Lecturing in Rome, I came upon a further development of this idea, an alternate way of graphing the Hero’s Journey: not as a circle, but as a diamond. I was explaining that each act sends the hero on a certain track with a specific aim or goal, and that the climaxes of each act change the hero’s direction, assigning a new goal. The hero’s first act goal, for instance, might be to seek treasure, but after meeting a potential lover at the first threshold crossing, the goal might change to pursuing that love. If the ordeal at the midpoint has the villain capturing the hero and lover, the goal in the next movement could become trying to escape. And if the villain kills the lover at The Road Back, the new goal of the final movement might be to get revenge. The original objective might be achieved as well, or there might be some overall goal (to learn self-reliance or come to terms with past failures, for example) that continues to be served in all movements as the hero pursues changing superficial goals.
To illustrate this concept I drew the hero’s goals in each movement as straight lines, vectors of intention, rather than curves. Straightening out the curves of the circle created sharp, 90-degree turns at the quarter points and revealed the drastic changes that may occur in the hero’s objectives. Each straight line represents the hero’s aim in that act – to escape the constraints of the ordinary world, to survive in a strange land, to win the boon and escape the strange land, to return home safely with something to share that revives the world.
I was amused to realize I had just drawn a baseball diamond (in reverse.) I’ve often felt that the layout of game-playing fields produces patterns that overlap with the design of the Hero’s Journey. Baseball can be read as another metaphor of life, with the base runner as the hero making his way around the stages of the journey.
Vogler, Christopher. The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, Third Edition. Michael Wiese Productions, 2007: xxiv-xxv.