The Joseph Campbell Wikia PageEdit


Photograph of Joseph Campbell

Welcome to the WikiEdit

Welcome! This is the Joseph Campbell Wiki Page! 


This wiki is meant for savvy mythology students who want a deeper look at the works of Joseph Campbell. It is meant to be a very readable manuel to deeper issues raised by famed literary scholar, Jospeh Campbell. Through this comprehensive guide, you will be able to understand Campbell's theory of the monomyth and also apply it to your other literature studies. 

Who was Jospeph Campbell?Edit

Joseph Cambell was a famed literary scholar and mythologist. His area of study was the application of psychology in the study of ancient mythology. As a student of Carl Jung, he studied the human psyche extensivly, and believed that myth was formed by the culmulative efforts of the conscious and subconscious minds (Campbell). The depth to which Campbell discusses this relationship is studied more extensvly in his book, Hero with a Thousand Faces. However, this guide will give you a rough outline of his book, especially the monomyth.

The MonomythEdit


The main highlight of Campell's work, Hero with a Thousand Faces, was his extensive coverage of the monomyth. Although he borrowed the word from author James Joyce, Campbell explores this topic in great detail in an effort to understand "a universal pattern that is the essence of, and common to, heroic tales in every culture". The monomyth connects every story of hero's by showing the commonality in their structure. Although every story does not adhere to the monomyth stricly, all of them have elements of the monomyth embedded within them. All stories share in three main characteristics of the hero's journey: Departure, Initiation, and Return. All the steps of the hero's journey belong to one of these three categories. Although some stories do not have all of the steps, Campbell's breadth of coverage of the monomyth can be applied to all stories in either an extensive or minimal way. As a result, Campbell's book introduces a new critical lense to analyze stories and myths from past or modern cultures (Campbell).

Steps of the MonomythEdit


The Call to AdventureEdit

Call to adventure

"The Call to Adventure" in the book, The Hobbit.

"The first stage of the mythological journey - which we have designated the "call to adventure" signifies that destiny has summoned the hero and  transferred his spiritual center of gravity from within the pale of his society to a zone unknown"(Campbell). This is where the hero is thrust into a world that he does not understand. In mythology, this commonly occurs in a dark forest or a barren region. Often the hero encounters a herald, a person who challenges the hero and calls for "the awakening of the self". Often the call to adventure occurs by mere chance and forces the hero to choose whether or not to embark on his advenutre. The factors that lure the hero to go on an adventure may be "by his own volition", like Theseus going forth to kill the Minotaur. He may be carried forth by an unnatural force, like Odysseus driven away by Poseidon. It can also occur by a blunder, or some freak occurance cuaght by a wandering eye (Campbell). 

Refusal of the CallEdit


Simba, refusing the call to reclaim Pride Rock

Often the hero is not motivated to change himself. It is human nature to not like change. Adventure brings the hero out of his/her comfort zone and makes the hero reluctant to embark on a quest. The hero may have obligations, fear, insecurites, etc...Whatever the reason, it compels the hero to refuse the quest despite the fact that it can be beneficial to the hero."The myths and folktales of the who world make clear that the refusal is esentially a refusal to give up what it takes to be one's own interest"(Campbell)     

Supernatural AidEdit

Supernatural aid

Yoda, the old man who helped Luke realize his destiny

Often the hero will encounter a protective figure. This person is often an old man/wizard that guides the hero as he begins to embark on his/her quest. This protector often appears immediatly after the hero has accepted the call to adventure. They are benign beings that expedite the hero's journey. The hero may feel lost and reluctant while on the journey. The role of the old man/ wizard is to give him guidance and lead him/her in the right direction (Campbell).

The Crossing of the First ThreshholdEdit

First threshold

Dorothy beginning her journey to the unknown

This is where the hero will at last embark on their journey. The first threshold is often guarded by a custodian, and is accompanied by a void or darkness beyond the gate. The hero must draw enough courage to go forth on the journey. After they leave this threshold they can't go back, and the journey will begin (Campbell). 

The Belly of the WhaleEdit

Belly of the whale

Bilbo Baggins, immersed in the dark forest and surrounded by its evil.

This is where the hero is completly consumed by the quest. Darkness surrounds the hero and he is completly thrust into the unknown. At this time, Campbell describes the hero as self annihilating himself: " Instead of passing outward, beyond the confines of the visible world, the hero goes inward, to be born again." This is where the hero sheds his skin and allows himself to be molded by the experience he will encounter (Campbell).


