Along Siddhartha and Santiago’s quests, they achieve their Personal Legends through experience, an ideal form of learning, that is essential to gain wisdom. From listening to their dreams, Santiago and Siddhartha realize their personal Legends and embark on their journeys to pursue enlightenment. Both characters need experience to help them understand what they desire from life. In the town Tarifa, Santiago is intrigued because in his dream “[a] child stakes] [him] by both hands, [ ] transports [him] to the Egyptian pyramids” and tells him that he will find treasure near the location (Coelho 13).
Therefore, Santiago craves to know if his dream is significant. Without this dream, Santiago would not be able to go to the gypsy who tells him he must go to the Pyramids in Egypt to find a treasure that will make him rich. Santiago “[has] the same dream that night, a week ago, and once again he [awakes] before it [can] [end]” hence, he again experiences the identical dream which leads to his never ending curiosity (Coelho 4). Santiago registers that his dream may have shed some light on a new journey in his future and that there is more to life than peacefully herding sheep.
Likewise, Siddhartha experiences a feeling of incompletion within himself. He feels as if “dreams and a restlessness of the soul come to [himselfs” and is not happy with his current lifestyle (Hesse 5). Siddhartha has everything he has ever wanted, yet he still feels as though he has a bigger purpose in life. Siddhartha “[begins] to feel that the love of his father, mother, and… the love of his friend Govinda, [will] not always make him happy… ” and has a feeling of discontent (Hesse 5). Without this feeling, Siddhartha would not leave his Brahmin life and begin his journey towards enlightenment.
Both protagonists experience an inner desire that pushes them towards their path of attaining Nirvana. Throughout both heroes journeys, Siddhartha and Santiago deal with departing those who are significant to them which helps them learn and maintain their goals. As a result of leaving, Santiago and Siddhartha persevere to their dreams by not letting the people they care most stand in their way. While at the oasis, Santiago does not want to leave his love, Fatima, and decides to give up on his dream of finding the pyramids.
The alchemist discusses with Santiago and says that “Fatima will be unhappy because [she] [will] feel it [is] she who [interrupts] his quest” (Coelho 119). Santiago is reluctant leaving Fatima due to the fact that she is his true love; he comes to a realization that he only has one chance to find his treasure and that the alchemist has a point. Fatima gives Santiago her blessing when she is “[waiting] for a courageous man in search of his treasure” to return back because she has hope (Coelho 123).
Fatima’s blessing allows leaving her to become easier for Santiago because they both understand that he needs to accomplish his purpose in life. Siddhartha also feels as though the rest of his life would be spent with the Samanas because with them, he had felt a sense of peace and fulfillment. Siddhartha changes his mind after hearing of the Buddha named Gotama who spoke great teachings and had already attained Nirvana. Siddhartha “[believes] in [his] heart that [he] [has] already tasted the best fruit of the Buddha’s speech” but he agreed to go meet Buddha because he was interested in what the Buddha had to offer (Hesse 23).
Siddhartha became exhausted with the Samana life every day and also did not become satisfied with himself. Siddhartha discussed the ways of reaching nirvana to the Illustrious One and said “I must judge for myself, I must choose and reject,” with that he was ready to move on with his journey towards enlightenment (Hesse 35). At that point he still wanted more from life and left Govinda behind because his friend wants to learn from the Illustrious One. Santiago and Siddhartha experiences life with other people that helped them continue on their path towards enlightenment.
The final challenges that the heroes encounter are important experiences that help Santiago and Siddhartha attain enlightenment. Santiago is stuck at the military camp with the alchemist, trying to figure out how to turn himself into the wind along with not being killed by the Arab chief. Santiago slowly begins to listen to his heart, even when it disagrees with him and “he [comes] to understand its dodges and tricks, and to [accepts] it as it [is]” because otherwise he will not be able to complete the task (Coelho 129).
Santiago has trouble listening to his heart but the desert helps him believe and his heart tells him many secrets of the desert. Santiago speaks with the desert, the wind, the sun, and “the hand that wrote all,” and learns that “the Soul of the World… was apart of the Soul of God… [and] the Soul of God was his own soul” (Coelho 151-152). After communicating with wind, Santiago realizes that he can succeed in this seemingly impossible task because it is part of his Personal Legend. Similarly, Siddhartha feels the pain of losing his son but understands letting him go is the best choice.
Siddhartha realizes that “the [son] has [ran] away, [and] [he] must follow him” because Siddhartha lost Kamala and does not want to lose his son as well (Hesse 124). Siddhartha comes to a realization that he is just now feeling the pain of his father from before. Finally Siddhartha understands how to listen to the river and learns from the river, “all the voices, goals, yearnings, all [of] the sorrows,  the pleasures, all the good and evil, [and] all of them together was the world” (Hesse 135). The protagonists experiences in their final task helps them attain their goals.