The process of METAMORPHOSIS
The Unwanted Child who Survives
The Wicked Step-mother/Step-envy
The Wicked Uncle
The Rival Brothers
The Curse on a Family
The Curse and the Vendetta
The Son's Responsibilities to his Father
The Son's Search for his Father
The Acquisition of Maturity
The Offense against a God or Goddess and its Consequences
The Unavoidable Truth of the Oracle
The recognition Sign or the Test of Identity
The Gift of the Culture Hero
The Hero's Quest
The Test of the Hero through Perils or Temptation (of irresponsibility, sensuality, violence)
The Search for Immortality/the Conquest of Death/ the Descent to the Underworld/ the Harrowing of Hell
Finding what is lost
Freeing the Oppressed
The Man who Returns
The Hero's Betrayal of the Princess
Rescue of the Princess
Rescue by the Heroine (Women to the Rescue)
A Woman's Web
A Woman's Wit
The Revenge of the Woman Scorned
The Danger of the Feminine
Civilization versus Chaos--Justice vs. Injustice--Love vs. Hate
The Suitor Contest
The Theft of the Bride
The Deathly Wedding or the Fatal Marriage
The Foundation Legend
The Symbol upon which a Life Depends (Life Token)
The Symbol upon which a City's Safety Depends
The Unwanted or Unlucky Gift
The Magical garment
The Fatal Choice
The Never-ending Punishment
The Impossible Task
The "Happily-ever-after" Ending
Divine hostility/ Divine favor
The Magic Spell or Charm
The Hero's Loss of favor with his People and/or the Gods
Mysterious Death of the Hero
Apotheosis of the Hero (Deification)
Ingenious Device or Trick
Disobedient Child or Spouse
Harmful Curiosity
The Solution of a riddle
The breaking of a taboo/disobedience to divine instructions
The skilled craftsman or possessor of a special talent
Intelligence versus Brute Strength
The Accidental Murder of a near relative

Professor Tom Sienkewicz has used this hand-out in his mythology classes for many years, first at Howard University in Washington, D.C., and, presently, at Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois. If you have comments or suggestions about this material, you may contact Prof. Sienkewicz at

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