Activity Overview

Related to both plot diagram and types of literary conflict, the "Hero’s Journey" is a recurring pattern of stages that the hero encounters 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 that the hero faces, while more detailed versions can have up to 17.

Teachers may wish for students to collaborate on this activity which is possible with Storyboard That's Real Time Collaboration feature. This can help cut down on the time it takes to complete the entire storyboard while also helping students to develop communication, self-management and leadership skills. Teachers can enable collaboration for the assignment and students can either choose their partner(s) or have one chosen for them. It is suggested that since the Hero's Journey storyboard is 12 cells, it is best if completed by students in groups of 2, 3 or 4.

Odysseus Hero's Journey Example

Stage Summary
Ordinary world King Odysseus is at home, in Ithaca, with his wife, Penelope, and newborn son, Telemachus.
Call to Adventure Odysseus goes to Troy to fight in the Trojan War.
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:
  • Polyphemus
  • Circones
  • Lotus Eaters
  • Lastrygonians
  • Sirens
  • Scylla & Charybdis
  • Cattle of the Sun God
Approach Odysseus nearly makes it home the first time, 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 upon his return home, 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.

Hero’s Journey Project Examples and More Ideas for The Odyssey

Creating a storyboard that illustrates each of Odysseus’ hero’s journey steps is engaging and creative. However, there are lots of other ways for students to show what they have learned about Odysseus’ monomyth! Check out some of our ideas below:

  • Using the timeline layout, make a timeline of Odysseus’ epic journey. You don’t need to include the 12 stages of the hero’s journey for this activity, but be sure to include events in chronological order.

  • Create a the hero’s journey chart for another character in literature that you have read and compare that journey to Odysseus' journey. Use our blank template as the hero’s journey graphic organizer to help you plan.

  • Make a map of Odysseus’ journey.

  • Using one of Storyboard That’s board game templates, create a game based on Odysseus’ hero’s journey for your classmates to play! Think about the setting of the story and use that as the theme of your game.

  • Using one of Storyboard That’s biography poster templates, create a poster about the story’s hero, Odysseus.

Why Use Storyboard That?

Storyboard That is the perfect tool for novel lesson plans and activities because it's so easy to use and extremely versatile. With Storyboard That, you can create a wide variety of storyboards such as the story from the main character's perspective, or any other character's point of view.

You can also use Storyboard That to create a summary of the book, a movie poster, or analyze themes and events. Plus, our printable worksheets make it easy to take the fun offline.

Why is Storyboarding a Great Method of Teaching?

Storyboarding is an incredibly powerful tool for educators because it helps students process and understand the information in a deep, meaningful way. When students storyboard, they are actively engaged in the learning process and can make connections between the text and their own lives.

Storyboards also promote higher-level thinking by encouraging students to synthesize information and think critically about what they have read. Finally, storyboards are a great way to assess student understanding because they provide a visual representation of student learning.

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 The Odyssey and map it to the narrative structure of the Hero's Journey. This can be done in place of The Odyssey plot diagram.

  1. Depict and describe how the chosen character's story fits (or does not fit ) into each of the stages of the Hero's Journey.
  2. 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 Encourage Collaboration in Activities


    Establish Specific Goals and Objectives

    The activity's goal and expected results should be clearly stated. Students are more likely to cooperate to accomplish a shared objective when they are aware of it. Teachers should make sure that all the students agree with the goals but can also manage conflicting opinions.


    Make diverse teams

    Assign students to teams with individuals from various backgrounds, skill sets, and points of view. Diversity can promote a greater interchange of ideas and more creative solutions. Teachers can also give the option to students to form their own teams but with specific guidelines such as including people from different backgrounds so students can be more interested in the activity.


    Organize Brainstorming Sessions

    Arrange for students to openly and without criticism express their thoughts during brainstorming sessions. Encourage them to build on one another's concepts to develop fresh, original answers. Teachers can promote a healthy and collaborative environment through these sessions.


    Set Roles and Responsibilities

    Establish positions for each team so that everyone is aware of their obligations. By doing so, confusion is lessened and unnecessary effort is avoided. However, teachers should provide enough freedom for students to manage and take responsibility for their own actions and decisions.


    Offer Rewards and Incentives

    Take into account providing rewards or incentives for teamwork. This can range from widespread acclaim to material prizes, which can spur the students to cooperate more skillfully.


    Reflect and Learn

    Encourage students to consider the collaborative process after the exercise. What was effective? What could be done better? Utilize these lessons to improve teamwork in future projects.

    Frequently Asked Questions about Odysseus Hero's Journey

    What is the call to adventure in The Odyssey?

    In The Odyssey, Odysseus’ call to adventure is that he is called to fight the Trojans by King Menelaus.

    How does The Odyssey follow the hero’s journey?

    The Odyssey hero’s journey follows the 12 steps perfectly. Odysseus is called to adventure, causing him to leave his hometown, and must conquer many challenges and obstacles during his epic journey. Eventually, he makes his journey home after his supreme ordeal.

    What is the hero’s journey in The Odyssey?

    Odysseus’ journey begins when he is called to fight in the Trojan War. He goes through all 12 stages of the hero’s journey during Homer’s incredible tale of adventure.

    How does Odysseus escape the cyclops cave?

    This was one of the many obstacles that Odysseus’ faced, because the blind Polyphemus felt the backs of all the sheep when they left the cave to make sure the men were not riding on them. To escape and continue his journey back, Odysseus and his men tied themselves underneath the sheep to hide from the cyclops.

    This Activity is Part of Many Teacher Guides

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