The symbolism of "The Alchemist" in The Alchemist

The alchemist is the mentor of Santiago and is an integral part of the story. He is the one who taught Santiago much of what he learned about the Soul of the World and the Language of the World. The alchemist symbolizes a mentor or a teacher in our life or the lives of others.

When Santiago meets the Alchemist

The Alchemist first appears to as a malevolent invader

The horseman pulls a sword from its scabbard and demands, "Who dares to read the meaning of the flight of the hawks?" (

The Alchemist tests Santiago during their first encounter.

“Courage is the quality most essential to understanding the Language of the World.” (117)

The Alchemist is a demonstration of synchronicity in the book.

Without the Alchemist, Santiago wouldn't have been able to fulfill his personal legend.


Many connections can be made from the symbol of the alchemist. Below are just a few examples of more mentors in other famous/well-known works

1. Obi-wan Kenobi from Star Wars

Obi-wan is the mentor for Luke Skywalker and plays a role very similar to the alchemist

2. Gandalf from Lord of the Rings/Hobbit

This great wizard provides many lessons to the hobbits Bilbo and Frodo

3. Haymitch from The Hunger Games

Haymitch coaches Katniss how to survive in a deadly brutal "game"

Significance of the Alchemist

The Alchemist is an important symbol throughout the book because:

  • He teaches Santiago many things that were essential to completing his personal legend
  • Because of synchronicity, his appearance allows Santiago choose the hard decision, and go through the hard journey

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