Epics and the Epic Hero

A WebQuest for 10th and 12th Grade English

Designed by

Dawn A. Poore and Penny Bentley
Avery County High School


Introduction | Task | Process | Evaluation | Conclusion | Credits | Teacher Page


There are many epic heroes in literature.  In this WebQuest, you will be studying either Beowulf or Gilgamesh.  Both of these are epics, so, after you have finished your quest, you will be able to identify the characteristics of an epic.  You will also learn the traits that identify an epic hero and become acquainted with Jung's archetypes and Campbells work on The Hero's Journey.

The Task     

1.  Define "epic," and identify epics from at least five different 
2.  Find a good definition of the epic hero
3.  Find out about archetypes and how an epic hero fits this mold
4.  Identify several epic heroes in literature
5.  Find out about Joseph Campbell's idea about The Hero's Journey.  
6.  Select a hero you have discussed above and prepare a chart
      showing how this hero fits the definition of an epic hero.
7.  Prepare a chart showing how your hero follows his journey
8.  Select either Gilgamesh or Beowulf and, in a well-written
     paper,  show how this hero fulfills Campbell's definition and

The Process
First, you will be assigned to a collaborative group of four.  You will further split into pairs to work on tasks 1 through 4.  
Of the two pairs in each group, pair # 1 will search the following links:


Cooking up Epic Heroes  


Pair # 2 will search the following links:




Get back into your four person group and discuss what you have discovered in your quest.  Discuss this information thoroughly.  Then, working alone, look up the following links which discuss Carl Jung's ideas about archetypes and Joseph Campbell's theory about The Hero's Journey  (tasks 5 and 6).




Then split again into two person groups.  Instead of pairing with the person you were with previously, pair with another person in your group.  Pair # 1 will then prepare a chart as directed in task 6.  Pair # 2 will prepare a chart as directed in task 7.  

At this point, everyone who has done task 6 will assemble to synthesize their work into one chart, while everyone who has done task 7 will do the same.  The final charts will be  collaborative efforts which will be presented to the class.  Please select two or three spokespersons who will be responsible for presenting each chart.  These large charts will be posted after presentation.

Now, using what you have learned from both your webquest, your collaborative discussion, your charts, and your oral presentation, write a well-reasoned essay as outlined in task 8 above.  Be sure to show how your hero fulfills both the definition and Campbell's journey.  This essay should be at least two pages long, typed, double spaced, and have one inch margins all around.  Also be sure to cite any references, using standard MLA form.


Research & Gather Information
Does not collect any information that relates to the topic.
Collects very little information--some relates to the topic.
Collects some basic information--most relates to the topic.
Collects a great deal of information--all relates to the topic.
Share Information
Does not relay any information to teammates.
Relays very little information--some relates to the topic.
Relays some basic information--most relates to the topic.
Relays a great deal of information--all relates to the topic.
Be Punctual
Does not hand in any assignments.
Hands in most assignments late.
Hands in most assignments on time.
Hands in all assignments on time.
Take Responsibility
Fulfill Team Role's Duties
Does not perform any duties of assigned team role.
Performs very little duties.
Performs nearly all duties.
Performs all duties of assigned team role.
Participate in Science Conference
Does not speak during the science conference.
Either gives too little information or information which is irrelevant to topic.
Offers some information--most is relevant.
Offers a fair amount of important information--all is relevant.
Share Equally
Always relys on others to do the work.
Rarely does the assigned work--often needs reminding.
Usually does the assigned work--rarely needs reminding.
Always does the assigned work without having to be reminded.
Value Others' Viewpoints
Listen to Other Teammates
Is always talking--never allows anyone else to speak.
Usually doing most of the talking--rarely allows others to speak.
Listens, but sometimes talks too much.
Listens and speaks a fair amount.
Cooperate with Teammates
Usually argues with teammates.
Sometimes argues.
Rarely argues.
Never argues with teammates.
Make Fair Decisions
Usually wants to have things their way.
Often sides with friends instead of considering all views.
Usually considers all views.
Always helps team to reach a fair decision.
Individual Essay  Novice








Meaning: the extent  to which the response shows sound interpretation and analysis of resources 
No analysis of issues and events. Provides few accurate or relevant facts, examples or details.
Superficial analysis of the issues and events. Includes several facts, examples and details but may also include some inaccurate information.
Complete analysis of the issues and events. Sufficiently uses accurate and relevant facts, examples and details. 
Insightful and complete analysis of the issues and events.
Sensibly uses accurate and relevant facts, examples, and details. 
 20 points
Development: the extent to which ideas are supported with specific and relevant evidence from the resources

No use of facts, examples and details. Any reference to the documents is unclear.
Uses few facts, examples and details from the documents 
The analysis is not well developed.
Includes relevant and accurate facts, details and examples
Some ideas are more fully developed than others.
Always  uses clear, relevant and accurate facts, examples and details to support the analysis
 20 points
Organization: the extent to which the reponse shows direction and coherence


The response does not have appropriate focus or organization.
Basic structure but does not maintain focus. 
Orderly sequence of ideas. Shows a clear plan of organization.
Well developed focus of ideas. Sharp sense of a logical and clear organization.
 20 points
Language Use: the extent to which the response shows an awareness of purpose and audience 
Uses basic vocabulary with little or no awareness of purpose or audience. Show little variety in sentence structure.
Mostly uses vocabulary from the texts. Limited awareness of purpose and audience. Occasionally varies sentence structure.
Shows an awareness and purpose through word choice and varying sentence structure.
Shows an in-depth awareness of purpose and audience through the use of sophisticated language and varying sentence structure.
 20 points
Mechanics: the extent to which the response exhibits knowledge and skills in grammar, spelling and punctuation
Frequent grammar and/or spelling errors make comprehension difficult.
No editing or rewriting is evident.
Errors do not make comprehension difficult.
A few errors when using complex grammar structures.
Very few errors occur.
Evident that time and energy was spent to polish the response.
 20 points


Good for you!  Now you know about epic heroes, Jung's archetypes, and Campbell's Hero's Journey.  You can use this information for much of the literature we will read this year.  As you discovered with the links to The Hero's Journey, you can also use this template to follow the heroes of many of your favorite movies, such as Star Wars or The Last of the Mohicans.  This is a good thing to know, isn't it?   

Credits & References

Thanks to the sites on the web who shared with us the above links.

Last updated on August 15, 1999. Based on a template from The WebQuest Page