Study Guide

The Hero with a Thousand Faces Allusions

By Joseph Campbell

Advertisement - Guide continues below


Literary and Philosophical References

Hoo boy. Campbell gives us a lot of them, so don't hold it against us if a few slip through the cracks.

Campbell loves specific examples, and any chance he gets to include one will be doubled down upon as fast as possible.

We've got a list of the big ones below, presented alphabetically for your edification and amusement. Shmoop's got a pretty big list of myths and legends just a couple of clicks away, so we'll provide some shortcuts for you, too.

Big breath. Here we go….

  • Abraham, one of the mythic founders of Judaism.
  • Acteon, a Greek hunter who spotted the goddess Artemis nude and got turned into a stag.
  • Aeneas, who fled from Troy and founded Rome.
  • Amaterasu, Japanese Goddess of the Sun.
  • Attis, a figure from the land of Phrygia, in what is now Turkey.
  • Bodhisattva, mythic figure of Asia.
  • Buddha, founder of Buddhism.
  • Cuchulainn, Irish hero.
  • Cupid and Psyche, the god of love and his lover.
  • Daphne, the nymph who fled Apollo and was turned into a laurel bush.
  • Dionysos, Greek god of partying down. (Yes, really.)
  • The Divine Comedy, Dante's epic poem of Heaven and Hell.
  • The Dragon of the Kast, a Chinese deity who brings the sun into the world every day.
  • Edshu, an ancient African deity
  • Exodus, the story of Moses leading the Hebrews out of Egypt.
  • Faust, the original story of the man who sells his soul to the devil.
  • Finn MacCool, a mythological Irish hero.
  • Fu Hsi, legendary Chinese Emperor.
  • Gaia, the Greek version of Mother Nature.
  • Genesis, the story of Adam and Eve and their expulsion from Paradise.
  • Gilgamesh, the Sumerian king.
  • The Golden Bough, a work along similar lines to this one, by James Frazier.
  • Gwion Bach, a Welsh hero.
  • Hamlet, Shakespeare's hero who just couldn't bring himself to act.
  • Heracles, lunkhead hero of Greek mythology.
  • Huang Ti, legendary Chinese Emperor.
  • Inanna, a goddess from Sumerian mythology.
  • Izanagi, a figure from Japanese mythology.
  • Jason and his quest for the Golden Fleece
  • Jemshid, Persian mythic figure.
  • Jesus Christ
  • Job, the Biblical figure tested by God.
  • Kashyapa, a prominent figure from Hindu mythology.
  • King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table.
  • King Ghazar, a figure from Chinese legend.
  • Krishna, Hindu god.
  • Kyazimba, a poor man on a journey thanks to the Wachaga people of East Africa.
  • Marduk, the Babylonian sun god.
  • "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell," a poem by William Blake
  • Maui, the Polynesian god.
  • The Metamorphosis, a famous collection of Greek myths.
  • Minos, another Greek king, whose wife gave birth to the Minotaur
  • Morgon-Kara, mythic Siberian shaman.
  • Muchukunda, a Hindu king.
  • Odin, the Norse king of the gods (and prominent paycheck for Anthony Hopkins).
  • Oedipus, the Greek king who killed his father and married his mother.
  • Old Man, a figure from the Blackfoot Indians of Montana.
  • Orpheus, the Greek hero who ventured into the underworld to save his lover.
  • Osiris, the Egyptian God of the Dead.
  • Pajana, a mythic figure from ancient Siberia.
  • Pan, the Greek god of chasing nymphs around fountains.
  • Perseus, Greek hero and one-time Harry Hamlin paycheck.
  • Phaethon, the Greek hero.
  • Prince Five-Weapons, a figure from Asian mythology.
  • The Prince of the Lonesome Isle, another Irish hero.
  • The Princess and the Frog, a famous fairy tale.
  • Prince Kamar, a tale from the Arabian Nights.
  • Prometheus, who stole fire from the gods and gave it to man.
  • Quetzalcoatl, Aztec god.
  • Raven, a figure in Native American mythology.
  • Rip Van Winkle, the famous hero from Washington Irving.
  • Sargon, mythic Sumerian hero.
  • Shen Nung, legendary Chinese Emperor.
  • Shiva, the figure of Hindu mythology.
  • Siegfried, the epic Nordic hero.
  • Sirens, seductive figures who tried to lure the Greek hero Odysseus to his death.
  • Sleeping Beauty, who we suspect you're familiar with.
  • The Song of Hiawatha, an epic poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
  • The Sons of Eochaid, another Irish myth.
  • Spider Woman myths of the Native Americans.
  • St. Augustine, the notable, um, saint.
  • St. Bernard, the saint, not the dog.
  • St. Peter, of Christian theology fame.
  • Ta'aroa, a god from Tahiti.
  • Tiamat, Babylonian dragon goddess.
  • The Twin Heroes, notable figure from Navajo legends.
  • Va'inamoinen, a hero of Finnish mythology.
  • Viracocha, ancient god of Peruvian mythology.
  • Vishnu, the Hindu god.
  • Water Grandfather, a figure from Russian mythology.
  • Water Jar Boy, a Pueblo Indian hero.
  • The White Youth, Siberian mythic hero.

Historical References

Historical references aren't nearly as common as mythic figures, but the same deal applies. These are figures as legends, rather than historical folks.

  • Chandragupa, founder of the Hindi Maurya dynasty.
  • Charlemagne, the European king
  • Columbus, who sailed the ocean blue in 1492.
  • Cotton Mather, Puritanical writer who scared the bejesus out of, well, everyone.
  • Ramakrishna, Indian mystic and yogi.
  • Jonathon Edwards, another Puritanical writer who published Wonders of the Invisible World
  • Thomas Aquinas, the Catholic saint.
  • Pope Gregory the Great, noted pope.

Pop Culture References

Campbell is concerned with timelessness, not timeliness, so he doesn't make any noticeable pop culture references. Pop culture, of course, has gone ahead and showered him with love anyway. Good job, pop culture.

The Hero with a Thousand Faces Allusions Study Group

Ask questions, get answers, and discuss with others.

Tired of ads?

Join today and never see them again.

This is a premium product

Please Wait...