The World Myth

The Hero

What is the hero’s “call”?

Once an adult, the hero receives an internal or external call to action. In some cases he refuses the call at first. Moses, for instance, expresses his reluctance to lead his people out of Egypt as instructed by the voice in the Burning Bush. Odysseus is reluctant to leave his wife and child to fight in the Trojan War. Tolkien’s Bilbo and Frodo in The Hobbit and in The Lord of the Rings, respectively, would have preferred to remain in the comforts of their homes rather than to follow the adventurous paths outlined by Gandalf. But the point is that the hero must leave home precisely because he must be a groundbreaker; so the world hero finally accepts the call and begins the necessary quest.

In other words, as does the Buddha or Sophocles’s Antigone the hero accepts the call of a “higher law.”


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