The Alchemist Essay

1216 words - 5 pages

Plot

The Alchemist follows the journey of an Andalusian (southern Spanish) shepherd boy named Santiago. Believing a recurring dream to be prophetic, Santiago decides to travel to a Romani fortune-teller in a nearby town to discover its meaning. The gypsy woman interprets the dream as a prophecy telling the boy that there is a treasure in the pyramids in Egypt.
Early into his journey, he meets an old king, whose name was Melchizedek, who tells him to sell his sheep to travel to Egypt and introduces the idea of a Personal Legend (which is always capitalized in the book). Your Personal Legend "is what you have always wanted to accomplish. Everyone, when they are young, knows what their ...view middle of the document...

" It denotes the power of desires and passion and its ability to manifest it in real life.

Characters

Santiago
Santiago is the protagonist of The Alchemist. Born in a small town in Andalusia, he attends the seminary as a boy but longs to travel the world. He finally gets the courage to ask his father for permission to become a shepherd so that he can travel the fields of Andalusia. One night, in an abandoned church, he dreams of a child telling him that if he goes to the Egyptian Pyramids, he will find a treasure. Later, he meets a mysterious man in the town of Tarifa, who sends him on a journey to the other side of Africa.
Santiago is a curious boy whose open mind makes him particularly suited to finding his Personal Legend. He also values his freedom very highly, which is why he becomes a shepherd and why he resists involvement in things that threaten his freedom. In the end, he realizes that playing it safe is often more threatening to his freedom than taking a risk.
Melchizedek
Melchizedek is the king of Salem, a mysterious, far-off land. Melchizedek appears to Santiago in the town square of Tarifa, where he tells Santiago about the Soul of the World and his Personal Legend for the first time. Melchizedek always appears to people who are trying to live their Personal Legend, even if they don't know it. While he appears at first to be dressed in common Arab dress, at one point he pulls aside his cloak to reveal a gold breastplate encrusted with precious stones. He also gives Santiago the magical stonesUrim and Thummim.
The crystal merchant
Gives Santiago a job in Tangiers after he has been robbed. Santiago takes the job at the crystal shop and learns much about the shopkeeper's attitude toward life and the importance of dreaming. The shopkeeper, while generally afraid to take risks, is a very kind man and understands Santiago's quest — sometimes better than Santiago himself. This is the case when the shopkeeper tells Santiago that he will not return to Spain, since it is not his fate.
The Englishman
Santiago meets the Englishman on the caravan to al-Fayoum. The Englishman is trying to become a great alchemist and is traveling to al-Fayoum to study with a famous alchemist who is rumored to be over 200 years old and to have the ability to turn any metal into gold....

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