The Alchemist

by

Paulo Coelho

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The Alchemist Characters

Santiago

The novel’s protagonist, a young shepherd who sets out on a quest for treasure after an encounter with a wise man named Melchizedek. Santiago learns from Melchizedek that each person has the opportunity to… read analysis of Santiago

The Alchemist

The title character of the story, the alchemist meets Santiago in the oasis where Santiago’s desert caravan stops to avoid the tribal wars. The alchemist is a mentor for Santiago, and he travels with him… read analysis of The Alchemist

Melchizedek (the Old Man)

A wise man who meets Santiago at the beginning of his quest to find his treasure. The fortune-teller has told Santiago of the treasure, but he is not convinced to pursue it until he meets… read analysis of Melchizedek (the Old Man)

Fatima

Santiago’s love interest, Fatima is a woman living in the desert oasis. As a desert woman, she is stoic and steadfast. The love between Santiago and Fatima is help up as ideal –… read analysis of Fatima

The Englishman

a British man who has come to northern Africa in search of the alchemist. He has studied alchemy from books, but he wishes to complete the Master Work—the production of the Philosopher’s Stone and… read analysis of The Englishman
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The Camel Driver

An unnamed camel driver accompanies the desert caravan and shares his life perspective with Santiago. The camel driver lives entirely in the moment, and therefore does not fear death or the possibility of dying… read analysis of The Camel Driver

The Crystal Merchant

When Santiago first arrives in Morocco, he is robbed and at a loss for how to either continue his quest or to return to his homeland. He sees a crystal shop and asks the merchant… read analysis of The Crystal Merchant

The Fortune-teller

A gypsy woman whom Santiago meets at the beginning of the novel. She interprets his recurring dream about the Egyptian Pyramids as a sign that he should travel to that place and seek a great… read analysis of The Fortune-teller

The Thief (the Young Man)

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… read analysis of The Thief (the Young Man)

The Elder Chief of Al-Fayoum

The elder chief is the leader of the tribal people living in the oasis Al-Fayoum. Santiago goes to the chieftains with his vision of a future in which the oasis, a supposed neutral zone, is… read analysis of The Elder Chief of Al-Fayoum

The Enemy Chieftan

As they travel toward the pyramids, Santiago and the alchemist are taken prisoner by a tribe engaged in the desert wars. The alchemist bargains for their lives by asking that they be given three… read analysis of The Enemy Chieftan

The Leader of the Refugees

When Santiago is digging for his treasure near the pyramids, he is approached by a group of refugees from the tribal wars. The men beat him and steal the portion of gold he is… read analysis of The Leader of the Refugees

Santiago’s Heart

Santiago’s heart is given a voice and distinct characteristics as he learns to listen to what it says. His heart is afraid of losing his loved ones and of Santiago not finding his treasure… read analysis of Santiago’s Heart

The Desert

When Santiago and the alchemist are taken prisoner by a hostile tribe, the alchemist barters for their release and uses as leverage the opportunity to see Santiago turn himself into the wind. Santiago then listens… read analysis of The Desert

The Wind

When Santiago and the alchemist are taken prisoner by a hostile tribe, the alchemist barters for their release and uses as leverage the opportunity to see Santiago turn himself into the wind. Santiago then listens… read analysis of The Wind

The Sun

When Santiago and the alchemist are taken prisoner by a hostile tribe, the alchemist barters for their release and uses as leverage the opportunity to see Santiago turn himself into the wind. Santiago then listens… read analysis of The Sun

The Merchant’s Daughter

The daughter of a merchant to whom Santiago sold some sheep. She is the object of Santiago’s affections at the beginning of the novel, and he impresses her with his stories. Although Santiago anticipates… read analysis of The Merchant’s Daughter

Narcissus

Narcissus appears in the brief prologue to the novel, in the context of a story read by the alchemist. As in his original Ancient Greek legend, Narcissus is so in love with his own… read analysis of Narcissus

The Lake

The Lake appears in the brief prologue to the novel, in the context of a story read by the alchemist. In a twist on the original Greek legend, the lake mourns for Narcissus because… read analysis of The Lake
Minor Characters
Santiago’s Father
Santiago’s father wanted him to become a priest, but he respected his son’s dream and gave him gold to buy his flock of sheep, so that Santiago could travel as a shepherd.
The Monk
The alchemist and Santiago part ways near the end of Santiago’s quest, at a monastery in the desert where they are welcomed by a generous monk. The alchemist turns metal into gold in the monk’s kitchen, and gives the monk a portion for his generosity to pilgrims.
The Merchant
Early in the novel, Santiago is contemplating his annual return to a town where he sells some of his sheep. The previous year he sold his sheep to a merchant there, and grew infatuated with the merchant’s daughter while waiting to deal with the man.
The Goddess of the Forest
The goddess of the forest appears in the brief prologue to the novel, in the context of a story read by the alchemist. In the story, the goddess questions the lake about her weeping, and assumes she weeps for the dead Narcissus.