The Alchemist Questions and Answers

The Alchemist

Melchizedeck is the first priest ("the priest of the most high God") mentioned in the Old Testament. The story of the encounter between Melchizedeck and Abraham (then called Abram) is in chapter 14...

Latest answer posted September 7, 2019, 4:44 pm (UTC)

3 educator answers

The Alchemist

In Paulo's Coelho's The Alchemist, the King of Salem (Melchizedek) tells Santiago the story of a boy who is told by the "wisest of wisemen" that he must carry oil on a spoon while he sees the...

Latest answer posted August 18, 2011, 4:21 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

The overriding philosophy of The Alchemist could be described as a kind of pantheism, the belief that everything in the universe is God. Coelho introduces us to the notion that we are all part of...

Latest answer posted January 31, 2021, 11:19 am (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Alchemist

In The Alchemist, a Personal Legend can be defined as one's ultimate spiritual purpose in life. Everyone has a Personal Legend, but for a variety of reasons, not everyone is willing or able to...

Latest answer posted January 26, 2021, 10:35 am (UTC)

3 educator answers

The Alchemist

In Coelho's The Alchemist, the author's message regarding love is two-fold. About love in general, the reader learns that it is the one constant in the world. When the desert asks Santiago to...

Latest answer posted June 15, 2013, 5:51 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

In The Alchemist the overriding trope of the universality of man's desire--"the soul of the universe"--is the universal language. "And when you want something," [the wise King of Salem]...

Latest answer posted December 19, 2016, 6:04 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Alchemist

Early in the novel The Alchemist, the titular character tells Santiago that "When you possess great treasures within you, and try to tell others of them, seldom are you believed." This simple...

Latest answer posted September 29, 2018, 4:28 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

The Alchemist is a wise teacher who imparts important wisdom to Santiago. This man, who the Englishman tells Santiago is 200 years old, pushes Santiago to fulfill his Personal Destiny. For example,...

Latest answer posted January 19, 2021, 3:00 pm (UTC)

5 educator answers

The Alchemist

Santiago learns a bit about Personal Legends and omens from the crystal merchant; however, I do not think that is the most valuable thing that Santiago learns from the crystal merchant. I think the...

Latest answer posted September 14, 2018, 3:40 pm (UTC)

3 educator answers

The Alchemist

Melchizedek speaks to Santiago and tells him a wise parable about a boy wishing to gain wisdom, so he goes to speak with a wise man. The man has the young boy carry a spoonful of two drops of oil...

Latest answer posted August 19, 2019, 11:55 am (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Alchemist

One of the most valuable lessons Santiago learns in The Alchemist is the notion that fear is part of living a meaningful life. It is worse to not achieve his goals out of fear than to face fear,...

Latest answer posted October 2, 2018, 8:24 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Alchemist

"Maktub" loosely translates to "it is written" in English. It doesn't necessarily mean something has actually been written down on a piece of paper or stone tablet. It's more of a destiny thing....

Latest answer posted December 23, 2015, 2:52 pm (UTC)

3 educator answers

The Alchemist

I think The Alchemist is for people who want to examine the meaning of life. I guess you could argue that a person whose philosophy is that ignorance is bliss would not appreciate it. The person...

Latest answer posted January 9, 2013, 9:10 pm (UTC)

4 educator answers

The Alchemist

The primary way that the Alchemist helps Santiago is that he teaches the boy the importance of believing in himself. On their numerous excursions into the desert, the Alchemist shows Santiago that...

Latest answer posted March 6, 2020, 5:46 pm (UTC)

4 educator answers

The Alchemist

As Santiago and the alchemist are traveling through the desert towards the pyramids, they have a discussion about listening to one's heart. The boy is closer than ever to finding his treasure and...

Latest answer posted April 26, 2016, 2:38 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

How do you explain how a book can be viewed? First, look for central themes or repeated motifs (that is, ideas that the writer thoroughly investigates). Second, support your explanation using...

Latest answer posted October 12, 2018, 6:25 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Alchemist

The power of action. It's not enough to have dreams; you have to be prepared to take action to make those dreams come true. The Crystal Merchant is a Muslim and yet has never been on the Haj to...

Latest answer posted October 9, 2017, 1:00 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

Other than the fact that Santiago's dream involves the simple things in life, the gypsy woman also realizes that his dream is "in the language of the world." She goes on to say that she "can...

Latest answer posted November 30, 2017, 4:27 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Alchemist

In some ways, Santiago does not change. But ever since he had been a child, he had wanted to know the world, and this was much more important to him than knowing God and learning about man's...

Latest answer posted December 21, 2015, 6:09 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

Santiago's parents want him to become a priest, so he attends the seminary until he is sixteen years old. While in the seminary, Santiago learns to read. While it is a great honor and...

Latest answer posted November 24, 2018, 11:33 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Alchemist

I believe that the main conflict in Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist is Santiago's personal, inner struggle with completing his Personal Legend. That internal man vs. self conflict is constantly...

Latest answer posted August 21, 2016, 7:22 pm (UTC)

3 educator answers

The Alchemist

In Paoulo Coelho's The Alchemist, the word "maktub" is first introduced to Santiago (the boy) by the crystal merchant. The boy hears it later spoken around the campfire as he (and the Englishman)...

Latest answer posted August 17, 2011, 2:03 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

I would say that Santiago's first test is getting up the courage to tell his father that he wants to leave and travel the world. He knows that it will disappoint and perhaps even anger his father,...

Latest answer posted April 26, 2016, 2:37 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

The story makes it clear that one cannot attain complete fulfillment without pursuing one's Personal Legend. While those who don't are not necessarily miserable wrecks, they do have a sense of...

