The Hero With a Thousand Faces Summary

1-Sentence-Summary: The Hero With a Thousand Faces analyzes humankind from a mythological and symbolistic point of view to prove that all humans have similar core concepts written in them, such as the monomyth, which is a way of narrating stories that people from all over the world use to connect with one another.

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The Hero With a Thousand Faces Summary

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Humans use mythology to make sense of life. Joseph Campbell was fascinated with mysticism and the human psyche. He spent his entire life studying the two. The Hero With a Thousand Faces is the culmination of his findings, presenting “The Hero’s Journey.” It’s a universal arc of character development we all go through — and that we use to share our experiences with one another.

This explains why we all tell stories in similar ways. The “Monomyth,” Campbell calls it. He suggests we all study it in order to discover our spiritual side and decide how exactly we want to live out our destiny. The book is packed with evergreen lessons and a great amount of wisdom, which is exactly what the hero of the story — us — can expect to find on their journey.

Here are 3 lessons to help you understand the monomyth and become the hero of your life:

  1. The hero’s journey consists of 3 essential steps.
  2. To start your journey, you must pass a threshold.
  3. Becoming a hero is not the result of talent but of hard work.

Now, let’s take each lesson and explore it in detail!

The Hero With a Thousand Faces Summary

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Lesson 1: To advance in life, the hero must go through 3 essential stages.

Similar to the course of a lifetime, the hero must fulfill a series of stages to complete his purpose and the cycle of his life. These are the call, the quest, and the return. Of course, he isn’t obliged to do so, but if he doesn’t, he will feel unhappiness and misery. If we were to compare ourselves with the hero, we could find many similarities.

Not answering your call and going to look for your purpose will definitely haunt your mind and make you feel unsettling. However, doing so will transform you and make you reach your potential. Once you hear it, there is no possibility of you going back to the state of mind you had before, as the call feels persistent and awakening.

Hearing it will make you want to follow your given purpose, although it feels difficult and challenging. The quest is what comes next. This stage is filled with hardship, but also with rewarding experiences. This part is decisive for the hero, as it makes him

Lastly, there’s the return. This stage marks the fulfillment of the hero’s purpose and its complete transformation. Coming back to the place of origin as a new person completes the cycle of upgrading, as the hero is now a new, improved version of himself, ready to inspire others to take his example and answer their callings.

Lesson 2: The hero must go beyond the veil of the known in her journey.

The hero faces a dilemma: to leave his comfort zone, the life as he knows it, and all those around his, just to answer his inner call. There is no guarantee that he’ll be back, nor that he will succeed in his quest. This controversy sparks an unsettling feeling within him, and so he must make a decision soon.

Naturally, the call feels stronger and stronger, so he decides to go for it. However, what awaits is far from familiar to him. Similar to our path in life, the hero must go through his quest feeling blind – there’s no clue about what’s coming next, and no map to guide him through his life. The only thing he can do is try his best and hope he’ll be rewarded for his hard work and bravery.

The threshold is difficult to overcome, but fortunately, it is worth it. The hero finds that everything he wants is outside his comfort zone and his familiar bubble. This story serves as a lesson for each and every one of us. The hero’s quest is our life journey, and the call represents the unsettling thoughts that run in the back of our mind, telling us that we can do better and to follow our dreams.

The heroic potential lies within you, but you have to open your mind and listen to your inner voice. Then, you’ll have to pass your own threshold. Although difficult, the hero within you must find a way to overcome it and fulfill the quest. The only way you’ll feel fulfilled and satisfied with your life is achieving your goals and your mission.

Lesson 3: No great hero has ever made it without putting in hard work.

The hero from the story had a long quest to fulfill, but he made it. What helped him fulfill his mission wasn’t an extraordinary talent, a super power, nor other outstanding circumstances. Instead, he had to go little by little and be very determined to achieve his purpose. 

Every day, he had to improve himself a bit more so advance in his quest.

Without consistency, he would not have been able to finish what he started, as there is no way to just skip to the last part of the quest and use all your strength to overcome it. Contrary to that, taking each challenge as it comes and facing it with upgraded tactics is what helped him. 

Take the hero as an example for your mission. We often think that only people with natural inclinations towards a field or those who were born in privileged environments make it. However, the world is full of failed geniuses and successful hard working people that pushed through against all odds. 

If you limit your beliefs, they’ll stay that way. Your mind believes everything you tell to yourself, so make sure to speak highly of your skills and talents and think of yourself as a superhero in the making. The modern hero of today might not have to deal with Gods, mythological creatures or supernatural quests, but they sure have challenging circumstances that must be tackled in new ways.

The Hero With a Thousand Faces Review

The Hero With a Thousand Faces is an extraordinary piece of writing that can inspire anyone to take charge of their life. Heroes may seem like supernatural creatures, but their stories are rarely too far from what we all go through in our everyday lives. If we take a page out of their and Campbell’s book, we too can find happiness and fulfillment.

Who would I recommend The Hero With a Thousand Faces summary to?

The 27-year-old entrepreneur who is looking for motivation and inspiration in other’s life stories, the 35-year-old English professor who is passionate about mythology and folk tales, and the Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, or Star Wars fan who loves magical stories.

Last Updated on June 18, 2023

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Maria Deac

While working with my friend Ovi's company SocialBee, I had the good fortune of Maria writing over 200 summaries for us over the course of 18 months. Maria is a professional SEO copywriter, content writer, and social media marketing specialist. When she's not writing or learning more about marketing, she loves to dance and travel all over the world.