Sheep play an important role in part 1 of The Alchemist—the novel opens with the shepherd Santiago thinking about his sheep. What does Santiago observe about their existence, and how might the sheep symbolize the way some people live their lives?

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In classic literature, sheep often are a symbol for loyalty, devotion, and humility. Sheep are innocent, plain creatures. Sheep are followers. In historical and Biblical stories, sheep are often representative of the nomad's life.

Coelho uses sheep as a catalyst for change in the character of Santiago. Santiago's time as a shepherd is important because it is during this phase of his journey that he ponders what it means to seek his own personal legend. He becomes quite bothered after watching the sheep day after day. He laments that the sheep "never make...

(The entire section contains 294 words.)

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