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The alchemist

Paulo Coelho




Theme and events

  • Santiago
  • Alchemist
  • The english man
  • Fatima
  • Wazlawek
  • The christal merchant
  • King of Salem

The story begins in Santiagos hometown in Andalusia. He travels down in Arabian and ends up in his final destination Egypt

The book shows how Santiagio is faced with conflicts of having to give some away of his flock, take a risk with a thief and lose all his money and work for years just regain his money all to achieve his destiny

The theme in this book is all revolving destiny and conquest. Santiago is told that he is discover his destiny by travelling to the paramids but along the way I started to think maybe it is more about the journey rather than the destination. He met his dream woman and a plethora intersting people all by learning lessons about himself and others

The Alchemist



Main Character:

called Santiago,the protagonist, shepherd, open character, dynamic figure, round character moorish, born in a poor family, attended a seminary until he was 16, -> can read books (untypical for shepherds) , studied languages and theology -> wanted to travel not to be a priest ( parents wish)
Curios for new places,

-open character: He is determined, headstrong, and curious to learn all he can about the world and presents his feeling e.g he is terrified to prove his abilities in front of tribal chefs

-dynamic figure : at first he never wanted to let go of his sheep because they are part of his life. In the Book Progress, he changes his mind and begins to continually pursue his Personal Legend. When he found it, he even says that it was the best decision to pursue his Personal Legend and everyone will be rewarded for doing so

-round character: since he is the protagonist and so the book describes all his feelings and actions

In detail:

-Alchemist: 200-year-old, mysterious character, extremely powerful practitioner of alchemy, can turn any metal into gold,
static figure: because his mind set doesn't change. His wise view of life is constant. According to him, everyone should pursue his personal legend.
Closed character: The alchemist shows no feelings

gypse: inteprets dreams, in Tarifa, closed figure: the gypse shows no feelings, Static character: she only appears at the beginning of the book and does not change her being

- Melchizedek: claims to be the King of Salem, an old man, livs in Tarifa- Spain, tells Santiago about Personal Legends, the Soul of the World, and Beginner’s Luck. He also gives Santiago two magical stones, open figure: he is not too shy to start a conversation with Santiago : Static character: he only appears once in the book and does not change his being

-Christal merchant: important friend to Santiago during Santiago’s time in Tangier, given up the pursuit of his Personal Legend, maintains a crystal shop in Tangier, devoutly religious,
Dynamic character: The crystal merchant understands that he acts foolishly in not pursuing his Personal Legend, making it difficult to understand his motives when he refuses to change his ways, even after Santiago shows him the benefits of taking risks, Round character: e.g we got to know about :his religious backround, so he is a muslim; his mindset, so he dont like changes; his a person who dont continued to pursue a dream of him

-English man: well-educated, join with Santiago a caravan in search of the alchemist, but is rather anti-social, closed character, Dynamic character: Because the Englishman focuses too much on his books, the alchemist believes he has not reached the point in his personal development that would allow him to be the alchemist’s protégé, open character:
he befriends with Santiago and starts a trip with him, he is also likely to meet the alchemist

-Fatima: only female character, Santiago falls in love with her, in Oasis, open character: she confesses Santiagio her love Static character: , Flat character: we only know, where she lives and that shes fimale but the book not tells about further traits, besides her love to Santiago

Major Themes

The Personal Legend: Each individual has a Personal Legend, which is the only means by which to achieve a satisfying life. The universe is attuned to that, and it can achieve perfection if all of its creatures strive to achieve their own Personal Legend Pantheism. In The Alchemist, the Soul of the World represents the unity of nature. All living beings, are connected, and they have to undergo similar processes, as they share the same spiritual essence

Fear:Giving in to fear is what hinders the fulfillment of one’s own Personal Legend. As we see with the crystal merchant, who never heeded his calling to make a pilgrimage to Mecca out of fear, he ends up living in regret.

Alchemy: Alchemy’s goal was to transform base metals into gold and to create a universal elixir. In the novel, alchemy serves as a metaphor of people’s journeys in pursuit of their own Personal Legend.


- Santiago met an old woman who inteprets dreams in Tenerifa

-His dream: child point to a hidden treasure by Egyptian pyramids

-For Interpretion, she wants 1/10 of the treasure:
-> he should go there, the treasure really exist
( because a child told him)

King of Salem

Urim and Thummim

Tells him about the Personal Legend

Can help him to find the treasure in return for 1/10 of his flock

Gave the man the sheep and selled the rest to have money for the trip, Tip of the man : he need to follow the omens and his Personal Legend

gave him a white and black stone , called Urim and Thummim:
black for yes
white for no

helps him when he can´t read omens

In Tangier

-In Tangier, his money was stolen from a young maroccan->want to go back to Spain

- offers a christal merchant to work for him ( until he has enough money to return to Spain), helped him to improve his business with sales strategies

• Santiago realized: he always can be a shepherd, but he has to keep chasing after his dream and learning new things

