It was the Greeks who first defined the protagonist known as an epic hero. These heroes of a tragedy must evoke in the audience a sense of heroism through legendary, awe-inspiring lore. An epic hero must be a man whose fortune is brought about by his own admired characteristics. Many of the famous Greek Epics, such as The Odyssey and The Iliad, contain these larger-than-life heroes and their deeds. In “The Ill-Made Knight”, Lancelot demonstrates these characteristics throughout his adventures and personal tests.
|ATTRIBUTE||DESCRIPTION||Example from The Once and Future King|
|Noble Birth||Usually a King, Prince, Demi-God, or nobleman of some capacity.||Lancelot is the son of French King Ban of Benwick, a friend and ally of King Arthur.|
|Superhuman Capabilities||The warrior has the potential for greatness based on their attributes.||On the way to England to join Arthur’s Round Table, Lancelot is challenged by a knight dressed in black armor. He challenges young Lancelot to a tilting joust, which Lancelot easily wins. His strength and dexterity are unmatched to any other knight Arthur has seen.|
|Vast Traveler||An epic hero is known for making travels to exotic locations by choice or chance, usually to battle against evil.||In order to get away from the temptation of Guenever, Lancelot agrees to go on many quests in which he encounters evil knights, a girl trapped in boiling water, and the Holy Grail.|
|Unmatched Warrior||This hero typically has a reputation for being a great warrior, even prior to the beginning of the story.||Lancelot is so skilled in battle, that he is able to defeat men in armor with only a sword, and he manages to save Sir Bliant from attack by breaking free of his handcuffs from the cell where he was being kept.|
|Cultural Legend||Before an Epic Hero can be universally known, he must first be a legend in his culture.||Lancelot quickly becomes known as “The Best Knight in the World”, and it is this title that allows him to perform miracles.|
|Humility||The hero performs great deeds for their own sake rather than glory.||Lancelot is constantly at war with himself and believes that he is ill-made on the inside as well as on the outside, eventually going by the name, “Le Chevalier Mal Fet”, or “The Ill-Made Knight”. He never gloats, and feels constant guilt about his affair with Guenever behind Arthur’s back.|
|Battles Supernatural Foes||The opponents and obstacles the hero faces are usually supernatural beings.||Lancelot defeats and thwarts many foes, many of whom have superhuman strength, but he also manages to thwart and escape from the fairie sorceress, Morgan le Fay, who tries to trap him and make him her lover.|
Lesson Enhancement: Have students make a storyboard for each animal Arthur is turned into in “The Sword and the Stone”, and track the important characteristics of a good leader, and the importance of the lesson to his education!
Grade Level 9-12
Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)
Type of Assignment Individual, Partner, or Group
Type of Activity: Epic HeroCommon Core Standards
(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)
Create a storyboard that shows how Lancelot can be considered an epic hero.
(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)
| Proficient |
| Emerging |
| Beginning |
| Try Again |
Characteristics of an Epic Hero
The seven common characteristics of an epic hero are correctly identified and portrayed from the story. The quotes and/or explanations give context to the scene, and are accurate and appropriate to the characteristics being depicted.
5-6 common characteristics of an epic hero are correctly identified and portrayed from the story. The quotes and/or explanations give context to the scene, and are mostly accurate for the characteristics being depicted.
3-4 common characteristics of an epic hero are correctly identified and portrayed from the story. The quotes and/or explanations may be minimal or inaccurate for the characteristics being depicted.
1-2 common characteristics of an epic hero are correctly identified and portrayed from the story. The quotes/and or explanations may be inaccurate, missing, or too limited to score.
The art chosen to depict the scenes are historically appropriate to the work of literature. It is evident that the student spent a lot of time, creativity, and effort into carefully crafting each artistic depiction.
The art chosen to depict the scenes should be historically appropriate, but there may be some liberties taken that distract from the assignment. It is evident that the student stayed on task and put time and effort into crafting each artistic depiction.
Most of the art chosen to depict the scenes are historically appropriate, but there are serious deviations that cause confusion or inaccuracies. The student may not have paid much attention to detail in crafting each depiction, and there may be evidence of rushing or limited effort.
Most of the art chosen to depict the scenes are historically inappropriate, missing, or too limited to score. It is evident that the student did not put a lot of time, effort, and creativity into crafting each artistic depiction.
Ideas and quotes are organized. Displays control of grammar, usage, and mechanics. Shows careful proofreading.
Ideas and quotes are organized. Contains few errors in grammar, usage and mechanics. Shows some proofreading.
Ideas and quotes are organized. Contains errors in grammar, usage and mechanics which interfere with communication. Shows a lack of proofreading.
Contains too many errors in grammar, usage and mechanics; (and/or) errors seriously interfere with communication. Shows a lack of proofreading.
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