Read the below lecture, resources, and assignment requirements at end.

The Heroic Journey

Psychological and Cultural Meanings of Myths

This week you explore the heroic journey of Hercules with awareness of the psychological AND cultural contexts of quest myths.

For the psychological context, you identify stages of the Herculean quest according to a storytelling pattern that Joseph Campbell called the mono-myth. Mono is a prefix taken from the Greek mónos, meaning one, single, alone. Thus, the term mono-myth indicates that across cultures various heroic figures in stories of The Quest follow a similar pattern–similar because it is built into the psyche of human beings.

For the cultural context, you will compare several versions of the Hercules myth to find connections between storytelling and cultural values. Thus, in spite of Campbell’s idea that a heroic journey shows the same elements across cultures, you will see that cultural context shapes the telling of a story. We will ask ourselves whether cultural context also shapes the meaning of the various common stages of the heroic quest.

The Week Five discussion is based on these Learning Resources:

Joseph Campbell interviews [3 videos: Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth…, Mythology of the Trickster , The Monomyth

Video links:

Stages of the Hero’s Journey [text of Chris Vogel’s Foreword to Myth & the Movies]’s%20Jour…; Hercules: The Spiritual Emphasis in Euripides [James Head’s text]…; and Hercules the Hero [Christine House’s text]….

Chris Vogler’s Foreword to Myth and the Movies in this week’s Learning Resources outlines these stages of the Mono-myth:

The Ordinary World

The Call to Adventure

Refusal of the Call

Meeting the Mentor

Crossing the Threshold

Tests, Allies, Enemies

Approach to the Inmost Cave

The Ordeal


The Road Back

The Resurrection

Return with the Elixir

Vogler also lists these archetypal characters found in Heroic Journey myths:



Threshold Guardian





Your assignment is as follows: Take ONE of the labors of Hercules listed in “Hercules the Hero” [Christine House’s text] and relate it to all relevant stages of the mono-myth (listed above) and archetypes (listed above). Then compare one aspect of two versions of the Hercules myth in light of the observations of James Head or Christine House, and comment on the significance of any cultural similarities and differences found.

Clearly label and explain your answers. Then respond to the postings of two other students. Your key post should be between 300-400 words long. Each of your two responses should be between 150-200 words long. Initial posts are due by Thursday at 11:30 PM ET (Eastern Standard Time in the USA), and the two substantial responses to fellow classmates are due by the end of the week before the discussion locks on Sunday by 11:30 PM ET.

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