• decides to continue his journey

• Met an English man, whos also following omens, he is planning to go to Al-Fayoum oasis to meet alchemist

-a caravan is leaving that day for Al-Fayoum, Egypt
- both decided to go with them
-• Santiago reads a lot about Emerald Tablet, the literature of alchemy ,learns about the Elixir of Life + the Philosopher's Stone

on The way to Egypt

Santiago learns that in oases fighting is prohibited

• they will stay at the oasis until the fighting stops( which could be years)
• Englishman helps Santiago to find the alchemist there
: In search: Santiago falls in love with Fatima, she knows where the alchemist is
• Santiago has a vision of an army invading the oasis by an omen: (sees a couple of hawks flying in the sky. He watches them in a trance, and suddenly one of them attacks the other)
-he tells the tribal chieftains about
• they decided to listen to the message -> the next day everyone will be armed and on the lookout
• For every ten dead enemies, they'll give Santiago a piece of gold
-> if there is no attack he’ll end up dead

met a stranger on a white horse with a falcon on his shoulder and a sword

-man asks him what he's doing, Santiago said he’s following his personal legend

-> If he's still alive tomorrow night, he should visit him
-> realized that was the alchemist
• Next day there was a attack, every invader is killed,
• He walks to the alchemists,who gave him adivise :sell his camel, and buy a horse
They're off to find the treasure

The Alchemist

next day: they ride out into the desert

the alchemist tells Santiago to listen to his heart

two days away from the pyramids
they're surrounded by a hundred tribesmen who capture them and take them to a camp, accused being spies
• Alchemist says that Santiago is an alchemist who understands the forces of nature and wants to show off his powers and gives all of Santiago's gold coins to the chief
• he promises that Santiago can destroy the camp with the force of the wind, within three days he transforms himself into the wind

he asks the desert to turn him into wind -> put him in touch with the wind

-asks the wind for help
• He tells him to ask heaven
-> asks him to blot out the sun with a sandstorm, so he can look to heaven without being blinded
-> wind obliges, blowing a terrifying storm into the camp

• Next Santiago chats with the sun explains about alchemy and evolution and asks to help him to turn into the wind

Sun tells him to ask the hand that wrote all, and he does, without speaking
• Santiago prays
He realizes that his soul is the Soul of God and that he can do miracles
Once the storm dies the camp has been destroyed, • Everyone is ly terrified, and let the alchemist and Santiago go

• Santiago rides to the pyramids, and his heart tells him that wherever he is brought to tears is the place where his treasure is.

• When he sees the pyramids
• He starts digging into the dune, but doesn't find anything thereby refugees of tribal war come up to him, asking him what he's doing, they need money and find his gold in the bag

• They think that he must have more gold hidden in the ground, and make him dig all night, even though he doesn't find anything. They beat him up and he explains, that he's digging for treasure.

• The leader decides to leave, and tells Santiago not to be so stupid, that he himself had dreamed of a treasure right on that spot

His dream: told him to go to a ruined church in Spain and to dig at the roots of a sycamore tree
He says he's not as stupid as Santiago, crossing the desert just because of a dream

• Santiago laughs as they leave, because the guy just gave him the clue to where his treasure is.

Santiago goes back to analusia and returned to the church.

He digs under the place he slept when he dreamed of the pyramids and treasure.

Beneath a simple tree lays the treasure of Santiago !!!

In this moment he realized: "Life is really generous to those who purse their personal legend!"

Santiago is troubled by a recurring dream. A gypse tells him that his dream means there is treasure in Egypt. She wants 1/10 of his treasure in return for telling what his dream meant.

Santiago mets a man who claims to be a king and teachs him about the personal legend. The king gave him two stones - Urim and Thummin- for reading omens. The King make Santiago to give him 1/10 of his flock. Santiago selled the rest to have enough money for the trip

When Santiago arrived in Tangier all his money was stolen. To return home, he starts to work in a shop of a christal merchant. He suggests many ideas, that benefit the shop

After a year of work he decided to continue his search for his personal legend . He joined a caravan traveling to Egypt and mets an english man there who wants to learn about the secrets of alchemy from an alchemist in the oasis. They befriend. During the travel they come to an oasis where Santiago falls in love with Fatima. She urges him to continue to look for his Personal legend. Santiago leaves the oasis along side the alchemist to find his personal legend.

When Santiago arrives at the pyramids, he digs but found nothing. Thieves beat him and steal his money. Santiago tells them his dream anyway and one of the thieves tells him his own dream. Its about treasure, buried in a abandoned church

Back in Andalusia at the church he starts digging underthe place he slept and dreamed of the treasure. The treasure really lays there. Santiagio started to realize the power of willingness.


