Odysseus Hero's Journey Using Joseph Campbell's Monomyth
Lesson Plan Reference
Grade Level 9-10
Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)
Type of Assignment Individual or Partner
Type of Activity: The Hero's JourneyCommon Core Standards
- [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/3] Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme
- [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/5] Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure a text, order events within it (e.g., parallel plots), and manipulate time (e.g., pacing, flashbacks) create such effects as mystery, tension, or surprise
- [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/6] Analyze a particular point of view or cultural experience reflected in a work of literature from outside the United States, drawing on a wide reading of world literature
Related to both plot diagram and types of literary conflict, the "Hero’s Journey" is a recurring pattern of stages many heroes undergo over the course of their stories. Joseph Campbell, an American mythologist, writer, and lecturer, articulated this cycle after researching and reviewing numerous myths and stories from a variety of time periods and regions of the world. He found that they all share fundamental principles. This spawned the Hero’s Journey, also known as the Monomyth. The most fundamental version has 12 steps, while more detailed versions can have up to 17.
Odysseus Hero's Journey Example Following the Monomyth Structure
|Ordinary world||King Odysseus is at home, in Ithaca, with his wife, Penelope, and newborn son, Telemachus.|
|Call to Adventure||He sets out for a battle at Troy|
|Refusal||He does not want to leave his family and sail to Troy; he knows it will be a long trip.|
|Mentor/Helper||Athena, the goddess of wisdom, crafts, and war, is his guide. She wants to help Odysseus, though she has been instructed not to. She takes pity on him while other gods forsake the hero, continually saves him from death, and gives him guidance.|
|Cross the Threshold||After the war, the gods become angry with the Greeks for their prideful ways. A great storm emerges and throws them off course.|
|Test/Allies/Enemies||Odysseus is thwarted with many tests as he travels back to Ithaca:
|Approach||Odysseus nearly makes it home, but his crew opens a bag, given to him by Aeolus, god of the winds When the bag is opened, it releases a wind that blows them far away from Ithaca.|
|Ordeal||He travels to the underworld seeking information to guide him home. This quest brings him to the verge of death.|
|Reward||The King of Phaeacia gives Odysseus passage home.|
|Road back||Unlike other heroes, Odysseus was not in search of treasure. Instead, he was desperately trying to reach his home. Once he returns, he finds out that his house has been overrun with suitors attempting to steal his wife and palace.|
|Atonement||Instead of rushing in and killing the suitors, Odysseus is patient. He wishes to learn if his wife has been faithful. With the help of his son and a loyal swineherd, he devises a plan. Athena disguises him as an old beggar so that he can enter his house undetected. Telemachus steals all the suitors’ weapons, and a final test is proposed. Penelope will marry the man who strings Odysseus' bow and shoots an arrow through a line of small circles; a seemingly impossible task.|
|Return||Odysseus, still dressed as a beggar, completes the task and is restored to his original state. He and his son expel the suitors from their home by force. Penelope, seeing how her husband has changed, tests him to make sure it is actually him. She tells him she moved their bed. He replies, correctly, that this would have been impossible, and all is returned to normal.|
(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)
Use the story of The Odyssey and map it to the narrative structure of the Hero's Journey.
- Click "Use this Template" from the assignment.
- Depict and describe how the chosen character's story fits (or does not fit ) into each of the stages of the Hero's Journey.
- Finalize images, edit, and proofread your work.
- Save and submit the assignment. Make sure to use the drop-down menu to save it under the assignment title.
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