The Road of Trials Edit

Road of trials

Luke having early victories beating the empire

This is the most enjoyable part of the myth for audiences. The hero will embark on a series of trials that he/she will usually succeed (Campbell). "The original departure into the land of trials represented only the beginning of the long and really perilous path of initiary conquests and moments of illumination. Dragons have now to be slain and suprising barriers passed - again, and again, and again. Meanwhile, there will be a multitude of preliminary victories, unretainable ecstacies, and momentary glimpses to a wonderful land."(Campbell)

The Meeting with the GoddessEdit


Galadriel, elf queen that protects Frodo after the ordeals of his travels

This is where the hero will meet a very warm person representing unconditional love - like a mother and her son. This figure is protective and nurturing. She usually give comfort when the hero is in his greatest state of confusion and despair (Campbell). "The meeting with the goddess( who is incarnate in every woman) is the final test of the talent of the hero to win the boon of love, which is life itself enjoyed as the encasement of eternity."(Campbell)


Woman as the TemptressEdit

Woman as temptress

Oedipus, realizing his wife was his mother.

This is where the hero is tempted to sucub to his temptations. He will want to leave the quest to enjoy these things, but must remember the intent of his quest. After self reflection, the hero will see his temptations as revulsions, and motivations to continue his quest. These things that seem pleasureable are actually disgusting and will add direction to the hero's quest (Campbell).

 Atonement with the FatherEdit


Mufasa, ultimate figure of authority for Simba. Simba must confront him to realize his destiny as king and challenge his uncle, Scar

This is where the hero is at his greatest point of character development. The hero has peeled the onion of his/her psyche to its core. It is the moment that the hero must call upon his/her courage to confront his/her issue and atone themself. This step is called "Atonement with the Father" because a father figure is one of complete authority. The hero must confront the supreme authoirty of his/her life in order to atone for his/her sins and move on (Campbell).




Frodo, at peace when he finally destroys the ring.

When the hero has finally achieved peace. The hero has conquered his foe and can now be the person he set out to become (Campbell). 


The Ultimate BoonEdit

Ultimate boon

Luke, after destroying the Death Star

This is the reward for the hero's travels. It is "the holy grail, the elixer of life". Campbell stated ," The ease with which the adventure is here accomplished signifies the hero is a superior man, a born king" (Campbell). the hero has earned his rite to the princess, kingdom, sword, etc... He has completed the journey and has accomplised his quest (Campbell).


 Refusal of the ReturnEdit


Buddha had issues returning after his enlightenment

The hero doesn't want to go back. He doesn't want to share his new illumination to his fellow man. The hero has found peace and doesn't want to fulfill any   of his obligations. Campbell stated, "Even the Buddha after his triumph, doubted whether the message of his realization could be communicated...Numerous indeed are the heroes fabled to have taken up residence forever in the blessed isle in the unaging goddess of the immortal being."(Campbell)


The Magic FlightEdit

Magic flight

Frodo being rescued and escorted home by a magic eagle and wizard Gandalf

This is the part where the hero physically returns to his former world. It may or may not be a perilous journey. However, the hero will encounter supernatural aid so that he can return home (Campbell). " the final stage of his adventure is supported by all the powers of his supernatural patron"(Campbell)

 Rescue from WithoutEdit

The hero is guided back and adjusts to his former world. Campbell stated" the hero may have to be brought back from his supernatural adventure by assistance from without. That is to say, the world may have to come and get him....Society is jeolous of those who remain away from it, and will come knocking on the door (Campbell).

Crossing of the Return Threshold The hero has some fear returning home. He/She doesn't know if it is possible to transmit their knowledge. In addition, the hero wants to keep his/her self identification they obtained through the quest. Hero's do not want to return to their former selves, they want to keep their new identities (Campbell).

Master of the Two Worlds The hero has finally adjusted to his/her position in society. The hero has preserved his/her new identity in their old world and is the master of two universes. He no longer sees his known world and new world as two different things (Campbell).

Freedom to LiveEdit

This is probably the greatest boon of the hero. The hero now can live his/her life with complete freedom from their fears. The hero has conquered his/her fears, and can live without the hindrances of their former world

Works Cited:

Campbell, Joseph. Hero with a Thousand Faces. Third ed. N.p.: New world Library, 2008. Print.

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