The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is about a young Spanish boy named Santiago who is in search of a treasure .An old king, whose name was Melchizedek or the king of Salem, tells him to sell his sheep to travel to Egypt and introduces the idea of a Personal Legend. Your Personal Legend “is what you have always wanted to accomplish. Everyone, when they are young, knows what their Personal Legend is.”He adds that “when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” This is the core theme of the book.
Along the way, the boy meets an Englishman who has come in search of an Alchemist and continues his travels with him. They travel through the Sahara desert and during his journey, Santiago meets and falls in love with a beautiful Arabian woman named Fatima, who resides with her clan near an oasis. He asks Fatima to marry him, but she says she will only marry him after he completes his journey and finds his treasures. He is perplexed by this, but later learns that true love will not stop nor plead to sacrifice one’s Personal Legend, and if it does, it is not true love.
The boy then encounters a wise alchemist who also teaches him about Personal Legends. He says that people want to find only the treasure of their Personal Legends but not the Personal Legend itself. The boy feels unsure about himself as he listens to the alchemist’s teachings. The alchemist states, “Those who don’t understand their Personal Legends will fail to comprehend their teachings”. It is also stated that treasure is more worthy than gold. The main theme recurs all through the novel, “When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person to realize his dream.”