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Orpheus as a True Hero

            In Joseph Campbell's "The Hero and the God" he explains what a hero is defined as and the journey to becoming a hero. Campbell believes a hero must go through a departure or the "separation." Then the hero goes through a series of severe challenges or "initiation." Finally after the hero has sacrificed his or her life for something bigger than oneself, comes the "return." And with the return comes the gift of the goddess as a reward or the "boon." Many of Campbell's characterizations of a hero are represented in Edith Hamilton's "The Myth of Orpheus and Eurydice." Orpheus does not succeed in one of Campbell's details in becoming a hero because he does not end up being victorious in achieving his goal in bringing Eurydice back from the Underworld. Even though it is not the complete definition of Campbell's notion of the heroic, I believe that what Orpheus did and went through to try and save Eurydice was very heroic and would call him a hero. Risking his safety to travel through the underworld alone is a tremendous heroic action for the one he loves.
             Joseph Campbell is very descriptive and specific when describing the journey of becoming a hero. One of the first things in the journey is that the hero is in our ordinary world but must have some sort of special power that he or she possesses. The first step in the hero's journey is when the hero is going about himself in the ordinary world and "The Call to Adventure" (Campbell 28) is commenced. The call to adventure in "The Myth of Orpheus and Eurydice," is brought upon when in the story Orpheus marries Eurydice, and just moments after, Eurydice is slain by a viper that strikes her. And just like that, Orpheus is left a widower. After the call to adventure is established, the hero can either walk away but generally the hero accepts the call enter the strange world.

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