A Hero’s Journey: Part V

Warrior's helmet

Return with the Elixir

The final stage of the Hero’s Journey, according to Vogler, is the returned of the hero to the Ordinary World. The hero returns bringing an Elixir or a lesson they have learned throughout their adventure. Dorothy wakes in her bed, back in Kansas, and feels as if she has become a different girl then who she was when she had left. She returns from her journey with the self-confidence in who she is. She also brings home the lesson of “there is no place like home”, for she has learned that however far over the rainbow she goes, she will always wish for the comfort and love she receives from her family. “no place like home — there’s no place like home — no place — … Dorothy.  Dorothy, dear. It’s Aunt Em, darling. … Oh, Auntie Em — it’s you! … Yes, darling. … She got quite a bump on the head — we kinda thought there for a minute she was going to leave us. … But I did leave you, Uncle Henry — that’s just the trouble.  And I tried to get back for days and days. … There, there, lie quiet now.  You just had a bad dream. … No, Aunt Em — this was a real, truly live place.  And I remember that some of it wasn’t very nice…. but most of it was beautiful.  But just the same, all I kept saying to everybody was, I want to go home. And they sent me home. Oh, but anyway, Toto, we’re home! Home!  And this is my room — and you’re all here!  And I’m not going to leave here ever, ever again, because I love you all! And — Oh, Auntie Em — there’s no place like home! (2:15:26-2:16:06, Wizard of Oz).”

Compared to the story of Beowulf, the hero returns to Geatland, the Ordinary World to the hero, with the Elixir, or rewards. “Then the earls’ defender furnished the hero with twelve treasures and told him to set out, sail with those gifts safely home to the people he loved, but to return promptly.  And so the good and grey-haired Dane, that high-born king, kissed Beowulf and embraced his neck, then broke down in sudden tears. Two forebodings disturbed him in his wisdom, but one was stronger:  nevermore would they meet each other face to face. And such was his affection that he could not help being overcome: his fondness for the man was so deep founded, it warmed his heart and wound the heartstrings tight in his breast. The embrace ended and Beowulf, glorious in his gold regalia, stepped the green earth. Straining at anchor and ready for boarding, his boat awaited him.  So they went on their journey, and Hrothgar’s generosity was praised repeatedly, (Heaney 1876- 1886).” The scene above not only supports Vogler’s idea of Returning with the Elixir, but also Meeting with the Mentor. The emotion between Hrothgar and Beowulf represent the bond represented between a parent in a child, as Vogler had stated previously.

According to Christopher Vogler, the hero of a story, takes twelve different steps to set the story forward, The twelve steps written out by Vogler are The Ordinary World, the Call to the Adventure the Refusal of the Call, Meeting with the Mentor, Crossing the Threshold, Tests, Allies, Enemies, Approach to the Inmost Cave, the Ordeal, the Reward, The Road Back, Resurrection, and the Return with the Elixir. The twelve steps of the “Hero’s Journey” are taken in the film The Wizard of Oz, and in the story Beowulf. As the different hero’s make their way through their “Special World”, they encounter people and challenges that cause the story to drive itself. For example, the Ordeal leaves the audience thinking and in suspense. The phases of the Hero’s Journey push the story in the direction the author wishes for it to move.

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