Tuesday, 31 May 2011

The Monomyth

I recently discoverd the theory of the 'Monomyth' by Joseph Campbell (1904-1987). I don't know how many of you have herd of this before, but its pretty fascinating. The basic idea is that the structure of all myths and religous beliefs, from any culture at any time, are essentially the same. Below is the criteria for the 'Hero's Journey,' one of the main myths seen throughout the world.

Act 1: Departure

Call to Adventure
Refusal of the Call
Supernatural Aid
Crossing the Threshold
Accepting the Call
'Belly of the Whale' (engulfed or dominated by opponent)

Act 2: Initiation

Road of Trials
Meeting with 'godess'
Meeting with temptress
Atonement with the Father
Apotheosis (ascending to a divine level)

Act 3: Return

Refusal to Return
Magic Flight
Rescue from Without
Crossing the Threshold (again)
Master of the Two Worlds

This formula is used in almost all blockbuster successes. All of these terms are highly changeable; it is only the impact of each that matters. For example, Crossing the Threshold (in Act 1) for Lord of the Rings may be when the hobbits leave the Shire. In Alice in Wonderland it is when she falls down the rabbit hole. In The Hangover it is when they head out on the roadtrip.
I thought this was pretty cool, hope you do too!

Let me slap some prog on you.


  1. once you know about it, you see it in every film

  2. Very interesting theory, I've always been fascinated by the similarities throughout different cultures.

  3. Crazy, makes me think of all the parallels there are with the story of Noah's Ark and many other stories amongst different religions.

  4. Very interesting! I assume this is from Kovac's course or some related reading? I'm so excited for that course!

  5. Yeah it is, and you should be! Its pretty great.