"If someone isn't what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own"

• "He says that when you want something with all your heart, you're close to the Soul of the World and the universe will help you get it"

"Santiago's camel driver friend tells him to live in the moment instead of fearing the future.
last lesson: before a dream is realized the Soul of the World throws out all its hardest tests, in a ´darkest before the dawn´fashion"

Don’t Be Concerned with What Others Think

The old man says to Santiago: “In the long run, what people think about shepherds and bakers becomes more important for them than their own personal legends.”

Be Grateful for Every Day Santiago thinks to himself, “When each day is the same as the next, it’s because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises.”

Take Off Your Rose-Colored Glasses! While reflecting on the incident and his misfortune, the boy was able to come to terms with it, “I’m like everyone else – I see the world in terms of what I would like to see happen, not what actually does.”

Be Observant and Open to Learning New Things As he is crossing the desert, he thinks to himself, “I’ve learned things from the sheep, and I’ve learned things from crystal, he thought. I can learn something from the desert, too. It seems old and wise.”

Focus on the Present The next lesson comes in a conversation he has with the camel driver who says to Santiago, “Because I don’t live in either my past or my future. I’m interested only in the present. If you can concentrate on the present, you’ll be a happy man.”

Don’t Let Anyone or Anything Derail Your Dreams While contemplating whether to stay with Fatima or continue on his journey, the alchemist says, “You must understand that love never keeps a man from pursuing his Personal Legend. If he abandons that pursuit, it’s because it wasn’t true love…”

Take Action to Learn The alchemist responds with, “There is only one way to learn…It’s through action. Everything you need to know you have learned through your journey…”

The Real Treasure! The real treasure was not the riches he found buried beneath the church. Rather, the real riches were the lessons learned, the personal growth and improvements he made, and the experiences he had in the search for his Personal Legend.

Never Give Up Pursuing Your Personal Legend Just as Santiago never gave up on pursuing his Personal Legend

further lessons to think about

symbolize the sort of existence lived by those who are completely blind to their Personal Legend
-> Santiago loves his sheep, but he also expresses thinly veiled disrespect for them because of their animal desires for mere food and water


Santiago’s sheep

in which a base metal is transformed into a more valuable metal like gold, functions as the dominant symbol in The Alchemist and represents Santiago’s journey to achieve his Personal Legend
The symbol also gives the novel its title.


the desert, with its harsh conditions and tribal wars, symbolizes the serious difficulties that await anyone in pursuit of their Personal Legend
but it also serves as an important teacher to Santiago during his journey to the pyramids. As the alchemist puts it, tests are an inherent part of all Personal Legends, because they are necessary to create spiritual growth.



Dreams: Alchemist, dreams represent not only an outlet into one’s inner desires, but also a form of communication with the Soul of the World. Santiago’s dream of a treasure in Egypt, for instance, reveals to him his Personal Legend and sets the entire plot of the Alchemist into motion

Many of the characters that Santiago meets during his journey use the word maktub, which as the crystal merchant explains, means “it is written.” The word typically appears just as Santiago is about to turn to a new chapter in his quest, usually by taking a big risk or abandoning a comfortable situation. It becomes a reassuring refrain for Santiago, because it reminds Santiago to see his actions in the context of fate.

The motif of omens serves a dual purpose in The Alchemist. For one, omens offer Santiago guidance on his journey and reassure him that the Soul of the World has endorsed his journey. As Melchizedek explains, omens make up part of the Universal Language of the World, and if Santiago taps into this language he can always find the meaning in his environment

Literary Style: The Alchemist is written in a simple prose that is heavy on the sensory details. It contains a lot of extremely quotable passages, which gives the book a “self-help” tone

Facts about the book

The Author Paulo Coelho is a Brazilian lyricist and novelist. He had a spiritual awakening upon walking the Road of Santiago de Compostela. He is the author of over 30 books between essays, autobiography, and fiction, and his work has been published in more than 170 countries and translated into more than 120 languages.

Year Published: 1988

Genre: Allegorical

Type of Work: Novel

Original Language: Portuguese

Time period of the book:

The story occurs sometime between 1500 and the early 1800s, as there is little in the way of modern technology; the Muslims no longer rule Southern Spain, but Europeans are starting to find their way into North Africa as agents.

The story doesn't take place in a specific time period, as the themes Coelho addresses in the novel don't belong to a specific era: these are timeless themes that have survived the rise and fall of powerful civilizations – but they remain unchanged.

The book, the book has gone on to sell over 65 million copies, been translated into 80 different languages (a Guinness World Record) and been on the NY Times bestseller list for 315 weeks!

Pages: 192


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Book: "The Alchemist" :https://www.amazon.de/-/en/Paulo-Coelho/dp/0722532938/ref=sr_1_1?adgrpid=1197368814601559&hvadid=74835651749202&hvbmt=be&hvdev=c&hvlocphy=127351&hvnetw=o&hvqmt=e&hvtargid=kwd-74835751346607%3Aloc-72&hydadcr=27523_1870031&keywords=der+alchemist+paulo+coelho&qid=1652286513&sr=8-1

I hope you enyojed it !!!