Paulo Coelho makes extensive use of allegory and archetype in his novel.
An allegory is a narrative that illustrates a broader moral, political, or cultural meaning. Characters become stand-ins for particular concepts and ideas. The Alchemist is an allegory for the life journey of the individual seeking to live an extraordinary life. Most people go through life without believing or even trying to achieve what they truly want to do (what the novel calls one's Personal Legend). The protagonist Santiago is tempted by love, security, and wealth, but in the end, he chooses to search for treasure among the pyramids—all of this is an allegory for how people can surmount all discouragement and temptation to achieve their dreams.
An archetype is a reoccurring pattern found throughout world literature, mythology, and other sorts of storytelling. For example, the old wise man personified by Obi-wan in Star Wars or Merlin in the Arthurian mythos is a prominent archetype found throughout many cultures. These...
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