Classical Mythology
Department of Classics
Monmouth College

SCHEDULE OF Topics and Activities
Fall Semester 2006

Classical Mythology:
Star Wars and the Heroic Journey




Aug. 29

Course Introductions
Question: What is myth and how is "Star Wars" like traditional myth?
(Class responses)

Aug. 31

What is myth?
Definition of Myth (see the American Heritage Dictionary definition)  Also Cullen's "Yet Do I Marvel"; "On Myths and Sisyphean Tasks

Greek Myths in Popular Culture (Powerpoint)
Star Wars Scene: IV.1 Opening Logos

Sept. 5

Star Wars in Popular Culture (Powerpoint)
What is a hero?
Some Definitions of "Hero"
Folktale Themes in  Star Wars
Star Wars: Lists of Scenes
Assignment for Thursday: Write a 250-300 word  comparison of the use of Greek Mythology and Star Wars in Popular Culture
Star Wars Scene: VI.9 Enter the Jedi

Sept. 7

Homer and Star Wars
Peter Struck's CLAS200 Webpage at UPenn / UPenn Myth Dictionary On-Line
/ UPenn Visual Dictionary / Chronology / Trojan War / Odyssey / Funeral of Hector

(Iliad 24:692-804. You can read this electonically in Johnstonís 2006 translation or in Samuel Butlerís 19th-century translation)
Star Wars Scene: VI. 48-49 (Funeral Pyre and Celebration)

Sept. 12

The Divine Machinery in Homer and Star Wars
Greek Pantheon  / The Pantheon  / The Major Gods / Genealogical Tables
Athena Restrains Achilles (Iliad 1. 187-222)
Star Wars Scene: V.5-7 Escape from the Wampa, Closing the Doors and Obi-Wan's Instructions

Sept. 14

The Divine Machinery in Homer and Star Wars cont.
Review of website on a Greek hero due
Star Wars Scene: V.28-29. Jedi Training and Failure at the Cave

Sept. 19

The Hero Pattern in Homer and Star Wars
Lord Raglan's Hero Pattern
Star Wars Scene: I.17 Preparing for the Race

Sept. 21

UNIT QUIZ (ACM meeting)

Sept. 26

The Hero Quest in Homer and Star Wars
The Hero Quest
Stages in the Heroic Quest
Variations on the Theme of the Heroic Quest

Star War Scenes: IV/17-18 Torched Homestead and Luke's Decision

Sept. 28

Heroes and Heroines in Greek Mythology and Star Wars
The Hero Pattern applied to Women in Myth, History, and Literature

Star Wars Scenes: IV, 32-34 Rescuing the Princess, Into the Garbage Chute, The Trash Compactor

Oct. 3

Heroines Cont.

Read Penelope to Ulysses in Ovid's Heroides in Anthology, pp. 306ff.
Star Wars Scenes: VI, 11-12 On the Sail Barge and The Sarlacc Pit

Assignment for Thursday, Oct. 5:
1.) Write a letter from Padme to Anakin or from Thetis to Achilles in the style of Ovid's Heroides   or
2.) write and essay applying the hero pattern to either Padme or Leia (600 word minimum)

Oct. 5

Heroines Cont..
Hero Cycle of Marie de Medici
Read Star Wars pp. 158-159

Star Wars and Classical Mythology
Read Star Wars pp. 19-120
Highlight pp. 64-65 ("Into the Belly of the Beast")
Odysseus and the Cyclops: Odyssey IX
The Odyssey in Art
Butlerís Translation
Star War Scenes: V.27 "This is No Cave"

Oct. 10

Star Wars and Classical Mythology Cont.

Review of Star Wars website due

Star War Scenes: V.28-29 "Jedi Training" and "Failure in the Cave"

Oct. 12

1. Identify 3 out of 4 Greek images and compare to Star Wars.
2. Essay: Compare and contrast heroines in Greek mythology and in Star Wars.

Mid-Course Evaluation due

Oct. 17

Fall Break

Oct. 19

Star Wars and Classical Mythology Cont.:
Creatures Good and Bad

Project Prospectus due
Star Wars Scenes: II.40-41 "The Arena" and "This Party is Over"

Oct. 24

Star Wars and Classical Mythology Cont.

Oct. 26

Monsters Cont.
Chimera, Minotaur, Medusa, Pegasus, Cerberus
Perseus Myth in the Hermitage Museum

Oct. 31

Katabasis: Descents into the Underworld
Odysseus, Heracles, Theseus, Aeneas, Orpheus and Star Wars?
Star Wars Scenes: III.43-47  "Immolation", "The Emperor Arrives", "Secret Delivery", "Birth and Rebirth" and "Darth Vader Awakes"

Nov. 2

"The Power of Myth" (video)
Campbell and Star Wars
Read: "An American Mythology: Why Star Wars Still Matters" by
Steven D. Greydanus; "Move Over, Odysseus, here comes Luke Skywalker" by Steve Persall;  and "Star Wars: A Myth for Our Time" by Andrew Gordon  
Star Wars Scenes: IV.4 "Death Star" and IV.45-47 "Assault on the Death Star", "Trench Runs", and "Use the Force, Luke"

Nov. 7

Campbell and The Hero with a Thousand Faces

Nov. 9

Group reports on Star Wars essays (from Nov. 2). Click here for questions.
"Joseph Campbell" (note charts)
Star Wars Scenes: III.26-28 "Anakin's Fatal Decision," "Mace vs. Sidious," and "Rise Lord Vader"

Nov. 14

Theories of Myth and Star Wars: The Web of Myth

Ways of Interpreting Myths


Nov. 16

Theories of Myth Cont.

Nov. 21

"The Mythology of Star Wars" (video)

Nov. 23 Thanksgiving

Nov. 28

Cultural and Historical Influences on Greek Myth and Star Wars
Read Star Wars Pp. 123-157
Myths: 1.) Plutarch on Theseus; 2.) Thucydides on and the Trojan War; 3.) Vergil on Rome and Aeneas

The Twelve Labors of Heracles
Hercules in Ancient Art

Nov. 30

Read "Did Theseus Slay the Minotaur?" (on reserve in the library

Dec. 5

The Feel of the Past in Greek Mythology and Star Wars
Read Star Wars Pp. 164-202


Dec. 7

George Lucas
Read Star Wars pp. 4-12 and "How did George Lucas Create Star Wars?"
"George Lucas in Love"
(in class video, also available on Google Video)

Dec. 12



Monday, Dec. 18 at 1 P.M.

Final Meeting
Presentations and course evaluation

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