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Apotheosis

 

Disciplines > Storytelling > Campbell's 'Hero's Journey' > Apotheosis

Description | Discussion | See also

 

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Description

After trials such as resisting Woman as Temptress and the reconciliation of Atonement with the Father, the hero transcends, achieving a higher place.

This is a point of realization in which a greater understanding is achieved. Armed with this new knowledge and perception, the hero is resolved and ready for the more difficult part of the adventure.

This transition may be symbolized with the change in appearance of the hero.

Example

In Star Wars, Luke is prepared to sacrifice himself rather than be taken by the Dark Side. Obi-Wan also transforms, disappearing just as he is about to be killed by Darth Vader in battle.

Sherlock Holmes has an 'aha' moment in which he realizes how the crime has been committed and who the criminal really is.

In Lord of the Rings, after battling the Balrog and Saruman, Gandalf changes from Gandalf the Grey to Gandalf the White.

Discussion

The dictionary describes 'apotheosis' as 'The elevation of a person to the status of a god'. The notion is thus one of achieving perfection, reaching enlightenment and nirvana, transcending to another level.

In transcending, the cycle of death and rebirth is repeated as the hero dies as their former self and is reborn into new self, perhaps that of the true hero.

This birth also signals another death as the hero is now truly ready for the self-sacrifice of the final act. The final battle is thus entered into with glory and joy.

See also

Campbell, J. (1949). The Hero With a Thousand Faces, New York: Bollingen

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