Michael Delahoyde, PhD

Professor of English

Mythology Midterm Exam
Fall 2022

Humanities 103 — Delahoyde
Washington State University




I. IDENTIFICATIONS. [15 questions; total 30 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 on October 5th 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 30 points.]

DO THIS FIRST. This portion of the exam will also be due on exam day, October 5th, 11:00am. There will be a space in Canvas discussion for you to upload it by that time or earlier.
Answer the following question thoroughly and precisely, in a minimum of 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 text(s).

  • Select a character from the Trojan War epic and explain with insightful detail why you identify with that character and his or her experience. (Don’t neglect to consider less obvious, and therefore potentially more interesting, choices: Nestor, Polydamas, Cassandra, Hera, Andromache, Achilles’ horse, etc.). Consider this character’s interactions with at least one other less admirable character to help illuminate why you feel the affinity to the one you have chosen.

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.



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



The sturdy animal that carries
the world, a “floating island,”
on its back, in Iroquoi myth.



“Let’s lose ourselves in love! / Never
has longing for you overwhelmed
me so.”



“She alone failed her … child, her husband.
Out of my mind, whom did I not accuse?”



The meaning of the word teichoskopia.



* * * * *


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) “In the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, …
then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils.”

Give two precise reasons (from within this quotation) for
identifying this text as a “second account” of the creation.

4) “Now, at last, let us turn our thoughts to supper. / Even Niobe with her lustrous hair remembered food….”

Who is speaking to whom?
Why it a surprise that this character is offering this advice?
And why is this significant in terms of the uses of mythology?

5) “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?