Latest answer posted May 25, 2019, 4:45 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Alchemist

Throughout the novel The Alchemist, Santiago is searching for treasure. Along the way, however, he is learning lessons from a variety of teachers and is trying to understand alchemy and the...

Latest answer posted August 11, 2019, 2:01 pm (UTC)

4 educator answers

The Alchemist

The baker's story is Melchizedek's life lesson to Santiago about the fleeting nature of life and the need to "seize the day" while one still has the passion to experience fulfillment. Melchizedek...

Latest answer posted April 27, 2018, 7:55 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Alchemist

In Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist, the main character, Santiago, has many fears. Santiago's main fear is failure. He frequently worries that he is making the wrong choices and that the choices he...

Latest answer posted January 2, 2019, 6:00 pm (UTC)

3 educator answers

The Alchemist

The final test that Santiago undergoes in this story is to transform himself into the wind. This is something that he is only able to do with the help of the desert, the sun and the wind, and this...

Latest answer posted July 1, 2013, 6:15 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

In Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist, there seem to be very few things that hold the character back from achieving his goals. In terms of personal "flaws," he trusts too easily and he experiences...

Latest answer posted July 6, 2011, 4:33 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

Throughout the novel, Santiago shows his determination and courage. First, he follows his own path, defying his father's wishes. He does this even though his own way is riskier and more uncertain....

Latest answer posted July 26, 2017, 12:03 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Alchemist

The dictionary defines an oasis as a fertile spot in a desert where water is found, therefore supporting vegetation. The oasis gives refuge to travelers as it provides food and shelter. In the book...

Latest answer posted July 12, 2019, 4:40 am (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Alchemist

The Alchemist is a wonderful story that mixes fantasy and reality as it weaves the tale of Santiago pursuing his Personal Legend. Santiago is faced with many challenges throughout the story, and...

Latest answer posted May 9, 2020, 2:59 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

In Coelho's The Alchemist, at first Santiago believes that his sheep do not consider anything beyond eating and sleeping. He believes that they have no way of understanding that life might have a...

Latest answer posted June 23, 2013, 4:34 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

Coelho's The Alchemist relies on quite a number of literary devices to impart the story's themes and messages to the reader. For instance, there are many Biblical allusions that reflect similar...

Latest answer posted June 19, 2013, 4:36 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

One of the most defining and refining moments for Santiago is when he is presented with the task to turn himself into the wind in order to save his and the alchemist's life from the tribesmen....

Latest answer posted October 2, 2012, 8:40 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

The Englishman teaches Santiago that there is a principle that governs the universe. He tells Santiago that, in alchemy, the force that rules all things is called the Soul of the World. When you...

Latest answer posted May 20, 2019, 2:22 pm (UTC)

3 educator answers

The Alchemist

Paul Coehlo's The Alchemist deals with several themes, including the nature of desire, coming of age, seeking your life's purpose, recognizing and attaining your dreams, and paying attention to the...

Latest answer posted November 27, 2018, 1:51 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

Santiago is desperately searching for some treasure or reward throughout the story The Alchemist. Ironically, his journey takes him all the way to the middle of the African desert, where he...

Latest answer posted August 21, 2019, 5:40 pm (UTC)

4 educator answers

The Alchemist

In the novel The Alchemist, much of the story revolves around a theme of fate and predestination. Santiago believes for a vast majority of the tale that he is being guided by fate and that he can...

Latest answer posted August 16, 2019, 8:11 pm (UTC)

3 educator answers

The Alchemist

Melchizedek, a personal spirit who appears to Santiago in Tarifa, claims to be the King of Salem. He and Santiago spend little time together, but during their interaction, Melchizedek passes on...

Latest answer posted April 26, 2019, 1:28 am (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Alchemist

Coelho's opening with a revised version of the Narcissus myth invites us, as the story begins, to be open to seeing the world from a new perspective. In the original myth, Narcissus is beautiful...

Latest answer posted October 26, 2019, 4:09 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

The Alchemist

In Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist, the word fate isn't used, but the theme most closely linked to it is Personal Legend. The premise behind achieving one's Personal Legend is that everyone has one,...

Latest answer posted March 9, 2016, 6:22 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

What this quote is saying is that everything in the world is connected and that you can learn everything you need to know wherever you are. Because of this, a person should look at their own...

Latest answer posted December 28, 2010, 11:11 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

The name of the King of Salem is Melchizedek and he acts as Santiago's first mentor, teacher, or spiritual guide. He is a person's introduction to learning about what a Personal Legend is and he...

Latest answer posted December 11, 2015, 7:13 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

At the beginning of the novel, Santiago, the protagonist, is a young, still innocent shepherd. Because he didn't want to become a priest, as his father wished, but instead he wanted to travel, his...

Latest answer posted August 16, 2018, 1:28 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

One character trait of Santiago's that could be both positive and negative is his sense of contentment. On one hand, Santiago is not content with his initial life situation, and that propels him to...

Latest answer posted November 30, 2019, 3:25 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

The title character of the story, the alchemist seems to subscribe to the humanist philosophy that all people have great potential. However, it is up to the individual to recognize that potential...

Latest answer posted January 19, 2020, 9:48 pm (UTC)

4 educator answers

The Alchemist

In Coelho's The Alchemist, the Englishman seems to provide part of the answer to this question. The Englishman is caught up in words: he believes that everything he needs to know he has read in his...

Latest answer posted June 19, 2013, 3:48 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

In Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist, the alchemist chooses Santiago over the Englishman to be his pupil or "disciple" because the Englishman believes that wealth in the world is found in gold. He...

Latest answer posted July 6, 2011, 3:47 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

For a book with a lot of magical realism in it, Coelho's The Alchemist also has many religious symbols presented from Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Paganism. The Urim and Thummim are symbols...

Latest answer posted November 7, 2013, 4:22 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

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