Use Campbell’s notion of the monomyth to interpret the myth of Perseus.
Demonstrate where the stages of the monomyth appear within the story and how they can be interpreted according to Campbell’s understanding of those stages.

The goal of this assignment is for you to continue interpreting myth, rather than simply summarizing or restating it. Your essay must answer the question, “so what?” It should explain what can be learned by relating the given myth to the Monomyth—something that could not have been learned by analyzing the myth by itself.

Your thesis statement will make a clear point about what insights you have discovered by analyzing the myth using Campbell’s concept. Your thesis should not say “this myth fits Campbell’s concept, the Monomyth, in some ways but does not fit it in others.”  Make a conclusion about the myth and its relation to Campbell’s concept based on your analysis. Your essay will support the statement you make in your thesis. The more complex and unique your answer is to the question, the more depth your analysis essay will have. You could, for example, look at how a character that does not seem at first to be a hero might be considered one; you could discover that a character which seemed to be a classical, epic hero is not one; you could discover that Campbell’s concept does not fit a particular epic hero well because of the history or social context of the time period/place that the epic was conceived/written.


  • The concept of the Hero’s Journey or Monomyth, according to Joseph Campbell, must also be used.
  • The chosen myth must be from a print text with page numbers.
  • The essay should not be based on research into the myth, so no sources other than the myth itself and general reference material on Campbell’s concept or such issues as themes or literary elements may be included.
  • Analyze the specific myth, using Campbell’s pattern.
    • In some ways, this is variation on the comparison/contrast paper. You will be comparing the events and sequence of events in the given myth to the pattern of events that Campbell outlines in the Monomyth.
  • The essay must have an introduction, ending with a thesis statement (see above).
  • The essay must have a conclusion that draws the piece to a close and contains your unique observation gained from the analysis.
  • There must be at least three body paragraphs.
  • Each body paragraph must have a topic sentence identifying the topic of the paragraph and relating it to the thesis.
  • The body paragraphs should be arranged so that the goal of comparing the myth to Campbell’s concept is clear:
    • If the three main stages are emphasized, each of three body paragraphs will focus on one of Campbell’s sections—explaining how the myth relates to the sections of Departure, Initiation, and then Return. Each relevant stage (remember that there are 17 stages) should be mentioned within a given paragraph.
    • If the piece will focus on showing limitations in Campbell’s concept, each of the body paragraphs (which might be labeled with a sub-head) might focus on a given area of weakness—explaining why the concept is inadequate for the given myth.
  • Each body paragraph should present sufficient evidence, including brief quotes, summaries, or paraphrases from the given myth to support the topic sentence.
  • No lengthy quotes (in excess of four lines) should be used; quoting should be done only sparingly. No more than 20% of the paper should be made up of quotation.
  • The essay must be formatted in standard MLA style, with no cover page.
  • The myth must be cited in the text (a page number should be given for each paraphrase, summary, or quote). Parenthetical citations must be in MLA style. Any quotations from a reference source, about Campbell’s concept or other concept, must also be cited in MLA style.
  • The myth must be documented in MLA style on a separate Works Cited page at the end. Any other reference sources utilized must also be documented on that page.
  • You can provide a short summary of the myth in the introduction, but you should not summarize the complete myth in your body paragraphs.
  • You can provide a short explanation of Campbell’s concept in the introduction—but there should be no long list of the stages or an extended definition. Assume that the reader understands the basic concept of the Monomyth.
  • The essay must be carefully proofread and largely free of grammar, punctuation, and usage errors. Errors should not distract the reader.

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