Following Dreams: With Special Reference To Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist

June 22, 2022 by Essay Writer

Dreams are aspirations that reflect a human’s wants and desires in life. Living one’s dreams add more meaning to life. It helps to achieve the impossible and helps to know that failure is a part of success. Dedication and hard work are the two things that will shape a person’s destiny. Great personalities, who reached greater heights which the rest of the world never thought of doing, are the real examples of dreamers who brought them to reality. All dreams will come true if men have the courage to pursue them. Dreams without hard work will remain only as dreams. Even A . Gardner says “when you take a step towards your dreams you will be met with fears because you have never traveled this way before. As you go you will discover that you had nothing to fear. Through overcoming fears you give those that follow you hope that if they pursue their dreams, they will achieve their dreams”.This paper brings to light the different aspects of the dream with special reference to Paulo Coelho’s Alchemist.


The novel Alchemist was written in 1988 by Brazilian author Paulo Coelho. It was originally written in Portuguese and the original title is ‘O Alquimista’. It is translated into fifty-six languages. It is in the format of a fable. He uses dialogues, character development, and allusions. The two important events that take place in the life of Santiago change his fortune and help him to find the treasure. The first one is his encounter with the old man who is Melchizedek, king of Salem. The other one is found in the final pages. His encounter with the tribal refugees. They ask him what he is doing in the middle of the desert.

The novel is one of the guides in following one’s dreams. It is the story of a shepherd boy Santiago. His purpose in life was to travel. On the course of the journey, he plans to share his recurrent dream with a Gypsy woman. From here, he comes to know that there is a treasure in the Pyramids of Egypt. Next, he meets an old man who later introduces himself as Melchizedek, King of Salem. He motivates the boy to pursue his dream. Experiencing various hardships like not knowing Arabic and being robbed, brings him to a stage wherein he thought of giving up his dream. The words of the old man “when you want something the entire universe conspires in helping you to achieve it”, the omens he saw, and the art of listening to his heart leads him further. Encounter with the Alchemist helps him to pursue his dream. As he reached the Pyramids, he is happy thinking that his dream has come true, and starts to dig the treasure. Unfortunately, some tribal refugees appear and take away the piece of gold given by the Alchemist. The dream shared by one of them helps Santiago to find the real treasure. He goes back to Andalusia and digs under the sycamore tree where he had the dream for the first time and finds a lot of wealth that is enough for him and Fatima, the girl who asks him to follow his dream of reaching the pyramids and his treasure.

The things that enable a dreamer to achieve his dreams:

1. Ability to live out the dream every day

Santiago was aware of his dream and went in pursuit of it. Whatever he did was directing him towards his goal. Living out dreams makes people more enthusiastic and motivates them to achieve them.

2. Making choices

Santiago had before him his sheep, the merchant’s daughter, and his dream. He felt comfortable with the things he is accustomed and it was difficult to plunge into the unknown. He chooses the unknown, to follow his dream

3. Faith in God

Paulo Coelho makes use of the biblical references in this novel. The protagonist had faith in God. After selling his sheep and before entering Africa he thought, ‘’If God leads the sheep so well. He will also lead a man.”

4. Staying focused

Ashe journeys through life, he comes across other things more attractive than his dreams. When Santiago worked in a crystal shop he was successful and he could have remained there but he did not. When he met the alchemist, he wanted to try alchemy but the alchemist reminds him that it is not his goal.

5. Being aware of what is happening around

Remaining self-absorbed, will not lead one to one’s destiny. The old king had said to Santiago “always heed the omens”.” One could open a book to any page or look at a person’s hand; one could turn a card or watch the flight of the birds…whatever the thing observed, one could find a connection with his experience of the moment. It was not that those things in themselves revealed anything at all; it was just that people looking at what was occurring around them, could find a means of penetration to the soul of the world.”

6. Living in the present

Living in the present and doing the assigned task is important. Brooding over the past and worrying over the future will lead to miss the grace of the present. The seer had said to the camel driver “how do I guess at the future? Based on the omens of the present. The secret is here in the present”. If proper attention is given to the present span, the future would be better.

7. Listening to the heart

Silence helps to listen close to heart. One afternoon Santiago’s heart was quiet and he slept deeply that night. When he awoke, his heart began to tell him things that come from the soul of the world. Listening to one’s heart and making proper discernment leads to the right path. Bernard Kelvin Clive says.” Your dream is not a democracy listen to your heart, not the masses”.

Barriers to pursuing the dream:

Fear of suffering

Thinking about the challenge and struggles one has to go through keeps him off from pursuing his goal. Alchemist says to Santiago “tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself.”Courage is not the absence of fear but the willingness to walk through the fear in pursuit of a goal that is important.


Attractions and attachments to persons and things never allow a person to move away and face challenges. They feel comfortable with the things they love therefore moving out seems impossible. For Santiago, it was difficult to separate from his sheep and Fatima, but his desire to follow his dream was stronger than his attachments.

Getting accustomed to the routine

Monotony makes men a machine without any enthusiasm and life. Getting accustomed to routine makes one lose the flavor of life. In the novel, there is an example of a crystal merchant who says.” I am already used to the way things are. I don’t want to change anything, because I don’t know how to deal with change. I’m used to the way I am”. Taking risks becomes a burden to those who are accustomed to routine work.

Tendency to give up

Renunciation of dreams occurs in anybody’s life. When things go out of the way and nothing seems to happen as planned. This leads to give up and continue with the past. When Santiago was robbed, he too decided to give up. The old man had said to Santiago that the greatest lie of the world is to believe that at a certain point in one’s own life, fate takes an upper hand which is not easily controlled by man but by destiny.

Negative thoughts

Pessimism or despondency coupled with negativity plays an important role in preventing a person from improving. The reason which the crystal merchant gives when Santiago asked him why he allowed him to clean the crystal is they both need to clean themselves from gloom and doom and only then, he can continue pursuing his dream.


Once all are connected with some kind of higher purpose and sublime target in life, there will be a corresponding release of passion and energy into everybody’s lives. The secret of generating extraordinary levels of passion in life is to discover a larger purpose. Dreams can be realized in so many ways. There is no doubt that as human beings one cannot control all that happens during the course of life. With logic and reason, enormous control could be exercised to a greater extent. Experiences of hardships could be an impediment, still, there will always be lessons to learn, and sometimes these lessons even hurt. The suffering of lives can be reduced by assuming absolute personal responsibility and making wise choices during the hours of days. In this way, it is easy to pursue destiny and have the power to live much happier lives. After accomplishing the best of oneself, it is good to relax and accept whatever comes back as Browning observes in his verse drama Pippa Passes, “God is in His heaven-All is right with the world”.


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