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 from the oasis nearly to the pyramids. The alchemist practices the traditional methods of alchemy, studying metals and the process of turning non-precious metal into gold, but he also shows Santiago how these lessons are applicable to all of life. He teaches the young man that all of creation is interconnected and that he can learn all he needs to know from studying any one thing, and from listening to his heart.

The Alchemist Quotes in The Alchemist

The The Alchemist quotes below are all either spoken by The Alchemist or refer to The Alchemist. 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 numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Harper One edition of The Alchemist published in 2014.
Prologue Quotes

“I weep for Narcissus, but I never noticed that Narcissus was beautiful. I weep because, each time he knelt beside my banks, I could see, in the depths of his eyes, my own beauty reflected.” “What a lovely story,” the alchemist thought.

Related Characters: The Alchemist (speaker), The Lake (speaker), Narcissus
Page Number: 2
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part Two Quotes

“You must understand that love never keeps a man from pursuing his destiny. If he abandons that pursuit, it’s because it wasn’t true love… the love that speaks the Language of the World.”

Related Characters: The Alchemist (speaker), Santiago
Page Number: 12412
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id

“If what one finds is made of pure matter, it will never spoil. And one can always come back. If what you had found was only a moment of light, like the explosion of a star, you would find nothing on your return.” The man was speaking the language of alchemy. But the boy knew that he was referring to Fatima.

Related Characters: The Alchemist (speaker), Santiago, Fatima
Related Symbols: Alchemy
Page Number: 127
Explanation and Analysis:

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“People are afraid to pursue their most important dreams, because they feel that they don’t deserve them, or that they’ll be unable to achieve them. We, their hearts, become fearful just thinking of loved ones who go away forever, or of moments that could have been good but weren’t, or of treasures that might have been found but were forever hidden in the sands. Because, when these things happen, we suffer terribly.”

“My heart is afraid that it will have to suffer,” the boy told the alchemist one

night as they looked up at the moonless sky.

“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself.”

Related Characters: Santiago (speaker), The Alchemist (speaker), Santiago’s Heart (speaker)
Page Number: 134
Explanation and Analysis:

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The Alchemist Character Timeline in The Alchemist

