Tolkien Lectures: Midterm

These notes were originally written by Erik Tracey, transcribed to MS Word by Erik Tracey, and HTMLized by Scott Powers. Enjoy!

Midterm Questions for Lit 177 - Tolkien

  1. Who of the following is not one of the Valar?
  2. Who successfully carried the plea for help against Morgoth from Middle-earth to the Valar?
  3. Who created the Silmarils?
  4. Where did the light of the Silmarils come from?
    a)the Stars
    b)the Two Trees
    c)secret Noldor craft
    d)the Sun and Moon
  5. Who did not die in Turin's tale?
  6. Elu Thingol was:
    a)king of the Noldor elves
    b)a chief elf in Valinor
    c)the Dark Elf
    d)king of the Sindar elves
  7. To win the elf-maid Luthien, Beren must:
    a)bring back a Silmaril from the crown of Morgoth
    b)sail a ship to the Land of the Valar
    c)present her with the Nauglamir, the Necklace of the Dwarves
    d)find the secret path to Gondolin
  8. Numenor was drowned when the Numenoreans:
    a)began practicing human sacrifice
    b)set foot upon the Undying Lands
    c)began raiding the coasts of Middle-earth
    d)accepted Sauron as the king's counselor

Answer one of the following:

I. Tolkien's work borrows from a number of different mythic, heroic, and religious traditions. Give examples, showing how he attempts to interweave the varioius traditions into a coherent whole.
II. Pride and greed appear over and over as the major evils of Tolkien's mythos. Give examples from different stories, showing the similarities and differences, if any, between them. How do these vices in individuals contribute to the overall purposes of Morgoth/Sauron in Tolkien's cosmos?
III. As a devout Catholic steeped in medieval traditions, Tolkien wrestled with the theological question of free will versus predetermination (doom, fate, wyrd). How is this concern reflected in his tales, from the Silmarillion to The Hobbit?
IV. During Tolkien's creation tale, "Ainulindale", Morgoth introduces a dissonant strain, so that good can be corrupted to evil. Eru announces, however, that he has so arranged creation that evil can also be turned to good. Give examples of this interplay of good and evil in Tolkien's work, that is, of instances where good behavior and motivations led to evil results and where evil intentions and acts are actually made good.

This page is maintained by:

Scott Powers
NCSA X Mosaic Lead