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  • Titill er á ensku The Hero's Journey in Shakespeare's tragedies
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    The purpose of this essay is to examine the Shakespeare tragic heroes’ paths according to Joseph Campbell’s theory of monomyth.
    Joseph Campbell has examined plenty of myths and stories in his famous book, a Hero with a Thousand Faces. His monomyth theory implies that almost all the myths and stories being narrated in different cultures and languages follow a regular cycle of adventure that the protagonist or hero goes through. Campbell believes this cycle has been the base of our stories since it is deep-rooted in the human psyche. Consciously or unconsciously, most of the writers and narrators bring this cycle into their stories. Campbell has considered three stages for the hero in this cycle: departure, initiation, and return.
    Shakespeare has created his style in writing tragedy with its specific characteristics. He has given the spotlight to the tragic hero instead of the plot, which is the main difference between his style and classic tragedies’. Shakespeare’s tragic heroes go through the same phases of adventure which Campbell has established. Nevertheless, since tragedy is about a tragic hero’s downfall, the hero fails to fulfill Campbell’s monomyth cycle. In this essay, three of Shakespeare’s tragedies have been analyzed, and it is demonstrated that the tragic hero’s downfall occurs in the initiation stage, in the “atonement with the father” phase. This phase is where the hero encounters his biggest fear, and for a tragic hero, the biggest fear is the cause of his downfall.
    Macbeth is a tragic hero known for his ambition which brings his destruction. In the “atonement with the father” stage, he faces the consequences of his crimes. Hamlet encounters Claudius and takes his father’s revenge in the “atonement with the father” stage. Othello realizes his mistake in trusting Iago and murdering Desdemona in the same phase as well.

  • 11.5.2021

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