The Road of Trials in Literature Essay

The Road of Trials in Literature Essay

Length: 1775 words (5.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

In Joseph Campbell’s book, A Hero with a Thousand Faces, the author details a journey he claims that every human must travel.. There are numerous stages in the journey, but one of the biggest stages is the Road of Trials. When the hero reaches the Road, he or she must leave his or her home and complete a series of hurdles and adventures alone. During the journey the hero finds confidence and self assurance. The Road of Trials is essential for the hero’s growth as a person. There are many examples of the Road of Trials in literature, including the epic poem, Gilgamesh, and the alliterative poem, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Both characters in these stories leave their homeland and go on a journey to find themselves and understand where they stand in the world.
Before his journey, Gilgamesh, who is half god and half human, does whatever he wants. He sees himself as a god and he acts like one until he meets a man by the name of Enkidu. Enkidu is half man and half animal. As their friendship grows, the two become very close and Gilgamesh begins to act more in line with the human side of himself, as does Enkidu. Gilgamesh’s life comes to an abrupt halt when Enkidu dies. Gilgamesh, who has never felt a loss so dearly before, is determined to bring Enkidu back to life, so he leaves his hometown on a to journey to find the god Utnapishtim. This is where his Road of Trials begins. While wandering in the desert looking for Utnapishtim, Gilgamesh figures out that, “His life became a quest/To find the secret of eternal life/ Which he might carry back to give to his friend” (Mason, 55). For the first time in his life Gilgamesh thinks of someone else before himself. He had always been drawn to the side of himself that is half god but...


... middle of paper ...


...e back, so how do loved ones keep the deceased in their memory? It is natural to struggle, but with every struggle comes a reward, just as with death comes resurrection. If there were not struggles in life, no one would be resurrected and allowed to grow and to learn. The Road of Trials experiences teach valuable lessons. The Road is not easy, but rather a long and difficult fight. Eventually the hero will return victorious, just as with loss comes restoration. There is no easy formula, but the journey is necessary if humans are to truly live, grow, and change.



Works Cited

Borroff, Marie. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. A New Verse Translation. New York: Norton, 1967. Print.
Campbell, Joseph. The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1972. Print.
Mason, Herbert. Gilgamesh: a Verse Narrative. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1971. Print.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

The Road By Cormac Mccarthy Essay

- Cormac McCarthy manifests his novel, The Road, in a post-apocalyptic world on the east coast of the once famous America. The novel tells the simple tale of a man and a boy who must journey forward to find a way to survive in the wastelands. However, when analyzed with the techniques shown in Thomas Foster’s How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines, The Road’s complex structure in unveiled. The once simple journey transforms into a quest filled with exploitive vampires and meaningful conversations with food....   [tags: Cormac McCarthy, The Road, KILL, Quest]

Powerful Essays
1873 words (5.4 pages)

Archetypal Criticism in The Road by Cormac McCarthy Essay

- ... For example “ The Caregiver,” “The Innocent,” and “The Hero,” (Bavota Par. 1-3) are all types of character archetype. The Caregiver is encouraging and supportive and their character is fulfilled when they make a difference in the life of someone else. The Innocent’s greatest attribute is their eternal optimism and trust. Genuinely concerned with others’ well being, and endearing to others with their enthusiastic sense of wonder and positive energy. The Hero is a protagonist whose life is a series of well-marked adventures, characterized by courage, strength, and honor....   [tags: literary devices]

Powerful Essays
1646 words (4.7 pages)

Importance of African American Literature Addressing the Black Experience

- The role of African American literature in recent years has been to illuminate for the modern world the sophistication and beauty inherent in their culture as well as the constant struggle they experience in the oppressive American system. When writers such as Langston Hughes, W.E.B. DuBois and Alice Walker present their material, they manage to convey to a future world the great depth of feeling and meaning their particular culture retained as compared with the culture of their white counterparts....   [tags: race, racism]

Powerful Essays
3067 words (8.8 pages)

