Study Guide

The Birth of Perseus The Hero's Journey

The Hero's Journey

The Hero' s Journey is a framework that scholar Joseph Campbell came up with that many myths and stories follow. Many storytellers and story-readers find it a useful way to look at tale. (That' s actually putting it lightly. Some people are straight-up obsessed.) Chris Vogler adapted Campbell's 17 stages of a hero's journey, which many screenwriters use while making movies. Vogler condensed Campbell's 17 stages down to 12, which is what we're using. Check out a general explanation of the 12 stages.

The story of "The Birth of Perseus" doesn't fit perfectly into the Hero's Journey structure, but we're giving it a shot. As the gross old saying goes, there's more than one way to skin a cat. The way we figure it, Danae is the main character of this story, since she's the one doing all the birthing, so we'll look at from her perspective.

Ordinary World

For Danae, everyday life is pretty sweet. She's the beautiful princess of a powerful city-state, and everything is awesome.

Call To Adventure

Danae's world gets thrown for a loop when her dad, King Acrisius, locks her in a chamber, because the Oracle of Delphi tells him that she'll bear a son who'll kill him.

Refusal Of The Call

Danae doesn't really have a chance to refuse the call. Her dad just chunks her into solitary without asking her opinion on the matter.

Meeting The Mentor

You could see Zeus as a bit of a mentor figure hereā€” albeit a creepy one. When he enters her chamber as a shower of gold, he shows her the ways of love.

Crossing The Threshold

By conceiving Perseus with Zeus, Danae has thoroughly crossed the threshold into a new life.

Tests, Allies, Enemies

Turns out Danae has a lot of enemies with tests and allies nowhere to be seen. Zeus impregnates her and takes off, and her dad totally flips when he finds little baby Perseus in her arms.

Approach To The Inmost Cave

As Acrisius is marching Danae and her child down to the sea, the princess fears the worst.

Ordeal

Being locked in a floating chest that's aimlessly drifting in the ocean is a pretty awful ordeal if you ask us.

Reward

Danae survives and is rewarded with sanctuary on the island of Serifos with Dictys the friendly neighborhood fisherman.

The Road Back

There's no road back here. Why in Zeus's name would Danae ever want to go back home?

Resurrection

Danae has already kind of had her resurrection by surviving her ordeal at sea.

Return With The Elixir

No longer the sheltered princess, Danae is ready to face the trials ahead. (And her life definitely has a few more in store.)

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