Joseph Campbell indicates in his story of the hero that myths have been used to reconcile opposites, and he cites such opposites as passion/reason, the conscious/unconscious, spontaneity/rationality. Literature presents myths in different garb and often involves the need to reconcile opposites, or at least indicates the power of opposites in shaping human lives and destinies. The use of opposites in this manner can be seen in Bram Stoker's Dracula and in Emily Brontd's Wuthering Heights.
Campbell indicates that the hero succeeds by being reborn, which can be taken either literally in some myths or as a metaphor for necessary change, for the reconciliation of opposing forces within the hero. The opposing forces of death and life are what are reconciled in the hero:
Everywhere, no matter what the sphere of interest (whether religious, political, or personal), the really creative acts are represented as those deriving from some sort of dying to the world; and what happens in the interval of the hero's nonentity, so that he comes back as one reborn, made great and filled with creative power, mankind is also unanimous in declaring (Campbell 35-36).
The action of the hero has as its effect the revivification of the world through the nurturing act of the hero in reconciling the opposing forces:
The effect of the successful adventure of the hero is the unlocking and release again of the flow of life into the body of the world. The miracle of this flow may be represented in physical terms as a circulation of food substance, dynamically as a streaming of energy, or spiritually as a manifestation of grace (Campbell 40).
Novelists do not necessarily deal so directly with underlying myths and do not necessarily have heroes who are successful. Often, the hero is faced with opposing forces which he or she cannot reconcile. This is the case with the main character in Wuthering Heights, for instance. Bram Stoker in Dracula is d...