The Controversy Of The Salem Witch Trials Essay

- The citizens of Massachusetts Bay Colony were undoubtedly aware of the warnings of Scripture against witchcraft. For example, Leviticus 19:31 states, “Do not turn to mediums or necromancers; do not seek them out, and so make yourselves unclean by them: I am the Lord your God.” Other scriptures also warn against witchcraft. Yet, in the years 1692 to 1693, witchcraft was certainly on their minds. During that time, the mysterious circle of girls was a questionable day by day occurrence. The other girls in the community that were not accepted into the circle felt left out....   [tags: Salem witch trials, Witchcraft, Puritan]

Powerful Essays
1252 words (3.6 pages)

Essay about The Road Of Trials Of William Shakespeare 's Lord Of The Flies

- The next step in the departure is crossing the threshold. When Gawain left the castle, he crosses the first threshold into the unknown world. Crossing from Camelot to the realm of the unknown can be observed in this quote, "He had no friend but his horse in the forests and hills, no man on his march to commune with but God" (Tolkien 50). In addition, when Gawain entered the castle, a barrier was crossed from the trials of the outside journey to the trials faced in the castle. Furthermore, when he left the castle to go to the green chapel, a portal was transversed....   [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]

Powerful Essays
1392 words (4 pages)

Essay on The Trials Of Salem Witch Trials

- Salem witch trials The Salem Witch Trials were a series of harsh, unconstitutional, and even chaotic trials that killed several innocent people and harmed others. There were several reasons different sources have come up with that are said to have cause in the trials and the way they played out. Some of the reasons that cause the trials to go how they went is the weather, religion, and lust. Through out my research over the topic I learned that the judges in charge of the trials let fear and conspiracy control their judgment in the trials and caused several innocent people to die....   [tags: Salem witch trials, Witchcraft, The Crucible]

Powerful Essays
1140 words (3.3 pages)

Difference between Quests Doen by Female and Male Heroes Essay

- Heroic fantasies are most often structured around the hero's or heroine's quest. This frequently turns out to be a quest for identity, although the hero or heroine usually does not realize this at first. "The journey of the upper-class white male is identified as the generic type for the normal human condition; and other members of society - racial minorities, the poor and women - are seen as secondary characters (Pearson 4)." "In the traditional, the quest hero is assumed to be a male who is separated from his known world, is initiated into a new consciousness, and then returns to his community (Russell 197)." However, when the hero of a story is a woman, her quest is essentially different...   [tags: American Literature]

Powerful Essays
801 words (2.3 pages)

Along Came A Frontage Road Essay

- Along came a frontage road was a story that told different relationships between three different fathers and their sons. The first father that Michael Chabon introduced to the story was Nicky’s grandfather. The portrayal of his Nicky’s grandfather painted him as a lukewarm person who seemed to bond with his son only when they shopped for pumpkins. I came to this conclusion because it seems like Nicky’s father is following in his father’s footsteps by annually taking his son pumpkin hunting. Michael Chabon gave the description that Nicky’s grandfather wasn’t such a loving person....   [tags: Analysis Literature Frontage Road]

Free Essays
998 words (2.9 pages)

Salem Witch Trials Essay

- Some people say that the Salem Witch Trials were less a religious persecution than economic in purpose, using religion as a guise to gain property. I believe that the Salem witch trials were less a religious persecution than economical. I believe this for several reasons; one being that the accused witches were using their witchcraft on other people in the town and it was affecting them. Many people were accused of performing witchcraft and were persecuted for doing so. But I believe that people in towns accused others of "witchcraft" whenever something went wrong, because "witchcraft" was such a common thing back than....   [tags: Witch Trials]

Free Essays
1747 words (5 pages)

The Road Not Taken and the Journey of Life Essay

- The Road Not Taken and the Journey of Life This poem by Robert Frost was first read to me in the last year of my high school experience. Back then, not only did I have absolutely no interest in any literary work, but moreover, had no intension to lye there and analyze a poem into its symbolic definitions. Only now have I been taught the proper way to read a literary work as a formalistic critic might read. With this new approach to literature I can understand the underlying meaning to Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken"....   [tags: Road Not Taken essays]

Free Essays
773 words (2.2 pages)