The timeline below shows where the character The Alchemist appears in The Alchemist. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Prologue
Alchemy and the Value of Simplicity Theme Icon
An alchemist reads a short story in a book while traveling with a caravan. The story begins... (full context)
The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
Alchemy and the Value of Simplicity Theme Icon
...could see its own beauty reflected in Narcissus's eyes. “What a lovely story,” says the alchemist. (full context)
Part Two
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
Alchemy and the Value of Simplicity Theme Icon
...of his family's fortune seeking the Philosopher’s Stone, which is the Master Work of all alchemists. Through his research, he learned of a famous alchemist who is said to have discovered... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
Alchemy and the Value of Simplicity Theme Icon
...everybody. He says he is in search of that language, and hopes to find an alchemist in the desert who can teach him more. (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
At the oasis, the alchemist is watching the caravan arrive. All types of new activity stir up dust, and the... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
Maktub and What is Meant to Be Theme Icon
Alchemy and the Value of Simplicity Theme Icon
This time, however, the alchemist knows that in the caravan there is a man to whom he can teach some... (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
...that he's been looking for him. He wants Santiago to help him find where the alchemist lives. The two search for the alchemist, and discover that the oasis is larger than... (full context)
The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
Alchemy and the Value of Simplicity Theme Icon
...and the Englishman says that Santiago, who speaks better Arabic, should ask people about the alchemist. Santiago approaches a woman who has come to the well for water, but the woman... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
Maktub and What is Meant to Be Theme Icon
The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
...not dressed in black like the married woman. Santiago approaches her to ask about the alchemist, and suddenly he feels the life of the Soul of the World. Immediately he realizes... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
Alchemy and the Value of Simplicity Theme Icon
The Unimportance of Death and Fear Theme Icon
...She is not there, but the Englishman is. He tells Santiago that he encountered the alchemist, and told him of his goal. The alchemist then asked him if he had 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
...the man turns his horse away, he points to the south. Santiago has met the alchemist. (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
Maktub and What is Meant to Be Theme Icon
The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
Alchemy and the Value of Simplicity Theme Icon
...that it is a place inhabited by genies. He sits down to wait for the alchemist. The alchemist arrives when the moon is high, with two dead hawks in his hand.... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
Maktub and What is Meant to Be Theme Icon
The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
Alchemy and the Value of Simplicity Theme Icon
Santiago asks the alchemist why he wanted to see him. Because of omens, the alchemist replies. The omens showed... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
Maktub and What is Meant to Be Theme Icon
...he has already found his treasure, which includes the gold he received that day. The alchemist points out that none of that gold is from the pyramids. Santiago says that he... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
Maktub and What is Meant to Be Theme Icon
The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
After they eat, the two sit outside the tent under the brilliant moon. The alchemist tells Santiago to rest well and enjoy himself. He says that Santiago has to find... (full context)
The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
The next night, Santiago arrives at the alchemist’s tent with a horse. The alchemist challenges Santiago to show him where there is life... (full context)
The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
Alchemy and the Value of Simplicity Theme Icon
The Unimportance of Death and Fear Theme Icon
The alchemist searches among the stones and then reaches into a hole. He withdraws with a snake... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
Maktub and What is Meant to Be Theme Icon
The alchemist tells the boy that his ability to find life in the desert was an omen... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
Alchemy and the Value of Simplicity Theme Icon
The Unimportance of Death and Fear Theme Icon
The alchemist tells Santiago that love never prevents a man from actualizing his Personal Legend. If he... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
Maktub and What is Meant to Be Theme Icon
The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
...dream, met a king, worked for a crystal merchant, crossed the desert, and sought an alchemist at a well—and all these things led him to meet Fatima. The two embrace for... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
Maktub and What is Meant to Be Theme Icon
Alchemy and the Value of Simplicity Theme Icon
The alchemist encourages Santiago to not think about what he has left behind, because The Soul of... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
Alchemy and the Value of Simplicity Theme Icon
The alchemist rides in front and his falcon sits on his shoulder. The bird hunts for game... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
Alchemy and the Value of Simplicity Theme Icon
Santiago asks why the alchemist is called "the alchemist,” And the alchemist answers simply that “an alchemist” is what he... (full context)
Alchemy and the Value of Simplicity Theme Icon
As he prepares their dinner that night, the alchemist explains that he learned the procedures of alchemy from his grandfather, who learned from his... (full context)
The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
Alchemy and the Value of Simplicity Theme Icon
The alchemist contradicts Santiago, however, saying that it is not code, but actually information that cannot be... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
The alchemist and Santiago travel for another two days in silence. The alchemist is cautious, because they're... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
The Unimportance of Death and Fear Theme Icon
...heart is agitated and emotional, and keeps him awake at night thinking about Fatima. The alchemist explains these are signs that his heart is alive. Over the next three days, Santiago... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
