Michael Delahoyde, PhD

Professor of English

Mythology End-of-Semester Exam
Spring 2020

Spring 2020 — Delahoyde
Washington State University

MYTHOLOGY
END-OF-SEMESTER EXAM

 


BIG DAY: FRIDAY, APRIL 24th, 11:10-12:00.

Your last significant obligation to this course will be an exam, questions and answers for which will concern only the works covered from after the midterm exam through the end of the semester: remind yourself by reviewing the syllabus, but that means the Greek plays and Metamorphoses, through Lucrece and the other mythological materials such as love, lycanthropy, red shoes, the Shakespeare authorship, and monsters during these last several weeks. (For streamlined studying, my web pages on Ovid highlight with asterisks the stories and characters you should recognize; otherwise, do not worry about the others.) Here is the plan for the last exam.


I. IDENTIFICATIONS. [Total 20 points = 10 questions, 2 points each.]

On the designated day for this second exam — Friday, April 24th, by 11:10am — you will receive from me an e-mail containing identification questions similar to those on the midterm exam. Attached will be a Word document with the same questions, so that you can type the answers in whichever mode is safest and preferable to you.


II. QUOTATIONS. [Total 40 points = 8 questions, 5 points each.]

The same e-mail/document will contain bigger questions, mostly (but not all) quotation-based: combinations of identification and, more importantly, significance questions based on literary quotations, images, or any other class materials. You should plan to e-mail your completed
exam back to me by 12:00 noon. (Since probably very few of us are used to taking exams remotely like this, to depressurize the time frame note that I have reduced the numbers of questions in both portions.) You may work in coordinated cooperation with one or two other members of the class, in which case only one of you should e-mail back to me with other names designated.


III. ESSAY. [Total 40 points.]

In accordance with traditional WSU policy, you should submit this essay also on Friday with the other portions of the exam as a separate document to a designated space on Blackboard. But, through the generosity and benevolence of me, you are afforded an automatic extension to Monday, April 27th, 12:00 noon. The essay should be an original and virtuoso piece of original brilliance manifested in impressive eloquence, perhaps with facile reference to concepts or even specifics from the class materials (themes, character names, literary moments, even quotations or paraphrases), and amounting to a minimum of three (3) pages, double-spaced.

One of mythology’s purposes is to provide wisdom and guidance for our lives, inclusive of our inevitable crises and triumphs. Thus myths can prompt important self-exploration and serve as compasses for our own human adventures, heroic or subtle. Whether or not “we are our stories,” each of us at least has a personal mythology that explains to ourselves and perhaps to others who we really are. In some cultures, you may have a birth name — the name you were given — and a mythological name — the name you have earned, that captures your true identity.

If only for the purposes of this essay, decide upon and announce your chosen mythological name. (Some past students I came to know as The Wheel, Princess Dancing Feet, Eats-Like-A-Snake, Double-Down, Blue Iguana, Wayward Son, The Time Guy, and Q. I occasionally run into one of these students and know him or her only by the mythological name, and they all still call me Chief Crazy Dog, as it should be.)

Next, create a short myth in story form, literal or metaphoric, that serves to explain your name and identity: your attributes, pursuits, and/or challenges. Be inspired by either Homer, in which case you are probably involved in “the war” of life, or Ovid, in which case your “story” may involve a certain primal energy or deity: love, depression, gender, rage, etc. Or maybe you will find inspiration in some other of our class material. This story does not have to be an archetypal hero’s journey, but the mythological you, or an aspect of you, should be the main character; and the episode, even if fictional or fantastical, should have an authentic center: it should have something to do with an aspect of your life that matters. Any gods, goddesses, characters, obstacles, etc. are welcome as metaphorical representations.

Finally, most importantly, explain. Analyze your own story to make clear to readers the significance of the events or the implications of the narrative: thus, the real reason for the adoption of your mythological name. The best essays will here rise above the merely personal and subjective, and will find ways of contextualizing your own stories amid the goddesses, gods, and heroes; the inevitable human trials and concerns; and the recurring themes of the semester’s materials — displaying an authentic understanding of how mythology is truly about you.



BIG DAY: FRIDAY, APRIL 24th, 11:10-12:00.
ESSAY EXTENSION TO: MONDAY, APRIL 27th, 12:00 noon.

 


SAMPLE QUESTIONS


IDENTIFICATIONS

He was Emperor during Ovid’s time.

He was the first to say that animal food should not be eaten.”

“From the moment I put them on,
I knew I had done something wrong.”

I have no instinct for power, no hunger for it either.
It isn’t royal power I want, but its advantages.”

• What the Myrmidons were
before becoming soldiers.
__________________________________

• Who is the Roman god of wine?

__________________________________

• He wrote Oedipus Rex.

__________________________________

• “He was the first to say that animal
food should not be eaten.”
__________________________________

• The answer to the Sphinx’s riddle.

