Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type

Term Paper




School of Unrestricted Education

Primary Advisor

Dr. Grace Veach


There exists a peculiar pattern throughout numerous stories worldwide, which Joseph Campbell christened the ‘monomyth’ in his 1949 work, The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Campbell researched stories from across cultures and used their similarities to determine a pattern that great tales seemed to follow. In this hero’s journey, the protagonist enters a new kind of realm, conquers his enemies, and ventures home with power, knowledge, and probably treasure of some kind. This monomythic pattern consists of seventeen steps, though not all of these steps are necessary, and many of them serve as alternatives to each other.

I propose that the Batman, Iron Man, and Spider-Man characters, as they pertain to the Iron Man, Spider-Man, and Batman Begins movies, fit the monomyth theory. This is shown in the paper through matching up scenes and aspects of the three characters and their movies to various steps of the monomyth.

It is significant to demonstrate that many successful stories fit a particular pattern, because recognizing structure in stories can help one see more beauty in them. This recognition can help audiences to understand, appreciate, and enjoy stories on another level.