The novel The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho narrates the tale of Santiago, a shepherd from Andalusia who had a dream about a treasure that is buried in Egypt next to the pyramids.
The story, which is filled with metaphors and features a large number of mythical and miraculous themes, imparts a powerful message of important life lessons to the characters and inspires the viewer to live up to their own Personal Legend.
Storyline Summary of The Alchemist
The novel starts with a short prelude in which the alchemist opens up a book and learns the story of Narcissus with a modified ending. This is followed by the beginning of the narrative itself. A shepherd called Santiago and his flock of sheep spend the night in an old church that has been abandoned in the region of Andalusia.
The following morning, he recalls having a recurring dream about a hidden treasure. He drives his flock to the town of Tarifa, where he pays a Gypsy woman a visit and inquires of her of the meaning of his dream. He learns that this dream is a vision. Soon after, Santiago comes face to face with an elderly man by the name of Melchizedek, who starts a conversation with him about one’s Personal Legend, a combination of fate and destiny.
The man makes Santiago an offer in which he will reveal the position of the treasure in return for one tenth of Santiago’s sheeps. After selling the majority of his flock, he hands 10% over to Melchizedek. Melchizedek tells Santiago that the fortune is located in Egypt, and that he should pay attention to the signs.
Santiago has a suspicion that Melchizedek is a king after seeing him remove two stones from a breastplate called Urim and Thummim. These stones are said to possess some sort of supernatural power. Melchizedek blesses Santiago and encourages him to continue living according to his Personal Legend.
Santiago eventually reaches the continent of Africa. He is forced to find employment with a crystal dealer after having his money stolen by a robber. Within the span of 11 months, Santiago is able to communicate in Arabic and has amassed sufficient funds to return home; unfortunately, an unexpected event takes place.
During a journey through the desert, Santiago has a fascinating encounter with a mysterious Englishman.
This man’s thirst for knowledge and determination to understand the mysteries of alchemy encourage Santiago to follow his own dream of discovering his treasure. Santiago falls in love with a young woman named Fatima in an oasis in the desert.
In the end, she encourages him to follow his Personal Legend and assures him that she will be there to wait for him if he is required to go. That same night, Santiago looks up into the sky and sees two hawks flying above him. He takes this to be a sign that the oasis is about to be attacked. He divulges this information to the chieftains, who have faith in him.
After that, he finally gets his first encounter with the alchemist. It has been suggested to Santiago by the alchemist that, in the event that he emerges victorious from the war, he should look for the alchemist’s tent. The following day, 500 tribesmen assault the oasis, but the residents ambush them and Santiago receives a generous award.
Santiago is able to successfully complete the final stage of his voyage with the assistance of the alchemist, which is marked by intense introspection and eye-opening discoveries. He discovers the wealth he has been hunting for at the last place he would have thought to find it, which is in the deserted chapel where Santiago started his adventure.
At this point, he starts to get a grasp on his Personal Legend, as well as the significance of sifting through one’s own life to find their own personal destiny. He comprehends what Melchizedek meant all those years ago when he said that when you want something with all your heart, the universe will conspire to help you achieve it.
Quotes from the The Alchemist
When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.
Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.
Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.
No matter what he does, every person on earth plays a central role in the history of the world. And normally he doesn’t know it.
This is what we call love. When you are loved, you can do anything in creation. When you are loved, there’s no need at all to understand what’s happening, because everything happens within you.
About Paulo Coelho
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