The Hero’s Journey: Departure Part 3: Refusal of the Call
In the Refusal of the Call, the hero has to decide whether or not he wants to accept the call. This should be a difficult decision for him, he’s being asked to enter into a great unknown. To undertake an adventure that’s riddled with danger. At first, his answer will probably be no.
Refusal of the Call
This temporary refusal alerts the audience that the adventure ahead will be risky. The hero is gambling with his life and his fortune by taking on this journey. This part of the story will force the hero to examine the adventure carefully, and decide if it’s really worth it.
Believe it or not, it’s natural for the hero to at first avoid the call, or at least to express reluctance. This reluctance should continue until some kind of stronger motivation comes into play. This could be the death of a loved one, the hero’s sense of honor, or love of adventure.
The hero will have a number of excuses as to why he’s refusing the call. They basically state that they would take on the adventure were it not for a pressing series of events (that may or may not exist). These are temporary excuses that are usually worn away by the urgency of the quest.
Persistent Refusal and Disaster
If the hero persistently refuses the call, it could lead to disaster. Continued refusal is one sign of a tragic hero. The situation around the hero can become worse and worse, until he finally decides to take up his calling. He may lose loved ones, face the destruction of the city, and more.
If the hero is facing more than one call, he may have to choose between them. The Refusal of the Call is the time for the hero to delegate between two difficult choices.
The refusal is usually a negative moment in the Hero’s Journey. However, the refusal may sometimes be a positive or wise decision. Sometimes the call takes the form of temptation, or an evil summons. In this
case, the best move on the hero’s part is to say no.
While many heroes will express reluctance, there are some that will show a complete willingness to take on the adventure. This hero might have already passed his fear of death, or he might simply yearn for adventure.
If the hero does in face accept the call, there’s a character archetype that might further hinder him. These are called the threshold guardians. These characters are powerful figures that will question the hero, and raise fear and doubt. They will do what they can to test the hero’s worthiness for the quest before it even begins.
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