In Coelho's The Alchemist, identify three instances where Santiago has to pay a price to fulfill his Personal Legend, and explain whether he ever finds the price too high.

Expert Answers
booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist, there are three specific times when Santiago (the boy) is required to pay a price to find his Personal Legend.

First, the gypsy (in exchange for analyzing his dream), demands a tenth of his treasure—if he finds it. He agrees. Next, the King of Salem, Melchizedek, demands a tenth of Santiago's sheep if Santiago wants to learn of his treasure. Again, Santiago agrees. In promising a tenth of his treasure and giving away a tenth of his sheep, Santiago seems rather stoic.

When Santiago has sold the rest of his sheep and has the money from the sale, he is robbed by a young man he meets in the market place. Santiago has neither the money to move forward or to return home. He cannot even buy more sheep. So he takes a job with the crystal merchant. In order to go anywhere, he must make money, and he works close to a year (eleven months and nine days) to save what he needs. (At this point, he is again presented with the need to decide in which direction he will continue.) However, in these circumstances, Santiago has more difficulty in giving up his time to work for the crystal merchant. He is frustrated that he has come to such an enormous obstacle through the deceit of another.

However, in the long run, the time the boy spends with the crystal merchant teaches Santiago a great deal with regard to pursuing one's Personal Legend. When first robbed, he was certain he would buy some more sheep and go home. However, after spending time with the crystal merchant, and seeing how he missed the chance to achieve his Personal Legend, Santiago recommits himself to move forward. While at the beginning of this segment of his life Santiago feels the price is too high (knowing he must work so long), later he is able to put it into a more meaningful perspective and believes that it has all been worthwhile.

Read the study guide:
The Alchemist

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question