The Hero's Journey in Modern Film Essay

The Hero's Journey in Modern Film Essay

Length: 1757 words (5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Countless quest narratives – ranging from modern texts all the way back to ancient texts – have all conformed to a certain archetypal structure. Christopher Vogler writes:
All stories consist of a few common structural elements found universally in myths, fairy tales, dreams, and movies. They are known collectively as The Hero’s Journey. Understanding these elements and their use in modern writing is the object of our quest. Used wisely, these ancient tools of the storytellers craft still have tremendous power to heal our people and make the world a better place (xxvii).
Being one of the world’s most popular art forms, it was inevitable that these archetypes would find their way into film as well. In this essay I will argue that the films Pulp Fiction, Taxi Driver, Watership Down, and Trainspotting are all versions of The Hero’s Journey, consequently demonstrating just how prevalent these archetypes have become in modern cinema. And that mythology and storytelling are important parts of each culture because they prevent the darkness in our hearts from spreading.
In The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell argues that most of the world’s mythologies and stories that feature a protagonist, or “hero,” going on a journey share an eerily similar structure. Campbell dubs this structure the “monomyth,” which he describes as follows: “A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man” (30). What is most important, however, is the purpose behind this journey. Campbell writes that the “modern hero-deed must be that of questing...

... middle of paper ...

...e thing. Mark Renton learns that the life he once thought of as boring is actually preferable to a life of addiction. From this one can learn not to, similar to the gangster world, romanticize drug culture and the drug world.
Each of these films, with release dates ranging from 1976 to 1996 (Taxi Driver and Trainspotting, respectively), have the same, eerily similar structure. This goes for more than just film. Any art form that contains narrative contains examples of this same monomyth structure, and film and literature alike will never cease in producing works that fit this structure. This is because, as previously stated, storytelling and mythology are integral parts of all human culture. They can show us the darkness that lies in wait for us, threatening to corrupt us, thus protecting us from it. Narrative, in this sense, acts as an instruction booklet for life.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Hero Journey in Star Wars Essay

- The Hero Journey in Star Wars      Star Wars was a low budget science-fiction film that became a blockbuster box office success. The movie has been extremely popular with all cultures and ages for several decades. As well as being popular Star Wars also conveys many important themes. I believe one of the more prominent themes throughout the movie is the classic hero journey. The hero journey is a major part of stories and myths throughout the world. Both primitive and modern cultures use hero journeys as the basis for stories....   [tags: Film Movies Star Wars Themes Essays]

Free Essays
390 words (1.1 pages)

The Archetypal Hero's Journey in The Da Vinci Code Essay

- ... Robert Langdon also faces the task of finding the elusive Holy Grail to protect it from harm. In the movie, the Holy Grail is actually Mary Magdalene’s tomb; the virgin Christians believe gave birth to Jesus. Locating this relic is so important because of the truth it reveals. The Priory of Sion is an ancient group of Pagans dedicated to revealing that Jesus was not divine and was really Mary Magdalene’s husband. They believe there is a bloodline tracing back to Mary, but they need her DNA to prove it....   [tags: monomyth, challenges, boon]

Powerful Essays
942 words (2.7 pages)

Journey of the Hero in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer´s Stone Essay

- ... He also provides Harry with information essential to overcome obstacles later on in his adventure. Another element of the hero’s journey is seen when Harry enters the wizarding world at Diagon’s Alley and King’s Cross Train Station, thus crossing the first threshold. Diagon’s alley is located behind a supernatural brick wall buried deep within the city of London. This street provides all the necessities witches and wizards need in their everyday life, including all of Harry’s school supplies....   [tags: savior, departs, magic, humility]

Powerful Essays
882 words (2.5 pages)

Truth Beneath a Hero Essay examples

- Truth beneath a Hero Aladdin, Hercules, Mr. Incredible and Tarzan are all famous Disney heroes who children adore. They share many common traits, like strength, and all embark on magnificent adventures. However, heroes emerge in a wide variety of stories, from modern Disney movies to classic literature. Ingmar Bergman’s character Antonius Block, from The Seventh Seal, and Ernest Hemingway’s Santiago, from The Old Man and the Sea, are typical romance heroes who have both similarities and differences, revealed through their goals, superiority, and assistance in their journeys....   [tags: Character Analysis]

