What’s going on here? First, there are only so many stories that humans tell each other. Second, we keep telling them over and over.
Monomyth – many enduring stories over the ages from around the world share fundamental structures and stages.
The Stages of the Hero’s Journey
The Call to Adventure
Refusal of the Call
The Crossing of the First Threshold
Belly of The Whale
The Road of Trials
The Meeting With the Goddess
Woman as Temptress
Atonement with the Father
The Ultimate Boon
Refusal of the Return
The Magic Flight
Rescue from Without
The Crossing of the Return Threshold
Master of Two Worlds
Freedom to Live
The Hero with a Thousand Faces, by Joseph Campbell
A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.
examples in classical literature of popular heroes who share most of the stages: Osiris, Prometheus, the Buddha, Moses, Christ
examples from the movies: 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Wars, Harry Potter
If life is a sequence of events, plots give them causality. For example: “The king died. The queen died.” That is not a plot. However: “The king died because the queen died.” Oh yeah? How did the one cause the other? Now, we have a plot.
How many plots are there?