Classical Mythology
Department of Classics
Monmouth College

Star Wars and Classical Mythology

SCHEDULE of Topics and Activities
Spring Semester 2015



Weekly Writing Assignments Due


Quiz Day

1 Jan. 13
Course Introductions and What is Myth?

Star Wars Scene: IV.1 Opening

Powerpoint: What is Myth?
American Heritage Dictionary definition
Cullen's "Yet Do I Marvel"

Sisyphus: Odyssey 11.593; Apollodorus Note 147; Pausanias 2.5.1; Diodorus Siculus 6.6.3; Hyginus: #60; Apollodorus 1.9.3
On Myths and Sisyphean Tasks
Star Wars: The Magic of Myth, 1-7
Star Wars V.31 "There is No Try";

"Always with you it can't be done."

Jan. 15
Greek Myths and Star Wars in Popular Culture
Greek Mythology Today
Greek Mythology in Popular Culture
Sisyphus in the Modern World

Sisyphus in Popular Culture (Powerpoint)
Cultural Impact of Star Wars
Powerpoint: Star Wars and Popular Culture

Beckman and Star Wars
Star Wars Gangsta Rap
Star Wars Propaganda Posters
Star Wars A Capella
Star Wars According to a Three-Year-Old

Writing Assignment (Jan. 20)
Write a 600 word  comparison of the use of Greek Mythology and Star Wars in Popular Culture.
2 Jan. 20
What is a hero? Achilles and Luke
Some Definitions of "Hero" /
The Hero Packet

Trojan Cycle Summary of Events
Apollodorus Note 111 (Achilles)
Hyginus: #92, 96 and 107 (Achilles)

Padme in Revenge of the Sith:
“There's good in him“ Script 230; chapter 46 “I am your father” script Chapter 46

Luke in Return of the Jedi:
"I sense the good in you” Script 78, chapter 39

Star Wars IV.48 A Hero's Welcome
Star Wars Scene: IV.10 Lars Family Dinner (start at 4:30)
Torched Homestead IV.17
Powerpoint: Achilles and Luke Skywalker

Jan. 22
Folktale Themes in  Greek Myths and Star Wars
Powerpoint: Perseus
Hyginus: 63 (Danae)
Apollodorus 2.4.1-2.4.5

Labyrinth and Rescue of the Princess" in S
tar Wars: The Magic of Myth, pp. 47-56
Star Wars Scenes: IV, 32-34 Rescuing the Princess, Into the Garbage Chute, The Trash Compactor

Writing Assignment (Jan. 27)
Compare and contrast the use of folktales themes in Greek Mythology and Star Wars.

Jan. 27
Mythology and Epic: Homer
Homer and Epic (Genre Section)
Also useful: Iliad (Malhanas) / Chronology / Trojan War / Chronology of Ancient Sources / Odyssey / Peter Struck's CLAS200 Webpage at UPenn
Powerpoint: Epic: Iliad and Star Wars
The Laocoon Group by EmpireStripsBack

Jan. 29
Mythology and Epic: Star Wars
"Funeral of Hector" Hyginus: 106
Iliad 24:692-804

Writing Assignment (Feb. 3)
Explain the epic features of Star Wars

Feb. 3
Comparing Star Wars and the Iliad:
Iliad comparison book by book with Star Wars
Star Wars: Lists of Scenes
Iliad Summary /
Structure of the Iliad
 In what ways are the two similar? How are they different?
Star Wars Scripts:
IV. A New Hope / V. Empire Strikes Back / VI. Return of the Jedi / I. Phantom Menace / II.
Attack of the Clones / III Revenge of the Sith
Star Wars Personality Chart / Myers-Briggs Personality Indicator

Feb. 5
Contests in Mythology and Star Wars
Funeral Games of Patroclus in Homer's Iliad 23 (or Johnston or Butler)
Summary of Funeral Games of Patroclus
Star Wars Scene: I.17 Pod Race

Ben-Hur Chariot Race
Powerpoint: Athletic contests in Homer / Roman Circus and Amphitheatre
Star Wars and Ben Hur

Writing Assignment (due Feb. 10)
Compare and contrast a scene from Star Wars and a scene from the Iliad.

