PhD Candidate in Japan, researching Narrative in Games. Responds favorably to Thrash Metal, Karaoke, and Dungeons & Dragons.
The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Literally
August 5, 2013
This is literally the Hero with a Thousand Faces. As a term and concept, Campbell's Monomyth tends to be sort of touted about by generalists at large as some sort of exclusive, secret club term, or at least it feels that way. In peripheral discussions about the Monomyth I often feel that it is often forgotten (perhaps just casually overlooked) as to why the Monomyth is important to humanity (as opposed to merely being a functional observation that boils down to "ain't it cool?"). Granted, there is no definitive, decided answer to the question of "How is the Monomyth important to humanity?" But if I were to attempt at fumbling for an answer (the manner in which I have grown accustomed to in my research, that taunting bitch who answers every hard-wrought question with a multitude of other non-trivial questions), I would proclaim that the Monomyth is not merely a cool observation on how every story follows a traceable pattern, but that it is concurrently (and much more importantly) the unified and evident collective yearnings of the human race to recognize both adversity and one's own fears, shortcomings and strengths, and to use that gift of knowledge to overcome. The fact that the Monomyth is in many considerable ways evident (and arguably overt), regardless of particular trappings of a given story, seems to suggest that in all the ways humans attempt to surprise and innovate in story, there is always a thread inherent in all narratives that echoes the ancient waltz of Hero, Villain, and Conflict.