Michael Delahoyde, PhD

Professor of English

Mythology Final Exam
Summer 2021

Summer 2021 — Delahoyde
Washington State University

MYTHOLOGY END-OF-SEMESTER EXAM


BIG DAY: THURSDAY, JULY 29th, 10:30-11:45am.

Your last significant obligations to this course will be an exam and an essay, similar to the midterm. Exam questions and answers 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 (Oedipus and Medea) and Metamorphoses, through Lucrece and the other mythological materials such as love, lycanthropy, red shoes, 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; do not worry about the others.) Here is the plan for the last exam.

I. IDENTIFICATIONS. [Total 30 points = 15 questions, 2 points each.]

On the designated day for this second exam — Thursday, July 29th, at 10:30am — 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 11:45am. You may work in coordinated cooperation with another member or two of the class, in which case only one of you should e-mail back to me with other name(s) designated.

III. ESSAY. [Total 30 points.]

You may have a bit more time for this essay: submit it by Friday, July 30th, by 12:00 noon, as a separate Word document to a designated space on Canvas in Discussions. The essay should be an original and virtuoso piece of 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.

  • What is the most important new message or realization you have received from the mythological materials at any time during the semester? This should be something authentic, not a cheesy cliché or reconfirmation of a predisposed idea. Best if the focus is on a piece of wisdom rather than a browbeaten moral. Explain how the message is cleverly conveyed in its source (or in more than one source), and detail its importance to you and/or to life on this planet in 2021 AD. Why should we be paying attention to this?

No late essays will be accepted, nor is it my responsibility to decode whatever crazy other formats you spring on me. A dark mist will swirl over your eyes and you will go down to the House of Death.

For more advice on writing a sterling essay and avoiding common pitfalls, see here:
Essay Advice.


BIG DAY: THURSDAY, JULY 29th, 10:30-11:45am.
ESSAY DUE: FRIDAY, JULY 30th, 12:00 noon.

 

SAMPLE QUESTIONS

I. Identifications.

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

• The literal meaning of the phrase “deus ex machina.”

• “Though being considered clever I have suffered much.”

• He wrote Oedipus Rex.

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

• Why does Oedipus limp?

• He said, “You are eating your fellow workers.”

• Who killed Actaeon?

• She had serpents for hair and was killed by Perseus.

• Who is the Roman god of wine?

• He “stood in a pool, his chin level with the water, yet he was parched with thirst and found nothing to assuage it.”

• Another word approximately meaning metempsychosis.

• He was Emperor during Ovid’s time.

II. Short Answer.

1) “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 are excluded, according to the textbook.

3) “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 where 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.

4) “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, and what happens to her?
Not solely with her boasting, how did she really offend the goddess?

5) “I feel like life has blown a great big hole through me.”

Where does this quotation come from, or who says this?
Identify two pieces of advice the work gives for when we all feel like this.