What do Frodo, Luke Skywalker, Indiana Jones, Neo, Bilbo, Marty McFly, Harry Potter, Prince Ali “Mighty Is He” Ali Ababwa, Batman, and pretty much every other hero have in common? If you answered “keen fashion sense” you’d be absolutely right, and I also should have included Buffy Summers. What’s really shared across almost every heroic story throughout history is the Monomyth or “The Hero’s Journey”
This incredibly cool short by student (and name I can’t pronounce) Iskander Krayenbosch demonstrates mythologist Joseph Campbell‘s Monomyth by using simplified blockbuster characters to show each stage. When put side by side it really becomes clear that the adventures we see in most movies are that of the hero’s journey.
1. The Ordinary World
2. The Call to Adventure
3. Refusal of the Call
4. Meeting with the Mentor
5. Crossing the Threshold
6. Tests, Allies and Enemies
7. Approach to the Innermost Cave
8. The Ordeal
10. The Road Back
11. The Resurrection
Think about any movie with a central hero character. More often than not, the blueprint of the Hero’s Journey will adhere to that character’s story. When so many movies can fit this mold, it may annoy some people who might see it as cheap or too cookie cutter, but think of it this way – Stories that follow this pattern have been told for about as long as narratives have been around. This format might keep showing up because it appeals to all of us on a primal level.
We all in some small way want to be the hero (or at least enjoy it when it happens) so it would make sense it’s somehow programmed in our storytelling DNA.
What are your favorite examples of the Monomyth? Let us know in the comments below!