The Alchemist: Personal Legend and Personal Growth

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 908 |

Pages: 2|

5 min read

Published: Aug 4, 2023

Words: 908|Pages: 2|5 min read

Published: Aug 4, 2023

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Sacrifice of Familiarity: Beginning of the Personal Legend
  3. Change and Growth in The Alchemist
  4. Conclusion
  5. Works Cited


Change is a universal concept that transcends boundaries, as it touches the lives of individuals worldwide. The impact of change is undeniable, whether it is welcomed or imposed upon us. Paulo Coelho, the author of 'The Alchemist,' explores the theme of change in his novel, highlighting its significance in personal development. In The Alchemist, personal legend serves as a driving force for the protagonist, Santiago, as he consciously abandons his mundane existence as a shepherd. Through Santiago's journey, Coelho illuminates the notion that embracing change is vital for individual growth and the pursuit of one's true purpose.

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Sacrifice of Familiarity: Beginning of the Personal Legend

To begin with, Santiago, originally a shepherd, decides to sell his sheep in order to be able to set forth on his journey to go to the pyramids and find the treasure he has seen in his dreams. Even though Santiago is very emotionally attached to his sheep and “He knew everything about each member of his flock” (Coelho 29) he decides to sell them to his friend because he realizes that there will be no way for him to reach the riches he seeks without changing his current way of life. Although it pains Santiago to let go of the sense of friendship he has found within the sheep through their travels together, he knows it’s the right thing to get rid of them “My friend bought all the other sheep immediately”(Coelho 31). He sells all of his sheep to his friend and gives 6 of them to the King of Salem as payment for the advice the king gives to Santiago. He makes the choice to leave behind his sheep even though he has grown accustomed to them and even enjoys their company. In leaving behind his sheep even though he cares for them, Santiago is showing that he values his journey towards becoming a better person more than he values the sense of comfort and friendship that he finds when he’s with his sheep. 

Change and Growth in The Alchemist

Letting go of his sheep and his identity as a shepherd allows Santiago to grow into a more independent person who doesn’t need to be held down by the animals he is used to tending to. When Santiago leaves behind his sheep he shows that he must leave behind what he’s used to and change his lifestyle in order to attain the internal metamorphosis that he’s now seeking. Moreover, Santiago leaves Tarifa, Spain, and boards a boat headed for Tangier, Morocco, leaving behind the land he’s always known. He departs Spain in hopes of finding his treasure in Africa. Santiago leaves behind his homeland, despite the fact that he’s frightened at the prospect of being in an unfamiliar place. “If he sold just one of his sheep, he’d have enough to get to the other shore of the strait. The idea frightened him” (Coelho 28). Santiago is scared that he will finally have the freedom he has always been searching for. He plunges into the unknown despite his fears showing his resilience in reaching his “personal legend” or what he is destined to do. 

Santiago’s choice to move from Spain to Africa proves that modification is imperative to reach growth. “He had to choose between something he had become accustomed to and something he wanted to have” (Coelho 30). Santiago had to pick between staying in Spain and keeping his life the same or going to Africa and pursuing change. If he had stayed in Spain, there would have been no way for him to grow and learn from all the people that he meets in Africa, such as the crystal merchant that teaches him about the dangers of not following his dreams. By choosing what he wants to have instead of staying with what he is accustomed to, Santiago learns bravery and to do things even though he might be frightened. 

In addition, Santiago leaves his tame lifestyle and puts himself in situations that challenge him and even end up putting him in danger. Upon reaching Tangier, Morocco Santiago finds a man that says can help him reach the pyramids in Egypt, so he gives this man all of his money. In doing this and trusting his new friend so easily, Santiago has deemed nieve and gets all of his money stolen from him by this man. He is left with no money and once again finds himself in a place where he feels fear and maybe even some regret. Santiago abandons his tame lifestyle and switches it out for one filled with things that had been unknown to him. Santiago could have chosen to give up in that moment and cease searching for his “personal legend”, but instead he allows this situation to teach him something “...he realized that he had to choose between thinking of himself as the poor victim of a thief and as an adventurer in quest for adventure” (Coelho 44). In putting himself in this daring situation, Santiago learns to change his mindset and how to handle his reaction to the things that happen to him, showing growth as a person. He also shows the trait of determination and how much he values the internal change that he is striving for.  

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In the final analysis, Santiago deliberately sacrifices his sheep, the land that he’s always known, and his safe lifestyle; exemplifying his value for internal growth in order to show that change is essential to achieve a person’s goals. In each of the situations stated above, Santiago makes the choice to leave something behind in order to continue his journey to his internal metamorphosis, showing that in order for someone to become a better version of themselves, change is imperative.  

Works Cited

  1. Coelho, Paulo. The Alchemist. HarperOne, 2015.
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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

The Alchemist: Personal Legend and Personal Growth. (2023, August 04). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 28, 2024, from
“The Alchemist: Personal Legend and Personal Growth.” GradesFixer, 04 Aug. 2023,
The Alchemist: Personal Legend and Personal Growth. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 28 Feb. 2024].
The Alchemist: Personal Legend and Personal Growth [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2023 Aug 04 [cited 2024 Feb 28]. Available from:
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