Theseus & The Hero's Journey

This Storyboard That activity is part of the lesson plans for Greek Mythology: Theseus


Theseus Heroic Journey

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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 share 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.

Theseus has a complex story, and the example storyboard only looks at the story of Theseus and the Minotaur. Theseus' life story also follows the Hero's Journey structure from leaving his childhood home to becoming the heir of Aegeus. Consider assigning one Hero's Journey to each half of the class, or do the first Hero's Journey together and the second independently.


Hero's Journey of Theseus

STAGE SUMMARY
Ordinary World Theseus is the son of Aegeus, king of Athens.
Call to Adventure He learns that after a war with Crete, Athens must pay tribute to Minos in Crete by sending young Athenians to be devoured in the Labyrinth every nine years.
Refusal Theseus does not refuse the call. He volunteers to join the Athenian youths who are to go to Crete.
Mentor / Helper His father plays the role of a mentor who worries about Theseus. Aegeas makes him promise he will show his mission was successful by sailing home with white sails.
Crossing the Threshold Our hero leaves Athens and crosses the sea to the island of Crete.
Test / Allies / Enemies Ariadne falls in love with Theseus and decides to help him. At the suggestion of Daedalus, the creator of the Labyrinth, Ariadne provides him with a sword and spool of thread to find his way back through the Labyrinth.
Approach Theseus enters the Labyrinth. He must travel through the complex maze devised by Daedalus.
Ordeal Theseus battles with and slays the Minotaur. He uses the thread to make his way out of the Labyrinth.
Reward Theseus rescues the young Athenians and takes Ariadne on the boat bound for Greece.
Road Back The ship makes a stop at the island of Naxos, and Ariadne is left behind.
Atonement Atonement doesn't fit well with Theseus' story. If anything, this is the opposite of atonement. Theseus forgets to change the sail from black to white to show he had survived. In grief, his father commits suicide.
Return Theseus returns to Athens to find that his father has died. He is now the new king of Athens.


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Template and Class Instructions

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Student Instructions

Use the story of Theseus 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.
  4. Save and submit storyboard to assignment.

TEMPLATE - HERO'S JOURNEY

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