Activity Overview

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 shared fundamental principles. This spawned the Hero’s Journey, also known as the Monomyth. The most basic version has 12 steps, while more detailed versions can have up to 17.

After introducing students to the Hero's Journey, they'll be able to spot how Beowulf fits this structure. Students can choose to identify each step as they read, or wait until they've finished the story to apply the monomyth structure to the story. Using a storyboard, they can easily depict the structure, complete with examples!

The template and activity can be scaffolded or tailored based on your student's needs. The template provided has each cell labeled with the name of the step, but you can choose to add additional information, like a list of scenes, a completed cell, or specific examples.

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Activity", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Student Instructions

Use the story of Beowulf and map it to the narrative structure of the Hero's Journey.

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Depict and describe how the chosen character's story fits (or does not fit) into each of the stages of the Hero's Journey.
  3. Finalize images, edit, and proofread your work.

Lesson Plan Reference

Common 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


(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

Heroic Journey Rubric
20 Points
17 Points
13 Points
Try Again
10 Points
  • Stages and steps of the hero's journey are exemplary and applied to the hero clearly, precisely, and correctly.
  • Knowledge and examples of the archetypal hero are evident.
  • Abundant examples are used to support claims.
  • Most stages and steps of the hero's journey are accurately applied to the hero.
  • Strong knowledge of the archetypal hero is apparent, and some traits, but not all, are applied.
  • Many examples are used to support claims.
  • Some stages and steps of the hero's journey are accurately applied to their hero.
  • Some knowledge of the archetypal hero is evident and has been applied, but is not sufficient.
  • Some examples are used to support claims.
  • Stages and steps of the hero's journey are inaccurately applied to their hero, or not enough stages are incorporated.
  • A little knowledge of the archetypal hero is evident.
  • Few to no examples are used to support claims.
  • Organization
  • Stages and steps of the hero's journey are in a logical order
  • Elements are clearly labeled
  • Images are used and convey the idea perfectly
  • Many stages and steps of the hero's journey are in proper order.
  • Most picture panels are accurately labeled.
  • Some images may not be clear or complete representations
  • Some stages or steps of the hero's journey are out of order.
  • Many panels have NOT been labeled with the appropriate element of the journey.
  • Images are missing, unclear, or require explanation.
  • Many stages and steps of the hero's journey are confused or completely out of order.
  • Storyboard pictures have not been labeled with the elements of the journey.
  • Few images are used, or storyboard is disorganized.
  • Visual Elements
    All pictures demonstrate effort, are attention-grabbing, and clearly communicate visually the corresponding element of the hero's journey.
    Many pictures show effort and clearly communicate how an element of the hero's journey is present in the story.
    Some pictures appear rushed, or are uninteresting. Connections to elements of the hero's journey are non-obvious, or unclear.
    Few pictures appear. The storyboard appears rushed, or unfinished. The connections and elements are very unclear.
    There are only minor errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, or usage, if any.
    There are few errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, or usage.
    There are many errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, or usage.
    There are abundant errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, or usage that detract from the work.
    This Storyboard could be used as an exemplary model, and is one of the most outstanding projects produced.
    Creativity is evident, and the finished product is admirable.
    Creativity and effort are lacking. Extra help was needed.
    Creativity and effort are lacking. Extra help was needed.

    How To Apply the Monomyth Structure to Poems


    Introduce Monomyths

    Teachers can first introduce the concept of Monomyths or The Hero’s Journey to the students. They can also ask the students to carry out research in their own time and discuss their findings with the class.


    Identify Different Stages

    After reading and discussing a specific piece of poetry, the teachers can introduce different stages of Monomyths to students and ask them to identify these stages within the poem.


    Use Expressive Language

    Ask the students to use expressive and vivid language to describe the Hero’s Journey and adventure. By using such language, they can convey both the physical and emotional aspects of the journey and make use of perspectives.


    Strengthen Themes

    Make sure the Hero's Journey's stages correspond to the topics you intend to express in the poetry.


    Use Visuals

    Encourage the students to use graphics and visuals for each stage for a better understanding. This can be an interesting activity for the students as they will be able to experience the journey with the hero in a different way.

    Frequently Asked Questions About Beowulf Hero’s Journey

    Who is "Beowulf’s" mentor character?

    The mentor figure in "Beowulf" can be observed in figures like Hrothgar, the knowledgeable and experienced ruler who advises Beowulf during his fights.

    What is "Beowulf’s" threshold crossing?

    When Beowulf departs from his native Geatland and enters the Danes' territory in answer to Hrothgar's cries for assistance, this threshold crossing in "Beowulf" takes place.

    What challenges and tests does Beowulf encounter?

    Battles with Grendel, Grendel's mother, and the dragon are among Beowulf's tribulations. These difficulties put his fortitude, tenacity, and resolve to the test.

    What is Beowulf's reward in the poem "Beowulf"?

    Grendel's arm, Grendel's mother's head, and the dragon's riches are the prizes that Beowulf obtains after winning each of his battles. These prizes stand for his successes and accomplishments.

    What in "Beowulf" is the "Atonement with the Father" stage?

    This scene in "Beowulf" can be seen as Beowulf's battle with the dragon, which stands in for his ultimate test and a return to his warrior origins.

    What happens after the "Return with the Elixir" in "Beowulf"?

    Beowulf defeats the dragon but eventually passes away from his wounds. In the end, his legacy is honored after his return to the Geatland with the dragon's riches and the knowledge of his valiant deeds.

    This Activity is Part of Many Teacher Guides

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