__________________________________

• “I curse you / And your father. Let
the whole house crash.”
__________________________________

• “In all that woven work of
hers, Pallas Athena could find
no fault.” __________________________________

• He led the Argonauts.
__________________________________

• Ajax debated him for the right
to inherit Achilles’ armor.
__________________________________

• “they’re gonna make her dance
’til her legs fall off.”
__________________________________

• He wrote Medea.
__________________________________

• Another word approximately
meaning metempsychosis.
__________________________________

• He “has ass’s ears.”

__________________________________

• “For that maternal wedding, have
you no fear; for many men ere now
have dreamed as much.” __________________________________

• She had serpents for hair and was
killed by Perseus.
__________________________________
• “From the moment I put them
on, I knew I had done some-
thing wrong.”
__________________________________

• Why does Oedipus limp?

__________________________________
• “I myself, I well remember … the
Trojan War … and my breast once
knew the heavy spear of Menelaus.”
__________________________________

• This person killed Laius.

__________________________________

• “You’re a clever woman,
skilled in many evil arts.”
__________________________________

• Who killed Actaeon?

__________________________________

• What Cadmus ended up as.

__________________________________

• How Narcissus died.
__________________________________
• “Though being considered clever
I have suffered much.”

__________________________________
• “Samian born, but he had fled from Samos,
for he hated tyrants and chose instead
an exile’s lot.”
__________________________________
• “Your children – why, what have they to do
With their father’s wickedness?
Why hate them?”
_________________________________

• Ulysses debated him for the right
to inherit Achilles’ armor.
__________________________________

• How Phaethon died.

_________________________________
• “They died from a disease they
caught from their father.”
__________________________________
• Hermaphroditus’ parents.
__________________________________
• He was Emperor during Ovid’s time.

__________________________________
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II. QUOTATIONS

1) “a Maeonian girl, / Who, she had heard, was boasting of her talent, /
Calling it better even than Minerva’s / In spinning and weaving wool.”

Identify the author.
Who is this girl? What happens to her, and why?

2) “Often previously / Though being considered clever I have suffered
much. / A person of sense ought never to have his children / Brought
up to be more clever than the average.”

Name the character speaking and the author.
How has this character’s cleverness brought about his or her
own suffering?

3) “What is it that walks on four feet and three feet and two feet and … when it walks on most feet, it is weakest.”

Answer this riddle. Who asked it, and who first solved it?
How does the fact that this person did solve it prove to be an example of irony?

2) “For when a man sees some woman fit for love and shaped according to his taste, he begins at once to lust after her in his heart; then the more he thinks about her the more he burns with love…. Presently he begins to think about the fashioning of the woman and to differentiate her limbs.”

What is the work described here, or who wrote it?
Identify four types of people who cannot love,
according to the textbook.

4) “She called the captive women to her, grabbed him, / Dug fingers into his lying eyes, dug out / The eyeballs from their sockets, and kept digging, / In manic fury, with bloody fingers, scooping / The hollows here the eyes had been.”

Who is this character and why is she so vicious?
Name a 16th-century work in which this character is used allegorically.

5) “And since you have reproached me with my blindness, / I say – you have your sight, and do not see / What evils are about you….”

Who wrote this work?
Who is speaking to whom?
How did the speaker get so wise?

6) “No work, in all of Caesar’s great achievement surpassed this greatness….”

What is this “work” of Caesar’s, and why does the author emphasize it?

7) “But you should let an infatuation roll over you like a warm wave at the ocean. Just don’t get immersed in it. A romantic infatuation is like quicksand. It pulls people together until they marry and then gradually the marriage disintegrates.”

8) Identify two bits of evidence supporting for what some prefer to call, and sneer at as, the Looney theory in Shakespeare studies.

9) “His religious and scientific views were, in his opinion, inseparably interconnected. Religiously, he was a believer of metempsychosis. He believed in transmigration or the reincarnation of the soul again and again into the bodies of humans, animals, or vegetables until it became immortal. His ideas of reincarnation were influenced by ancient Greek religion. He claimed that he had lived four lives that he could remember in detail, and, according to Xenophanes, he heard the cry of his dead friend in the bark of a dog.”

Who is being described here?

10) How did each of these characters die?

Jason’s kids –
Ajax –
Orpheus –
Thisbe –
Lucrece –
Icarus
Laius
Medusa
Creon (Jason’s father-in-law)
Marsyas
Itys
The Sphinx of Thebes
Phaethon –
Jason –
Actaeon –
Jocasta –

11) I’ll be borne
The finer part of me, above the stars,
Immortal, and my name shall never die.
Wherever through the lands beneath her sway
The might of Rome extends, my words shall be
Upon the lips of men. If truth at all
Is stablished by poetic prophecy,
My fame shall live to all eternity.

12) As discussed “by ancient Greek physicians, … these primitive concepts of body chemistry have been replaced by more subtle and complex biological theories of personality: … hormones, nerve impulses, and so-called psychotropic drugs.”

13) “I have claws, teeth, fangs, hair … and anguish is my prey at night.”

What is the Greek-based term for the “disease” this person has?
Where does this term originate?
What might be this person’s real problem, since it isn’t drugs?