The Monomyth of Tron

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Joseph Campbell outlines three main themes regarding a hero’s path in his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces in which they are the departure, the initiation, and the return. All three of these themes form the Monomyth, which are the steps that heroes potentially take part in ancient texts. However, popular films such as Tron directed by Steven Lisberger also have modern day heroes such as Allan who follow the Monomyth too. Tron is a story about a hacker named Flynn who lost control of his company because of intellectual property theft by Ed Dillinger. Allan and Lora collaborate with Flynn to help him regain control of his company, ENCOM. Allan is a supporting character to Flynn, but it is remarkable that Allan/Tron is still considered a hero and follows a similar path that Flynn followed regarding the Monomyth.
The first part in A Hero with a Thousand Faces that Campbell discusses of the Monomyth is the departure. Even though this deals with ancient myth, Allan in Tron is called to adventure just as Campbell describes in his text. Allan receives word that everyone who had level seven access is essentially being laid off work leading him to talk to Flynn starting the call to adventure. Campbell defines the call to adventure as, “A Blunder-Apparently the merest chance-reveals an unsuspected world, and the individual is drawn into a relationship with forces that are not rightly understood.” Next, Allan crosses into the threshold when he first enters ENCOM with Flynn and Lora when they enter the monumental, metal door beginning their mission. Crossing the threshold in the book can be seen as exiting ordinary life and entering into a supernatural world. Finally, Allan enters the belly of the whale as his doppelgänger Tron during t...

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...ell. Campbell describes this as the freedom for the hero to pass between both worlds which Allan is able to do.
Tron could be viewed as a movie that has two heroes because Allan and Flynn both fulfill key elements of the Monomyth in A Hero with a Thousand Faces. However, Allan faces different challenges opposed to Flynn, but their heroic paths parallel each other with the trials that they face. Allan’s journey is overlooked because he is not considered a user, but rather a program. Allan’s program, Tron, could be considered a heroic being because as the movie states “Tron fights for the users.” Also, Tron follows the Monomyth very closely with his own elements of the departure, the initiation, and the return. Even though Flynn is considered a “God” within the system, Tron cannot be understated because he could be considered the brave knight that serves the users.

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