The Alchemist Summary

The Alchemist Summary

The Alchemist is a novel by Paulo Coelho. The novel is about a shepherd who as a young boy always believed that his destiny was in the Egyptian Pyramids. The belief in the Pyramids of Egypt comes as a dream that has seen the Santiago meet different characters including Melchizedek, the Gypsy woman, the thief, Fatima, the alchemist, the crystal merchant, and the Coptic monk. All these characters are from different continents and they play a role in explaining the importance of Santiago’s experience in explaining ones destiny in the conclusion.

Melchizedek, in this novel explains the Personal Legend in Santiago heart that ought to be explored if Santiago is to meet his destiny. Thereafter, Santiago meets the crystal merchant who unlike Santiago is afraid of taking risks. However, the crystal merchant is eloquent in dreams which allows Santiago understand the importance of different elements in his dream. These spur his efforts to visit the pyramids. The advice from the crystal merchant and the support he gets from the employment enables his to travel to the Egyptian pyramids in which Santiago meets the Englishman. The Englishman is an alchemist who seeks to grow his knowledge in alchemy that has seen him travel to al-Fayoum. The Englishman has different books from which Santiago gets to learn about alchemy. Finally, the journey to al-Fayoum is over and it is here that Santiago meets Fatima. Santiago falls for Fatima that leads him proposing for her hand in marriage. However, Fatima understands the importance of Santiago exploring his Personal Legend that leads her to shelving the marriage. Fatima explains that if Santiago has real love for her he should not let it interfere with his conquest in the Egyptian pyramids. This is important because in the conclusion Santiago seeks Fatima for marriage.

Santiago’sthirst for knowledge in alchemy leads the Englishman in recommending him to the Alchemist who guides Santiago in achieving his destiny. The Alchemist has in his possession the Philosopher’s stone and the Elixir of Life. These allow the Alchemist to guide Santiago in understanding his environment. Understanding his environment however comes with responsibilities because Santiago is expected to interpret the riddles used by the alchemist in explaining how to transform his surrounding to something of benefit inbecoming his Personal Legend. Thereafter, Santiago ventures into the pyramids under the guidance of the alchemist.

The venture into the pyramids is challenging for Santiago. It makes Santiago become weak. Fortunately, before the venture the Alchemist had introduced Santiago to a Coptic monk who would help Santiago in case he had challenges that would affect his objectives in the Egyptian pyramids. Santiago approaches the Monk who offers him a piece of gold that provides his recovery. The Alchemist had promised the Coptic monk of better proceeds on the gold as he had initially rejected the Alchemist bid. The Gypsy woman encourages Santiago of the importance of his commitment in finding the treasure though this comes at a price in which he will pay a tenth of what he will get. Finally, Paulo Coelho concludes when Santiago gets the treasure that signifies the importance of doing what the heart cherishes something that made the Alchemist a hit in the market (Coelho).

In his book the Alchemist, Paulo Coelho has illustrated the importance of understanding ones destiny. In understanding ones destiny, Paulo develops an analysis of dreams that enable a person to understand their Personal Legend. However, this requires that a person get advice of an old man that ensures that a young person can access reliable information to kick-start his pursue of their Personal Legend. Thus, Paulo Coelho has started with Melchizedek advising Santiago. In this light, Melchizedek advises Santiago on how the world denies a person the ability to pursue their Personal Legend. Melchizedek underlines the role of the world’s greatest lie through which people think that their life is controlled by fate. Fortunately, his experience and his ability to guide people with dreams leads him in ensuring that Santiago understands the importance of self-devotion pursuing one’s Personal Legend.

Consequently, this leads Santiago in endeavoring to find the treasure in the Egyptian pyramids as he seeks to understand the omens that come his way. The role of Melchizedek concludes when he reinstates the importance of relating one’s personal experiences with life chances. In this case, Paulo Coelho has illustrated to his audience most of which is working to see their dreams come true that advice from an experienced person matters. Moreover, the Melchizedek is older and has met different people who want to understand their personal legends that bolster his role as an adviser towards understanding one’s Personal Legend.

