Throughout the novel, the Pyramids of Egypt are held in Santiago’s mind as his end goal, as they mark the location of his treasure. Therefore, the pyramids symbolize his Personal Legend. The pyramids are veiled in mystery because of the incredible effort it takes to reach them across the desert, and because they are a stunning feat of engineering and human accomplishment. They also symbolize the difficulty of Santiago’s quest. They seem like a surreal dream, due to their physical distance and awe-inspiring appearance, which hovers before Santiago for months and months. Ultimately the pyramids are not the end point of Santiago’s quest, however, and he must return to a familiar place, the abandoned church, to find his treasure. Therefore, the pyramids come to symbolize all that Santiago experiences along the way toward the end goal of his Legend. The distances he travels, the people he meets, and the lessons he learns on his journey are all a part of his spiritual quest. The pyramids represent the part of his Personal Legend that involves exploring the unknown and the foreign.
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The timeline below shows where the symbol The Pyramids of Egypt appears in The Alchemist. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...sheep, but suddenly she takes Santiago by the hand and they are both transported to the Egyptian Pyramids . Santiago pauses in his telling to see if the fortune-teller knows what the Egyptian... (full context)
Santiago asks Melchizedek where the treasure is. Melchizedek says it is in Egypt near the pyramids, which Santiago already knows. Melchizedek tells him that to find the treasure he will have... (full context)
...of the war between the tribes, it has been impossible to cross the desert toward the Egyptian Pyramids . The alchemist welcomes Santiago into his tent. Santiago looks around for the implements of... (full context)
One day the alchemist announces that they're only two days from the pyramids. Santiago again asks about the alchemist teaching him alchemy. The alchemist replies that Santiago already... (full context)
...this point onward Santiago needs to travel alone for the last three hours toward the pyramids. Santiago thanks the alchemist for teaching him the Language of the World. The alchemist says... (full context)