Elements of the EPIC HERO CYCLE
THE CALL TO ADVENTURE The cycle begins with a conflict or adventure the hero is compelled to pursue or resolve This is where the hero is enticed to leave the ordinary world. Example: In The Matrix, Trinity tells Neo he is really searching for the Matrix
Wise and often strange beings who help/teach/guide the hero
HELPERS Wise and often strange beings who help/teach/guide the hero Example: In the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy’s helpers are Toto, Tin Man, Scarecrow, and Cowardly Lion
Often provided by the Helper
Supernatural Aid Helps the hero resolve conflict (special weapons, skills, magic, information) Often provided by the Helper Example: In The Empire Strikes Back, Yoda teaches Luke the ways of the Force
Crossing the Threshold Departure
The threshold is a gateway to a new world the hero must enter to change and grow Example: In Gladiator, Maximus is bought as a slave and enters the world of gladiators
Descent and Challenges
Challenges the hero will face when trying to conquer the adventure/conflict Example: In Finding Nemo, Nemo and Dory encounter Bruce, the shark.
Underworld & Final Battle
Climax of journey, all will be won or lost and the hero will encounter fear or death Example: In 300, The Battle of Thermopylae
Meeting with Goddess Hero will often meet a woman after the final battle, may be a mother figure Example: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Arwen and Aragorn have an encounter
Atonement and Recognition by Father
Hero reconciles with father figure Not always a literal father, may be represented by a spiritual figure Example: In Star Wars, Luke confronts Darth Vader and then finds that Vader is his father.
Something a hero must bring back to society to restore peace
The Ultimate Boon Something a hero must bring back to society to restore peace Example: In Indiana Jones, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones gains the Ark of the Covenant
Return The way the hero is received upon his return
The hero returns to home turf, where he is safe from further pursuit Example: The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy clicks her heels and returns home
Example: Lance Armstrong as an inspiration to those battling cancer
Master of Two Worlds Once the hero returns from the journey, he/she is a better person and affects their world in a positive way Example: Lance Armstrong as an inspiration to those battling cancer
Which step of the epic hero cycle would Napoleon Dynamite’s dance fall under?
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