The Elements of Disguise
The hero in The Scarlet Pimpernel uses a disguise to elude the French, and one question you may want to explore while teaching The Scarlet Pimpernel is the purpose of that concealment. On the one hand, the purpose is obvious -- to stay out of the hands of Chauvelin's henchmen. On the other hand, it takes a special motivation to fight in a mask.
Have your students choose one of the following heroes/villains: Wonder Woman, Batman, Zorro, the Riddler, or the Phantom of the Opera (please feel free to add more to this list if you have some others in mind). Why does that particular hero or villain wear a mask? What is the function of the mask? What elements in that hero/villain's backstory makes a mask necessary?
Now, consider the hero/villain and the Scarlet Pimpernel. Why does the Pimpernel wear a mask? What is he hiding, and why is he hiding it? Note that he even hides his true self from his wife, which is unlike most modern comic book heroes. Why does he do that?
Give each of your students a piece of butcher paper, and provide access to markers and crayons. Have each of them come up with a superhero or villain of their own. They must draw their hero or villain on the butcher paper, and write a two-page backstory explaining where the hero or villain came from.