The Crystal merchant portrays a person whose personal ambitions are held by their goals. The merchant sees his travel to Mecca as a roadblock to his existence that leads him in delaying his travel. However, the merchant believes that all we need to know about ourselves is written in the Maktub. Generally, the merchant should have known his fate if all about a person’s life is written in the Maktub. Paulo Coelho has portrayed the merchant as one who leaves in denial yet he has the potential to grow his opportunities and achieve their dreams with ease (Sexton). Thus, relating this to the audience illustrates that despite challenges one can help other people to pursue their dreams, as was the case for Santiago after he was robbed. In addition, Santiago demonstrates to the audience that opportunities surround us and achieving them requires that we understand our surroundings. In fact, it is the understanding of the crystal shop that sees Santiago recommend the development of a tea business and a window display. When Santiago leaves the shop for the pyramids, he offers the audience an opportunity through which one should not allow their environment to determine their efforts in understanding their Personal Legend (Coelho).

In the caravan, Santiago journeys with the Englishman and their camel driver. Santiago makes friends with the Camel driver who reinstates the importance of understanding that all we seek is already known and none should lose hope despite the tragedies that occur in life. The camel driver offers this advice based on his experience with River Nile when it affected its source of income. It is in this caravan that Paulo illustrates the importance of understanding what we want at the current moment. In this light, the caravan driver defines the role of being patient when he makes a stopover to sleep in order to start the journey on the next day. Moreover, the Englishman urges Santiago to read his books when available that allows the Englishman to expound on any arising issues as he did when explaining how alchemists have sought to understand the purification of metals. Generally, the Englishman and the camel driver define the contribution of patience in understanding our current situations that allows us to find better alternatives in case the current ones seem futile. However, in the case where the Englishman is disappointed with Santiago we learn on the importance of different objectives in life. The differences in our perceptions determine what is good for us that lead Santiago in respecting the disappointment of the Englishman leading him to focus on the caravan.

Fatima was a blessing to Santiago. Santiago would create time for meeting Fatima at the well though at times Fatima did not avail to fetch water. Santiago expressed his love for Fatima that Fatima accepted with exceptions considering her understanding of the men of the desert. Fortunately, when Fatima rejected Santiago hand in marriage it was the starting of a journey of meeting the Alchemist. As a corollary to this, Paulo Coelho demonstrates that understanding our treasure requires guidance from the omens that come our way. It is through these omens that Fatima out of her experience advices Santiago to seek his personal legend. Ironically, despite the experience of Santiago and meeting different people like Melchizedek, the Camel driver, and the Crystal merchant he was still vulnerable to making choices in life leading to him to confusion. Luckily, there were different people like the chieftains whose believe in him that allowed him to continue with his pursuit. Thus, despite challenges in life there is room for appreciation of the omens that come in times of challenges as they reduce the negation of our efforts to our goals (Expert Book Previews).

When Santiago meets the Alchemist, different events occur that illustrate that ‘life meets life’. The horse walks towards the desert that may seem not to have life but possesses a snake. Our Personal Legend in this instance is hidden in places where we less expect thus we should allow different omens to guide us. Nevertheless, the importance of the eliminating our fear arises when the Alchemist captures the snake by drawing a circle around it. It is so simple to the Alchemist by Santiago is amazed. In relation to this, it is possible to learn that the events in our life define how long we experience the benefits of our Personal Legend. These events shape our experience that determines how consistent we deal with challenges that improves our life expectancy. These enable us to appreciate what we meet example for Santiago leaving his love, Fatima.

The enemy chief captain has allowed the Alchemist and Santiago to stay at their camp until Santiago turns himself to wind. In this case, Paulo Coelho illustrates the importance of understanding one’s Personal Legend that allows him commit to associating with different factors provided by God to save him from danger. In the end, due to Santiago’s perseverance he redeemed himself that motivates the Alchemist to devote himself in ensuring that Santiago meets his Personal Legend. Thereafter, the alchemist introduces Santiago to the Coptic monk who helped him when he was beaten down by the refugees who led him to his treasure at the roots of the sycamore at the old church. At this moment, Santiago remembers to appreciate all that helped him achieve his personal legend including Tarifa the fortune teller and the Melchizedek whose Urim and Thummim is combined with his treasure.


In Conclusion, understanding the omens that come our way is the most important in the pursuit of our personal legend. Moreover, appreciating those that come our way with honesty is key in shaping their association with us that protects us in pursuit of our Personal Legend. It facilitates the transition from one event to another that ensures that the benefits of the treasure can be passed back to those that made it possible to achieve our Personal Legend.

Works Cited

Coelho, Paulo. The Alchemist. New York : HarperCollins, 2006. Print.

Expert Book Previews. The Alchemist: By Pauolo Coelho – A Review. North Charlestown: Createspace Independent Pub, 2014. Online.

Sexton, Adam. Cliffsnotes on coelho’s the alchemist. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010. Print. 

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