The Unimportance of Death and Fear Theme Icon
...fearful because they know they will suffer if they do not succeed. Santiago tells the alchemist that his heart is afraid of suffering, and the alchemist responds, “tell your heart that... (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
Santiago tells all of this to the alchemist. The alchemist says Santiago must just continue in the direction of the pyramids, and pay... (full context)
The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
Alchemy and the Value of Simplicity Theme Icon
The Unimportance of Death and Fear Theme Icon
The next day, three armed tribesmen approach Santiago and the alchemist, and ask what they are doing. The alchemist explains that he's hunting. The tribesmen say... (full context)
The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
Alchemy and the Value of Simplicity Theme Icon
The Unimportance of Death and Fear Theme Icon
Santiago is amazed and shocked at the alchemist’s brazen honesty, but the alchemist explains that when you possess great treasures, others rarely believe... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
Maktub and What is Meant to Be Theme Icon
The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
The Unimportance of Death and Fear Theme Icon
...when, if he had continued, he would've passed thieves on the road. Santiago asks the alchemist if one’s heart always helps him. The alchemist says that hearts help when somebody is... (full context)
The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
The Unimportance of Death and Fear Theme Icon
One afternoon Santiago and the alchemist pass an encampment with armed men. Santiago feels that there's no danger, but the alchemist... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
Alchemy and the Value of Simplicity Theme Icon
One day the alchemist announces that they're only two days from the pyramids. Santiago again asks about the alchemist... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
Maktub and What is Meant to Be Theme Icon
The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
Alchemy and the Value of Simplicity Theme Icon
When alchemists were interested only in the gold for the sake of the wealth, they never found... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
Alchemy and the Value of Simplicity Theme Icon
The Unimportance of Death and Fear Theme Icon
The tribesmen take Santiago and the alchemist to their nearby camp. There they meet the enemy chieftain, who believes that they are... (full context)
Alchemy and the Value of Simplicity Theme Icon
The Unimportance of Death and Fear Theme Icon
The enemy chieftain wonders what an alchemist is. The alchemist says that an alchemist understands the forces of nature, and that he... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
Alchemy and the Value of Simplicity Theme Icon
The Unimportance of Death and Fear Theme Icon
Santiago is afraid, but the alchemist tells him to not let the tribesmen see his fear. Santiago exclaims angrily that the... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
Alchemy and the Value of Simplicity Theme Icon
The Unimportance of Death and Fear Theme Icon
...after peace had been reached. At the end of the day, Santiago seeks out the alchemist and explains that he still has no idea how to turn himself into the wind.... (full context)
Maktub and What is Meant to Be Theme Icon
The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
Alchemy and the Value of Simplicity Theme Icon
...help the wind blow, but it can't transform Santiago.The wind begins to blow, and the alchemist smiles. (full context)
Maktub and What is Meant to Be Theme Icon
The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
...have the same soul. The wind says that it listened to Santiago's conversation with the alchemist, but it knows that people cannot turn themselves into wind. (full context)
Maktub and What is Meant to Be Theme Icon
The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
The Unimportance of Death and Fear Theme Icon
...the camp. The tribesmen are afraid of his power, but two people are happy: the alchemist, because Santiago is his ideal student, and the enemy chieftain, because he has witnessed the... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
Alchemy and the Value of Simplicity Theme Icon
...the end of the next day, the small group arrives at a Coptic monastery. The alchemist tells the escorts that they can head back to their camp, and that from this... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
Maktub and What is Meant to Be Theme Icon
As the alchemist works, he and the monk talk about the wars in the desert. The monk feels... (full context)
Maktub and What is Meant to Be Theme Icon
The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
The alchemist gives a quarter of the gold to Santiago, to repay him for the amount that... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
Alchemy and the Value of Simplicity Theme Icon
Before Santiago and the alchemist bid each other farewell, the alchemist tells Santiago a story about dreams. In the story,... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
Maktub and What is Meant to Be Theme Icon
The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
...under my roof, but only speak a word and my servant will be healed.” The alchemist ends his story by saying that everyone on earth plays an important role, even if... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
Maktub and What is Meant to Be Theme Icon
Santiago rides alone through the desert, listening to his heart. The alchemist had told him “where your treasure is there also will be your heart,” but as... (full context)
The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
The Unimportance of Death and Fear Theme Icon
...that he has dug. They search through Santiago's bags, and find the gold that the alchemist gave him. They make Santiago dig, thinking that he has hidden gold in the ground,... (full context)
Epilogue
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
Maktub and What is Meant to Be Theme Icon
The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
Alchemy and the Value of Simplicity Theme Icon
...has a shovel. He thinks of the night in the desert when he and the alchemist sat outside the alchemist’s tent and looked at the stars. He realizes that God has... (full context)
The Pursuit of Your Personal Legend Theme Icon
Maktub and What is Meant to Be Theme Icon
The Interconnectedness of All Things Theme Icon
...He sees that God even prepared for his return journey with the gold that the alchemist left with the monk. Santiago asks God if he couldn't have spared him from the... (full context)