Maddy Swaim & Nick Johnson
The Thief is only in a very small part of The Alchemist, but it leaves a lasting impact.
The Thief Symbolism
The thief tries to "befriend" Santiago on the way to Egypt in the very beginning of the book. However it does not take long for the man to fall back into his old ways and steal all of Santiago's money. "The boy wanted to believe that his friend had simply become separated by accident... He was no longer a shepherd, and he had nothing, not even the money to return and start everything over." page 38-39. The thief is not in the story for very long but is very significant. Thieves are brought up throughout the entire story. It represents many things in the story. The thief represents everyone who has tried to take a shortcut while pursuing their "Personal Legend". The Alchemist himself says "The journey is necessary", page 154.
The thief tries to take things that are not his in order to speed up The Hero's Journey. There is no way to speed up the journey, which Santiago learns throughout the book. This is why the thief is so significant throughout the entire book. Santiago also learns not to trust everyone because of how the thief treated him. The thief enhances the book because Santiago learns important lessons about life, and even the Hero's Journey. The thief shows another path that Santiago could have taken on his journey to Egypt. If the thief had not come along the book might have been a lot different which is why the thief enhances the story so much.
Real World Connections
Video Games: The Thief represents anyone who tries to take a shortcut while following their personal legend. In certain video games, there are cheat codes or certain things you can do to get you to the end faster than what you planned. However in most games, when you try to take the short cut, you end up finishing slower than you normally would.
Driving: If you have ever been on a trip where it is a long drive, you would know how annoying it is. Most people would want to take a short cut to get it over with sooner, but taking a short cut doesn't mean you always get there faster. Sometimes you get lost when you take the short cut. The thief can connect to driving because of the way that people take short cuts while trying to find their Personal Legend.
Aladdin: Aladdin is a thief, but he meets Jasmine and pretends that he is a prince. Aladdin tried to take a short cut to dating Jasmine by acting like someone he wasn't. This relates to The Thief in the Alchemist because Aladdin tried to take a short cut in his Personal Legend just like The Thief in The Alchemist.