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Joseph Campbell’s term monomyth, also referred to as the hero’s journey, refers to a pattern found in many stories from around the world. In a monomyth, the hero begins in the ordinary world, and receives a call to enter an unknown world of strange powers and events. There begins many challenges and successes which plot line the story. If the hero does decide to return, he or she often faces challenges on the return journey. In Pilgrims Progress, the pattern of this monomyth is clearly identified through trials of many stages.
The story begins with a call to adventure, were the hero begins in a situation of normality from which a calling is received to head off into the unknown. Christian starts his journey with given a calling to free from his home in the City of destruction on pages one and two. His refusal of call is when Christian starts to doubt his bible, which has seemed to have left him astray.
The supernatural aid is a man named Evangelist who helps Christian and leads the way to his destination. “Sir are you willing to point the way?” asked Christian, “I am Evangelist”, the man replied, “I am willing.” (Pages three and four). The crossing of threshold is when Pliable and Obstinate come across Christian and try to convince him to go home, Pliable continues on with Christian until they reach a rough challenge and pliable deserts Christian.
In stage two, the road of trials consist of Mr.
Worldly Wiseman who leads him astray or when Christian tried to remove his burden in disloyal ways. Almost turning back at the sight of the lions, or becoming a little too cocky when telling about his victories. His treacherous fight with Apollyon, going through the alluring Vanity Fair. Christian’s almost death experience with the big Giant of Despair and many more tempting trials. During these roads of trials, Christian meets Discretion, who provides shelter and armor. She is the Meeting of the Goddess. Throughout these times of despair, Christian always comes out a little bit stronger and wiser than before.
In the end of the story, Christian meets his final challenge of the River of death. It is hard for his to pass, because of the strong doubts that worm its way into his head. But with the help of his hopeful friend, they realize that god is always with them This journey through the River of Death is a symbolism of baptism, the forgiveness and cleansing of sins. This may be the Ultimate Boon. They look at the shining gates ahead and are welcomed with the coir singing. As Christian looks back, he can make out clearly all the roads and challenges he has completed. Feeling more content than ever, he returns to the Celestial City.
Pilgrims progress clearly has a strong stage one and two, the steps identical as the monomyth states. On stage three, there might not be all of the steps that finish the monomyth, but it does end with a journey complete. Pilgrims progress is a monomyth, a hero’s journey that resembles the encounters and rewards on a Christian’s journey to the Lord.
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