English and Modern Languages
Master of Arts (MA)
Carl C. Curtis
Christianity, Doctor Who, Hero's Journey, Joseph Campbell, Monomyth, Secular Humanism
English Language and Literature | Other Film and Media Studies
Hardy, Sabrina, "Mad Hero in a Box: Christianity, Secular Humanism, and the Monomyth in Doctor Who" (2015). Masters Theses. 372.
Doctor Who is a long-running, incredibly popular work of television science-fiction, with a devoted fanbase across the Western world. Like all science fiction, it deals with the weighty questions posed by the culture around it, particularly in regards to ethics, politics, faith/belief, and the idea of the soul. These concepts are dealt with through the lens of the Secular Humanist ideology held by the showrunners and by many of the people who watch the show; however, in many areas, elements of the Christian worldview seep through. The conflict between these two worldviews has serious ramifications for the show itself, as it prevents the titular main character from being able to be a traditional, identifiable hero and pushes him ever close to the realm of the anti-hero. This thesis uses Joseph Campbell's idea of the monomyth, or universal hero's journey, to provide a framework in which to explore how Christian precepts in the show aid the Doctor in his heroic journey; how Secular Humanist ideologies draw him away from that path; and finally, how the resulting contradictions create an anti-hero who no longer represents the heroic ideal he is supposed to uphold.