Powerful Essays
1250 words (3.6 pages)

The Modern Epic of Batman Essay

- ... “In medias res” is typically how epics start, just like Batman and The Iliad start. The story of Batman starts with his parents being one of the wealthiest families in Gotham and the city being corrupt while ninth year of the Trojan War is when The Iliad begins. An epic hero is admired for great achievements and is the main character in an epic. Heroic traits are elevations of status, having flaws, determining the fate of a city, perform great deeds, possess a special weapon, and experience a traumatic event....   [tags: analogy with Gilgamesh]

Powerful Essays
728 words (2.1 pages)

Strong Chinese Women in Film Essay

- 1. Introduction In Confucian thought, women had their purpose beside their men or within their households as mothers. However, the legend of Hua Mulan precedes Confucius. Mulan’s story had inspired early Chinese Feminists such as Qiu Ji to go against the society built to keep her space as a woman separate from the rest of the world. In modern times, Fa Mulan (from Disney) added more diversity to the usual Disney Princesses and gave westerners an image of Chinese culture. The Disney film about Fa Mulan and the live action film about Hua Mulan by Jingle Ma ultimately chronicle the journey of Mulan and her service in the military but the films will have significant differences because of the di...   [tags: Character Analysis]

Powerful Essays
1841 words (5.3 pages)

Essay on The Moral Value of Fairy Tales

- Fairy Tales As a son to a mother who is in love with fairy tales, I know a little about them. Everyone has heard of the common stories such as Cinderella and Hansel & Gretel. But these are your common bedtime stories. There’s other versions of these stories known as, Grimm’s Fairy Tales. They’re far more interesting and less childish in my opinion. They also have a very interesting background and development story behind them. The reason why I’m writing this is because as humans we love to tell stories....   [tags: grimm, children, journey]

Powerful Essays
937 words (2.7 pages)

Legitimacy and Illegitimacy Essay

- Shakespeare utilizes a lot of family themes in most of his plays. Most of the family dilemmas he presents are directly correlated to disputes over power, whether it deals with sibling rivalry, parent rivalry, or some type of oedipal pairing. One of his compelling ideas surrounds the issue of legitimacy and illegitimacy when it comes to children and their parents. This dilemma continues to present itself in modern media, presenting a clear thematic imprint that describes a power dispute between the behaviors of legitimate and illegitimate sons, leading to the fate of the parent and the overall resolution of the work....   [tags: family, Shakespeare, modern film, Thor]

Powerful Essays
1482 words (4.2 pages)

George Lucas' film Star Wars Essay

- George Lucas' film Star Wars There are many different theories to Star Wars, which attracted millions of viewers. These theories made Star Wars what it was, and to some people still is. Made in1977, it was the first of it's kind by being new, using aliens and special effects, Star Wars created a large audience. Then it was re-released twenty years later, after improvement in special effects and another character was added. I will be considering that Star Wars appeals to many different people, proof of this is that it was released again in 1997 and still was groundbreaking to the millions of older viewers, also capturing the imagination of the younger generation....   [tags: Papers]

Powerful Essays
1113 words (3.2 pages)

Joseph Campbell Essay

- American writers tend to ply their trade in one of many genres; murder mystery, biography, and true crime are some of the most popular. Mythologists, on the other hand, are far rarer. Joseph Campbell represents one of the best examples of an American mythologist to ever have written. Particularly prominent among Campbell’s many works was the idea of the hero’s journey. Author Campbell believed that many hero’s go through similar stages before they reach their ultimate outcome. The most interesting part about Joseph Campbell’s journey of a hero is that it so accurately describes many of the journeys taken by mortal heroes whether fictional or true....   [tags: American Mythologist, Hero]

Powerful Essays
1784 words (5.1 pages)