Feb. 10
Divine Machinery in Homer and Star Wars
Greek Pantheon  / The Pantheon  / The Major Gods / Genealogical Tables
Apollodorus 1.1.1-1.4.1 (the gods)
Athena Restrains Achilles (Iliad 1. 187-222)
Athena Mentors Telemachus
(Odyssey 1.)
Size Matters Not

He's Quite Crafty For a Human
They Think I am a God

: Divine Machinery in Greek Myth and Star Wars

Feb. 12
Divine Machinery Cont.

Writing Assignment (due Feb. 17)
Compare and contrast either chariot races or divine machinery in the Iliad and in Star Wars.


Feb. 17
Katabasis in Star Wars?
Vergil's Georgics IV.453-528
Homer's Odyssey 11
tar Wars: The Magic of Myth, pp. 106-113
Star Wars Scenes: III.43-47  "Immolation", "The Emperor Arrives", "Secret Delivery", "Birth and Rebirth" and "Darth Vader Awakes"
The Hero's Return and Homecomings in Myth and Star Wars
Star Wars, 91-95
Powerpoint: Katabasis and Star Wars


Feb. 19
The Hero Pattern in Homer and Star Wars; The Hero's Birth
Lord Raglan's Hero Pattern
Other Hero Patterns
Apollodorus 2.4.8 (Birth of Heracles)
Livy 1 (Birth of Romulus and Remus)
Birth of Luke Skywalker
Powerpoint: Hero Pattern Powerpoint
eroes and Heroines in Greek Mythology and Star Wars

The Hero Pattern applied to Women in Myth, History, and Literature

Hero Cycle of Marie de Medici
Leia and Lord Raglan
tar Wars: The Magic of Myth, pp. 65-67; 158-159
"Penelope to Ulysses" in Ovid's Heroides
Star Wars Scenes: VI, 11-12 On the Sail Barge and The Sarlacc Pit
Powerpoint: Heroines in Greek Myth and Star Wars

  Writing Assignment (due Feb. 24):
Compare and Contrast how Anakin or Luke Skywalker and a Greek hero of your choice, or Leia or Padme and a Greek heroine of your choice, fit Raglan's and one other hero pattern.
7 Feb. 24
The Hero Quest in Mythology and Star Wars
The Hero Quest
Stages in the Heroic Quest
Variations on the Theme of the Heroic Quest
Star Wars: Magic of Myth
tar Wars: The Magic of Myth, pp. 15-46
Star War Scenes: IV/17-18 Torched Homestead and Luke's Decision
Powerpoint: Hero Quest and Star Wars

Feb. 26
Joseph Campbell and Star Wars
"The Power of Myth" (video)
"Joseph Campbell--A Scholar's Life"

"Joseph Campbell's Mythic Journey" by Jonathan Young


Writing Assignment (March 3)
Respond to Joseph Campbell's interpretation of Star Wars. Do you agree or disagree?
8 March 3
George Lucas and Star Wars
Mythology of Star Wars

Star Wars: The Magic of Myth, pp. 7-14
"George Lucas on Joseph Campbell"
"George Lucas Interview"
"How did George Lucas Create Star Wars?

George Lucas bio
"George Lucas in Love"
Mythic Map of Lucas' Life
George Lucas and Frank Coppola
Heinrich Zimmer

March 5
The Feel of the Past in Greek Mythology and Star Wars
tar Wars: The Magic of Myth, pp. 160-202

Cultural and Historical Influences on  Star Wars and Greek Mythology
Star Wars Pp. 123-157
Myths: 1.) Plutarch on Theseus; 2.) Herodotus on Europa ; 3. Thucydides on and the Trojan War; 4.) Vergil on Anchises and Aeneas; 5.) Vergil on Aeneas and Rome

Did Theseus Slay the Minotaur?
Hyginus: 40-43
Theseus and Minotaur
Myth and History

Take Home Exam due on Friday, March 6

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