Do your standards cover mythological allusions? If so, this is the right place for you! Here, we provide a step-by-step approach to teaching these allusions in the classroom.


First, introduce the concept of an allusion. An allusion is a reference to something else. In literature, allusions are often references to mythology. Allusions can be made to anything- politics, history, pop culture, etc. They can be direct or indirect. A direct allusion is when the author directly references something. An indirect allusion is when the author implies a reference without directly saying it.

An allusion can add depth to a story by providing another layer of meaning. It can also be used to make a point or comment on something without directly stating it. They can be helpful in understanding a text, but they can also be confusing if you’re not familiar with the reference. You can find Greek mythology worksheets on Storyboard That to make the lesson preparation easier and get all the necessary resources. 


Next, provide examples of mythological allusions. These can be found in many classic works of literature, such as The Odyssey and The Iliad. You could also use more modern examples, such as from the Percy Jackson series. Once you’ve provided some examples, have students brainstorm their own examples.

Some examples of mythological allusions are:

  • The Odyssey by Homer: This epic poem tells the story of Odysseus and his journey home from the Trojan War. Along the way, he encounters various obstacles, including the Cyclops and Scylla, and Charybdis. These creatures are all references to Greek mythology.
  • The Iliad by Homer: This epic poem tells the story of the Trojan War and the conflict between Achilles and Hector. The gods play a significant role in the story, as they take sides and interfere in the mortals’ fighting.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan: This series follows the adventures of Percy Jackson, a demigod (half-human, half-god) who must save the world from the evil titan Kronos. Along the way, he encounters many different creatures from Greek mythology, such as Medusa and the Minotaur.


Finally, discuss how to interpret an allusion. Allusions can be interpreted in a number of ways. It’s important to consider the context of the allusion and what the author is trying to say. Allusions can be interpreted literally or figuratively. A literal interpretation means taking the allusion at face value. A figurative interpretation means looking beyond the surface level meaning to find a deeper message.

For example, in The Odyssey, when Odysseus blinds the Cyclops, this could be interpreted literally as an act of violence. However, it could also be interpreted figuratively as a way of Odysseus outsmarting his opponent.

Allusions can add depth and meaning to a text, but they can also be confusing if you’re not familiar with the reference. If you’re not sure what an allusion means, try to look up the reference and see if you can find a deeper meaning.

Lesson Ideas

During the lesson, you can initiate various activities that will help your students better understand and define mythological allusions in the text. Here are some examples:

Research Project

Assign students to research a particular allusion and present their findings to the class. This can be done individually, in pairs, or in small groups.

Allusion Scavenger Hunt

Hide clues around the classroom that will lead students to different allusions. Students can work in pairs or small groups to find them and figure out what they mean.

Allusion Quiz

Test students’ knowledge of allusions with a quiz. This can be done as a class, in groups, or individually.

Context Clues

Provide students with a sentence that contains an allusion. Have them try to figure out what it means using context clues. This can be done individually, in pairs, or in small groups.

Allusion Match-Up

Provide students with a list of allusions. Have them match the allusions up with the correct definitions. This can be done individually, in pairs, or in small groups.

After the lesson, students should be able to:

  • Define mythological allusions
  • Give examples of mythological allusions
  • Interpret an allusion
  • Explain how allusions can add depth and meaning to a text.

These are just a few ideas – there are many other ways you can help students learn about allusions!

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