Michael Delahoyde, PhD

Professor of English

Mythology Midterm Exam
Fall 2020

Humanities 103 — Delahoyde
Washington State University




I. IDENTIFICATIONS. [10 questions; total 20 points.]

You know, in what work do we read that God created light? Who is “the great tactician?”: that kind of very brief question. This portion of the midterm exam will be inflicted individually and intracerebrally during the scheduled class period. I will e-mail you the questions (both as e-mail text and as a Word doc) by 11:00am and will expect answers (either format) back by 12:00 noon. So put on your thinking caps instead of your weasel caps.

II. QUOTATIONS. [8 questions; total 40 points.]

Also included in the e-mail will be a combination of identification and, more importantly, significance questions, following quotations from the material of the first half of the semester, extracted for their representativeness of our discussions over the key points these weeks. This is not trivial pursuit. If you read the works and paid attention in class, only a close review of notes is necessary for preparation. My web notes might serve as a useful resource too.

III. TAKE-HOME ESSAY. [Total 40 points.]

DO THIS FIRST. This portion of the exam will also be due on exam day, October 7th, 11:00am. There will be a space on Blackboard for you to upload it by that time or earlier.
Answer the following question thoroughly and precisely, in about three (3) pages, double-spaced. The essay should be a virtuoso piece of brilliance manifested in impressive eloquence, with facile reference to specifics from the mythological texts.

  • What is the most important new message or realization you have received from the mythological materials at any time during the first weeks of the semester? This should be something authentic, not a cheesy cliché or reconfirmation of a predisposed idea. 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 2020 AD.

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.



Identify the character or thing referred to (underlined) in the following.

They lost the Trojan War.



This goddess was chosen “fairest” by a young shepherd.



She had lips by a god’s command
never to be believed or heeded by the Trojans.”



“bitch that I am, vicious, scheming
– horror to freeze the heart! … slut that I am.”



* * * * *


1) List four (4) examples of Trojan stupidity which Virgil may have intended us to overlook, given the sanctity of Roman heritage.

2) “All this I will extend to him if he will end his anger. / Let him submit to me! Only the god of Death / is so relentless…. / Let him bow down to me!”

Identify the speaker and to whom he is referring.
Who leaves the last sentences out of the “official” record?
After the fall of Troy, how does this speaking character die?

3) “Why so desperate? Why so much grief for me?
No man will hurl me down to Death against my fate.
And fate? No one alive has ever escaped it….
it’s born with us the day that we are born.”

Who is speaking to whom?
In what way is this discussion positive and inspiring
rather than grim and doom-filled?