The Alchemist tells the tale of Santiago, a young shepherd in search of his personal legend. Santiago did not know what the future entailed and at first, did not know he would travel far to reach “”his”” legend, however, it is the relationships with strangers that shaped him and helped him to “”his”” legend. Coelho introduced characters such as the king, the alchemist, and Santiago’s heart to positively affect Santiago and transform him. These relationships are a major focus for the story; each guided Santiago to be his best and led him towards “”his”” legend.
The king, though he was mentioned briefly, was a turning point in the story. Santiago and the king met unexpectedly when Santiago was reading on a bench. Santiago tells the king of the recurring dream he had and how he went to a gypsy to find out what he should do. The king reassured what Santiago had just learned from the gypsy, and that was to go to the pyramids to find the treasure. Additionally, the king gave Santiago two stones that would help guide him; however, Santiago only used them once because the king said not to be dependent of them and this helped Santiago a lot in the future. Santiago learned to be more trusting with himself and eventually that strengthened the relationship with his heart.
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The alchemist, like the king, helped Santiago towards “”his”” legend because he explained to him that it was not the treasure Santiago should be after, but the journey it took for him to reach it. Santiago met the alchemist through an Englishman on his way towards the pyramids. The alchemist also taught him that gold is not the real treasure, for it is just material. True treasure lies elsewhere. The alchemist, as well, strengthened Santiago’s heart. The alchemist told Santiago to listen to his heart, he said that his heart will tell him his strongest qualities: “”…his courage in having given up his sheep and in trying to live out his Personal Legend, and his enthusiasm during the time he had worked at the crystal shop”” (Coelho 134) The alchemist said the only way to transform oneself is to listen to one’s heart.
Lastly, one of the most important relationships formed in this story is the relationship Santiago built with his heart. Santiago always had his heart with him throughout his journey, although, it was towards the end of the story where he truly learned how to communicate with his heart. Santiago’s heart allowed him to learn new aspects about himself and be confident. At one point, Santiago tells the alchemist that his heart does not want him to continue with the journey because his heart fears it will lose everything. The alchemist reassured Santiago and told him that no heart aches when pursuing a dream because pursuing a dream is becoming closer to God. This is when Santiago comes to peace with his heart because his heart said that he who has God is happy and will find their treasure.
Paulo Coelho created a major focus of the story towards these relationships because it shows the readers that strangers can hugely impact one’s life. Santiago would have never gone on the journey and learn all the lessons he did if it were not for these strangers. They acted as helpers and guides throughout Santiago’s journey. There were other relationships in this story that introduced Santiago to another character: the Englishman is the character that introduced Santiago to the alchemist, and if Santiago never went to the gypsy he may have never met the king. The king, the alchemist, and Santiago’s heart turned Santiago into a complex character and in the end, Santiago found the treasure where his journey first began.
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