Monomyth PowerPoint III

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
The Ultimate Boon
 The hero has reached a balance,
psychologically, and in return he is
granted a power that may benefit his
 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
 Cotton arrives at the Buffalo Preserve.
The Return
The third and final major stage of the
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
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
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
 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
 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
 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
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’
 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
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.
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