The Hero with a Thousand Faces – Myth & Dream

I finally started re-reading The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell, and I thought I’d share some of the more noteworthy quotes. The last time I read it, which was a few years ago, I remembered how densely packed the book was and that it contained much that was inspiring and thought-provoking.

These quotes are from the Prologue, Part One – Myth and Dream. In that chapter, Campbell talks about the similarities between myths and dreams, and that the archetypes that inhabit both are universal across time and space.

“The latest incarnation of Oedipus, the continued romance of Beauty and the Beast, stand this afternoon on the corner of Forty-Second Street and Fifth Avenue, waiting for the traffic light to change.” (p. 2)

“Dream is the personalized myth, myth the depersonalized dream; both myth and dream are symbolic in the same dream, sleep, Diana Castlegeneral way of the dynamics of the psyche. But in the dream the forms are quirked by the peculiar troubles of the dreamer, whereas in myth the problems and solutions shown are directly valid for all mankind.” – (p. 14)

“The hero, therefore, is the man or woman who has been able to battle past the personal and local historical limitations to the generally valid, normally human forms” – (p. 14)

And my favorite.

“Furthermore, we have not even to risk the adventure alone; for the heroes of all time have gone before us; the labyrinth is thoroughly known; we have only to follow the thread of the hero-path. And where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god; where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves; where we had thought to travel outward, we shall come to the center of our own existence; where we had thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world.” (p.18)

from Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, (3rd edition)

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