Archetypes of a Hero in Star Wars by George Lucas and Siddhartha by Herman Hesse

In The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell explores the underlying similarities between heroes of a wide range of literary works. He explains the fundamental characteristics of a hero, which remain in play across mythology and literature. As the title suggests, the face of an archetypal hero may vary the presence of a protagonist is central to the plots of most movies and books, but all heroes, are united by certain criteria that make them heroes. Like the four common chords on which many popular songs are built, heroic tales appeal to us on a subconscious level because of their effective, recycled elements, which are intrinsic to the human condition George Lucas’s lucrative brainchild, Star Wars, espouses many of the archetypes revealed by Joseph Campbell.

Specifically, Star Wars IV: A New Hope follows the emergence of Luke Skywalker as a budding hero and a person who embodies many traditional archetypes. In more specific terms, the representation of the “call to adventure” in this movie is particularly salient.

According to Campbell, the “call to adventure,” as he puts it, marks the beginning of the escapade. Often he claims, the adventure starts with a fortuitous blunder: “A blunder—apparently the merest chance—reveals an unsuspected world, and the individual is drawn into a relationship with forces that are not rightly understood. The blunder may amount to the opening of a destiny”.

Luke Skywalker’s actions are less “blunders” than they are chance encounters. When R2D2 and C3P0 are jettisoned from Princess Leia’s ship with the Death Star plans, they cross paths with Luke.

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Very promptly, the young boy is pulled into a world that he does not fully comprehend. Seeing the transmission and discovering Ben Kenobi’s past involvement as a Jedi Knight starts Luke down a path that he cannot rightly avoid Leia’s plea for help, although not directed at him, beckons to Luke. A combination of the distress transmission and acquaintance with Kenobi comprises the “call to adventure” that so urgently summons him. In addition, this series of seemingly uncontrollable events, engendered by no identifiable single occurrence, take on a fateful quality. Hence Luke experiences “an opening of a destiny.” In Siddhartha, by Herman Hesse, Siddhartha, the main character, experiences a different kind of call to adventure.

One day, when the shamans, a group of transient, ascetic people, pass through his city, Siddhartha decides he wants to join their cause. To this, his friend, Govinda, reacts, startled: “Hearing these words, Govinda paled; he read in his friend’s face a resolve as impossible to divert as a bow-shot arrow. At once, in this first glimpse, Govinda saw it is starting now Siddhartha is embarking on his path, now his destiny is taking shape—and with his, mine too!” Seeing the passing shramanas triggers Siddhartha’s desire to abandon his decadent life behind and appeals to his aspirations for self-discovery. However, there is a palpable difference between this story and others: whereas many heroes initially reject the call to adventure, Siddhartha embraces the prospect of it. Unfortunately, he is met by his father’s intractable will, which temporarily challenges his wish to leave Gladly, most heroes end up succeeding in their pursuits Siddhartha is no exception; his immutable destiny “takes shape” and nothing stops him.

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Archetypes of a Hero in Star Wars by George Lucas and Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. (2023, Jan 12). Retrieved from

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