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Monomyth

The Little Mermaid “Up where they walk, up where they run, up where they stay all day in the sun. Wandering free, wish I could be, part of that world. ” Ariel sings this in the beginning of The Little Mermaid after an adventure with Flounder. She wishes to be a human with legs and live the way the humans do. The Little Mermaid is an example of a monomyth, also called a heroic adventure. Ariel may not seem like a so-called-typical-hero throughout the majority of the movie, but she has her own heroic ways.

Three characteristics of a hero are a remarkable birth, troubled childhood, and being able to rely on ones natural strength.

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Ariel grows up with several sisters, no mother and a father who is the king of the sea, King Triton. She was miserable being a mermaid and knew that she had to find her own way to escape the sea. Ariel’s call to adventure began when one night, Ariel, Flounder and an unwilling Sebastian travel to the ocean surface to watch a celebration for the birthday of Prince Eric on a ship, with whom Ariel falls in love with.

In the ensuing storm the ship is destroyed and Ariel saves the unconscious Eric from drowning. Ariel sings to him, but quickly leaves as soon as he regains consciousness to avoid being discovered. Fascinated by the memory of her voice, Eric vows to find who saved and sung to him and Ariel vows to find a way to join him and his world. Her option then comes along and is given to her by the sea hag, Ursula’s, electric eels, Flotsam and Jetsam. They give her the option to come with them to Ursula who can change Ariel into a human, or she can stay and be miserable her whole life.

In every heroic adventure the main hero needs to receive help along his/her journey. Ursula makes a deal with Ariel to transform her into a human for three days in exchange for Ariel’s voice When Ursula used her magic to turn Ariel into a human and take away her voice that was Ariel’s supernatural aid because it caused her to be able to go and win Eric’s heart. But it’s also bittersweet because Ariel must receive the “kiss of true love” from Eric; otherwise, she will transform back into a mermaid and belong to Ursula. Ariel’s quest is now in motion and she must find Eric.

Instead Eric finds Ariel on the beach and takes her to his castle. Ariel spends time with Eric, and at the end of the second day, they almost kiss but Flotsam and Jetsam flip their boat and ruin it. That was Ariel’s first obstacle. Ursula then disguises herself as a beautiful young woman named Vanessa and appears onshore singing with Ariel’s voice. Eric recognizes the song and, in her disguise, Ursula casts a hypnotic enchantment on Eric to make him forget about Ariel. The next day, Ariel finds out that Eric will be married to the disguised Ursula.

Scuttle discovers that Vanessa is Ursula in disguise, and informs Ariel who immediately goes after the wedding barge. This is Ariel’s second obstacle. Sebastian informs Triton, and Scuttle disrupts the wedding with the help of various animals. In the chaos, the nautilus shell around Ursula’s neck is broken, restoring Ariel’s voice and breaking Ursula’s enchantment over Eric. Eric rushes to kiss her, but the sun sets and Ariel transforms back into a mermaid. Ursula reveals herself and kidnaps Ariel. Ariel now faces her final test.

Triton confronts Ursula and demands Ariel’s release, but the deal is inviolable. At Ursula’s urging, the king agrees to take Ariel’s place as Ursula’s prisoner. Ariel is released as Triton transforms into a polyp and loses his authority over Atlantica. Ursula declares herself the new ruler and a struggle ensues in which Ursula accidentally kills Flotsam and Jetsam. In her rage, Ursula uses the trident to grow to monstrous proportions. Ariel and Eric reunite on the surface just before Ursula grows past and towers the two.

She then gains full control of the entire ocean, creating a storm with a maelstrom and shipwrecks, one of which Eric commandeers. As Ursula attempts to destroy a trapped Ariel in the maelstrom, Eric runs Ursula through the abdomen with the ship’s splintered bowsprit killing her. Ursula’s power breaks, causing Triton and all the other polyps in Ursula’s garden to revert back into their original forms. Realizing that Ariel truly loves Eric, Triton willingly changes her from a mermaid into a human. Ariel and Eric marry on a ship and depart.