Joseph Campbell (1904-1987)
Is there an underlying story that connects all myths, across all cultures? Do we respond to this "monomyth" in modern stories and films? Do we follow "the hero's journey?"
Campbell interviewed by Bill Moyers, "The Power of Myth, Part 1"
Joseph Campbell was a writer and lecturer on comparative religion and mythology. Campbell studied myths and origin stories, and noticed certain characteristics and archetypes that repeated across all cultures. In "The Hero with a Thousand Faces" (1947), Campbell presented an underlying "monomyth" that contained intriguing familiar characters, places and situations. There was the reluctant hero, the call to action, the guardians at the gate, and so on, repeating again and again.
-from the documentary"The Hero's Journey: The World of Joseph Campbell."
Campbell's work has inspired legions of "mythologists" tackling the wide range of stories, and one of my favorites is Christopher Vogler. Vogler wrote "The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Storytellers and Screenwriters" based on the principals of Campbell's work. Here he discusses the elements of the monomyth as shown in the film, "The Matrix."