The hero depends on the mentor for wise advice, practical training, and self-confidence. The mentor provides the hero with the items that serve to dispel his fears and doubts and at the same time give him the courage and strength to start his quest.

After receiving advice and courage from the mentor, the hero is now ready to enter into the stage of crossing the threshold. It is the stage where the hero truly starts the quest, whether it is emotional, physical, or spiritual. Crossing the threshold is the stage where the hero crosses two worlds, the one he is familiar with and the one he is not. The hero might be doing what he is scared of doing. Nevertheless, the stage of crossing the threshold presents the hero's commitment to his journey.

Out of his ordinary world, the hero is confronted with a series of challenges that brings a variety of tests in his life. Several obstacles are thrown across his path, whether physical or items that can thwart his progress. Whichever the case, the hero must overcome every challenge presented on his journey so as to reach the ultimate goal. The hero must find out who he can trust and who he cannot because he will be meeting both allies and enemies along the way. Each of them will help him achieve greater ordeal during the journey. It is the stage where the skills and powers of the hero are tested. Therefore, every obstacle that the hero faces helps with a deeper insight into hero's ultimate character.

In conclusion, the hero must always experience the supreme ordeal, which might be a dangerous test. The hero faces it so that the world he lives continues to exist. Whether it is a deadly experience, the hero will have to draw all of his skills and experience gathered to overcome the most challenging stage in his life. This is the stage where the archetypes such as mentor, herald, shadow, shape-shifter, trickster, and guardian threshold apply. After all, the hero is expected to return home with a reward.


Suter, B. (January 01, 2016). The Collective Unconscious as Culprit.

Vogler, C. (2007). The writer's journey: Mythic structure for writers. Studio City, CA:             Michael Wiese Productions.

Vogler, C. (1992). The writer's journey: Mythic structures for storytellers and screenwriters. Studio City, CA: M. Wiese Productions.

September 25, 2023




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