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.

Using the steps of the Hero's Journey, students will illustrate the journey of a Greek hero. The example above uses the story of Perseus, but students can even create Hero's Journey storyboards for Hercules, Theseus, Odysseus, Achilles, Jason, or anyone else.

The Legend of Perseus: An Example of the Monomyth Structure

Stage Summary
Ordinary world The story begins on the island of Seriphus, the home of Perseus and his mother, Danae. Polydectes, the king of Seriphus, wishes to marry Danae, and plots to get rid of Perseus, because he may object.
Call to Adventure King Polydectes tricks Perseus into promising to bring back the head of Medusa, one of the dreaded Gorgons. It is an impossible task that will almost certainly get Perseus killed.
Refusal He does not want to leave his mother, but he must keep his promise.
Mentor/Helper Athena and Hermes guide Perseus to the home of the Graeae. The two gods often give him advice along the way.
Crossing the Threshold The pressure of the task forces Perseus to blackmail Graeae into telling him how to find the Hesperides.
Test/Allies/Enemies Perseus' first task is finding The Hesperides. Having done so, they give Perseus a magic bag that can safely carry Medusa's head. Perseus receives several other items from the gods such as Hermes' winged sandals, Hades' helmet of invisibility, and a reflective shield. Athena offers Perseus some knowledge on how to defeat Medusa. Anyone who looks directly at Medusa turns to stone, so Athena tells Perseus to only look at the monster in the reflection of his shield.
Approach When Perseus reaches the Gorgons' lair, he's has reached the point of no return. From here out dangerous and adventure await him.
Ordeal Perseus finds Medusa, and beheads her. Two Gorgons chase him, but Perseus escapes with the help of the helmet of invisibility.
Reward Perseus has Medusa's head.
Road back Perseus flies back home with Medusa's head. (On the way, he rescues a princess from a sea dragon)
Atonement When Perseus arrives home, he confronts King Polydectes, who's been trying to force Danae to marry him. Perseus kills Polydectes, using Medusa's head to turn him into stone.
Return Perseus has saved his mother, and his journey has concluded. He returns the magical items he borrowed, and gives Medusa's head to Athena. All is restored to its rightful state.

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Student Instructions

Use the story of one of the great ancient heroes and map it to the narrative structure of the Hero's Journey. Choose from Hercules, Perseus, Theseus, Odysseus, Achilles, Jason, or other approved hero.

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Depict and describe how the hero'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.

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 6-8

Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)

Type of Assignment Individual, Partner, or Group

Type of Activity: The Hero's Journey

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/8/2] Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to the characters, setting, and plot; provide an objective summary of the text
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/8/5] Compare and contrast the structure of two or more texts and analyze how the differing structure of each text contributes to its meaning and style
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/8/10] By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, at the high end of grades 6–8 text complexity band independently and proficiently


(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.

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