The Alchemist

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The Thief (the Young Man) Character Analysis

When Santiago arrives at the city of Tangier in Morocco, he stops at a bar where he meets a young man who speaks Spanish. Santiago wants to pay the young man to serve as a guide to take him to the pyramids, but the young man takes his money and then vanishes in the busy market plaza.

The Thief (the Young Man) Quotes in The Alchemist

The The Alchemist quotes below are all either spoken by The Thief (the Young Man) or refer to The Thief (the Young Man). For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Harper One edition of The Alchemist published in 2014.
Epilogue Quotes

He thought of the many roads he had traveled, and of the strange way God had chosen to show him his treasure. If he hadn’t believed in the significance of recurrent dreams, he would not have met the Gypsy woman, the king, the thief, or…“Well, it’s a long list. But the path was written in the omens, and there was no way I could go wrong,” he said to himself.

Related Characters: Santiago (speaker), Melchizedek (the Old Man), The Fortune-teller, The Thief (the Young Man)
Page Number: 169
Explanation and Analysis:

Santiago finds his treasure at the abandoned church where his story began. Therefore, his treasure was physically near him when he first set off in search of his Personal Legend, and yet, as this quote shows, his treasure was emotionally and experientially distant from him. Although he need not have traveled great distances to find his treasure, it's clear that he needed to travel through experiences and grow as a person to receive his treasure. Santiago thinks of the places he has visited, the people he has met, and the experiences he has had along the way. These would not be part of his life without the roundabout pathway by which he arrived at his treasure. 

Santiago points out that he took the path he did because of the omens from God, who clearly intended him to travel and have the experiences that he had. As Coelho makes clear, it's not only the end result of achieving one's Personal Legend that matters, but the process of following omens and learning along the way. This is a key passage because it shows that Santiago's Personal Legend is not simply to find treasure, which is something that can be measured by material standards--his Personal Legend was to go on a quest toward his treasure through which he grew, learned, and changed. 


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The Thief (the Young Man) Character Timeline in The Alchemist

The timeline below shows where the character The Thief (the Young Man) appears in The Alchemist. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part One
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
The Unimportance of Death and Fear Theme Icon
A young man approaches Santiago and speaks in Spanish. Santiago tells him that he needs to get to... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
The Unimportance of Death and Fear Theme Icon
...walk together through the busy streets of Tangier. Santiago never takes his eyes off the young man , who is holding his money, but suddenly the most beautiful sword he has ever... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
Maktub and What is Meant to Be Theme Icon
The Unimportance of Death and Fear Theme Icon
...of the bar had been angry because he had been trying to tell him the young man was a thief. (full context)