Why did Santiago have to go through the dangers of tribal wars on the outskirts of the oasis in order to reach the Pyramids? At the very end of the journey, why did the alchemist leave Santiago...

 

Why did Santiago have to go through the dangers of tribal wars on the outskirts of the oasis in order to reach the Pyramids? At the very end of the journey, why did the alchemist leave Santiago alone to complete it?

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davmor1973 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The alchemist tells Santiago a story about the Roman Emperor Tiberius. One night an angel came to Tiberius and told him that the words of one of his sons will live on for generations. One of Tiberius's sons is a poet so naturally he thinks that the angel is referring to him, rather than his other son, a soldier.

But after Tiberius dies and his spirit meets up with the angel again he is surprised to discover that it was the words of his soldier son, a Roman centurion whose servant was healed by Christ, that have lived on:

The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. (Matthew 8:8 KJV)

The moral of this fable explains why Santiago must encounter the dangers of a tribal war before arriving at the pyramids. Like the Roman centurion, Santiago is living out his Personal Legend and in doing so he is serving the Soul of The World. What matters in life is not getting what you expect but instead following your desires, irrespective of risk. Doing so will lead to unexpected outcomes, and you will be serving a higher purpose.

But this can only be done by the individual. Everyone has their own Personal Legend and must achieve their dreams by themselves. Yet this is not mere selfishness; the alchemist leaves Santiago to live out his dreams safe in the knowledge that in doing so, Santiago will light the way for others to fulfill their own desires.

 

Jamie Wheeler eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Santiago must endure trials in order to fulfill his Personal Legend and thus comprehend the Language of the World. One's goals are never reached unless we are willing to face fears. Additionally, suffering is a part of life. As the alchemist tells him, "No one fails to suffer the consequences of everything under the sun." All actions have consequences, but the alternative, no action, means that one will never understand their purpose in the world or truly enjoy their lives.

Although Santiago has already endured many obstacles, the tribal wars are the first to true endanger his life. He must be willing to risk literally everything.

The alchemist must leave him alone because every person's journey is an individual one; no one can help you realize your own dreams.

Read the study guide:
The Alchemist

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