Monomyth Part III Apotheosis (freedom from fear) The hero’s ego is disintegrated in a breakthrough expansion of consciousness. His idea of reality is altered and he sees a larger, more important world view as of greater importance than his self. Because of the change in consciousness he is able to offer a sacrifice of self for the greater good of the world. This concept of sacrifice of hero is an unalterable part of the monomyth. All heros sacrifice; in essence, they cannot be a hero without sacrifice. Apotheosis Examples Simba accepts his own misguided belief that he was responsible for his father’s death and returns to the Pride Lands to face Scar, a task that my result in his own death Dorothy willingly braves the Wicked Witch’s castle to achieve her goal Apotheosis, the acceptance of one’s fate or destiny in the bigger scheme of life Odysseus’ ego has always been his driving force, nor has he ever been a coward. Therefore, his apotheosis occurs later in the story, when he finally accepts that the gods are greater than he. (When he tells Eurycleia not to gloat over the death of the suitors – the victory belongs to the gods.) John Cotton’s apotheosis is his acceptance of his sacrficial death. – He has accepted his role as savior of the buffalo/boys because they mean more to him than his own life. – As Cotton is trying to break down the final fence at the buffalo preserve, Swarthout writes, “He was desperate and sane and improvising and coordinated, and stoical as stone and chiggers of excitement ate him alive.” (181) Here we can clearly see the altered consciousness required for an apotheosis. The Ultimate Boon The hero has reached a balance, psychologically, and in return he is granted a power that may benefit his world. The ultimate boon is the achievement of the goal of the quest. Ultimate Boon examples Simba realizes he was not responsible for his father’s death. Dorothy kills the Wicked Witch. Odyseus is returned to Ithaca by the Pheacians. Cotton arrives at the Buffalo Preserve. The Return The third and final major stage of the monomyth Stages of the Return Refusal Magic Flight Rescue from Without Crossing the Return Threshold Master of Two Worlds Freedom to Live The Refusal Sometimes, though not always, the hero may be reluctant to return to the real world and leave the inner psychological confines of the otherworld. Now that he has achieved bliss and enlightenment he may not want to return to the real world with his boon. Examples of Magic Flight Simba’s return is sanctioned by his father, one of the great gods in the sky, so he simply runs across the African plains. Dorothy’s return to the Emerald City is obviously supported by Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, and so her Magic Flight is accomplished rather quickly and uneventfully. Example of the Refusal Dorothy is reluctant to leave her newfound friends, the Scarecrow, the Tinman, and the not-so cowardly Lion Harry Potter, at the end of the first book, is reluctant to return to Dursley The Magic Flight This is the hero’s actual voyage from the shadowlands to the threshold of the real world. Can occur in two ways: – If the hero’s quest has won the blessing of the gods his flight is quite easy and will be a minor step. – If the heroes quest has been resented by the gods he will face another problem before he can return. Odysseus is returned to Ithaca by the Pheacians, which angers Poseidon. In retribution, Poseidon destroys Pheacia, and Odysseus is greeted by a house full of suitors who wish to steal both his wife and his kingdom, and to murder his son Cotton’s Magic Flight is when he breaks down the fence at the outer perimeter of the camp. Literally he flies over the edge of the Mongollon Rim. Rescue from Without Sometimes, though certainly not always, the hero may need to be rescued by an ordinary person to return to his real world. Examples of Rescue from Without In The Lion King Simba would not have returned to the Pride Lands without Rafiki’s intervention. In The Odyssey Odysseus needs the Pheacians to return to Ithaca. The Crossing of the Return Threshold To cross back into the real world the hero faces another threshold guardian. The first threshold, that thrust him into the shadow world, was a symbolic death (the death of his childish view of self and world). This threshold represents a rebirth (the concept as self as part of a bigger world.) Examples of Threshold Guardians Simba’s return threshold guardian is Scar, a symbolic representation of Simba’s older inappropriate character traits (selfishness, pride, and laziness as demonstrated in the song “I Just Can’t Wait to be King.” ) Dorothy’s threshold guardian is the Wizard, whom she has believed capable of sending her home. When he proves incapable of the task, she must ultimately rely on her self to accomplish the goal. Odysseus” threshold guardian(s) are the suitors who represent the boastful, arrogant man Odysseus used to be. – Antinous’ boasting and contemptuos treatment of “the beggar,” and his leadership (or lack thereof) is significant in its parallel to Odysseus on his way from Troy to Alcinous’ Hall. John Cotton’s threshold guardian is the last (perimeter) fence at the Bufffalo Preserve. – Here he must choose to save his own life or to sacrifice it for the buffalo/boys. Master of Two Worlds This step is usually represented by a transcendental hero like Jesus or Buddha. For a human hero, it may mean achieving a balance between the material and spiritual. The person has become comfortable and competent in both the inner and outer worlds (the shadow world and the real world). Examples of Mastery Simba takes on the adult responsibility of leader of the Pride Lands and husband of Nala, however he retains his ties to Timon and Pumbaa (symbolic tie to the jungle, i.e. the shadow lands) Dorothy returns to Kansas to discover that her friends from Oz (Scarecrow, Tinman, and the Cowardly Lion) are actually workers on the farm, thus retaining her ties to Oz. Odysseus, Master again of Ithaca, and clearly beloved of Athena, can now venture anywhere he wants, though where he wants to be is at home in Ithaca with his wife. Cotton as a Christ-figure achieves the transcedental Mastery of Two Worlds. – Technically dead, he leaves a part of himself with the real world. Like Christ, he leaves a symbolic form of the Holy Spirit. – This represented in the story by the jeep’s radio. In the last paragraph of the novel as the boys stand facing “the men in ridiculous hats” Swarthout writes, “[They] were bunched up bawling in their sorrow and jeering in their triumph over what seemed to be the sound of the radio.” Cotton (Christ) has acended to heaven, but leaves the boys with the comfort and support of his spirit. Freedom to Live Mastery leads to freedom from the fear of death, which in turn is the freedom to live. This is sometimes referred to as living in the moment, neither anticipating the future nor regretting the past. Examples of Freedom to Live Rafiki’s presentation of the new cub represents Simba’s freedom to live. He can now “live in the moment” assured of the future through his own child. Dorothy, after having recognized her ability to triumph over the Wicked Witch, no longer harbors a deep fear of the nasty lady down the street. Toto will not be accosted by the “Wicked Witch.” Therefore, both Dorothy and Toto can look forward to enjoying their lives. Odysseus too is free to live in the moment enjoying his extremly loyal wife, his kingdom, the protection of Athena, and his son, Telemachus.