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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.
Short Answer Questions
1. What has Mary Todd been doing while Lincoln entertains his guests?
2. What are Lincoln's visitors really looking for in their candidate for President?
3. What is the fear of those assigned to protect Lincoln on his way to Washington?
4. What university does Lincoln's oldest son attend?
5. How many states are there on Election Day, 1860?
Short Essay Questions
1. On Election Day, as the Lincolns wait for voting results, Mary becomes increasingly anxious. Finally, Lincoln suggests she go home to wait. She responds with a surprising outburst. What does she say and why does she feel so strongly?
2. In Act 3, Scene 10, which takes place in the Lincolns' home, it is clear that the Lincolns' marriage is not happy, or at the least, has problems. Thus far, the play has made clear Mary's part in creating problems. In this scene, the playwright uses a cigar to show that Lincoln isn't an innocent victim in the matter of the marriage. How does the cigar reveal one of Lincoln's faults?
3. Until he was elected, Lincoln was clean-shaven. But, as he heads to Washington to take office, he is bearded. Why did he grow a beard?
4. As he waits for the election results, Lincoln calls the evening a "death watch." What are Lincoln's feelings about winning the election?
5. Stephen Douglas takes the position that "each state should mind its own business," says Lincoln in the debate. It might seem like the safer course, he argues, but there is a danger to following that advice. What is the danger that Lincoln foresees?
6. Lincoln tells Mary Todd that his encounter with Seth Gale a few days earlier was the spur that brought him to her door. What was the decision Lincoln made while visiting with Gale and how does the playwright convey Lincoln's ambivalence about that decision?
7. Lincoln, says Douglas in the debate, is stirring up rebellion against authority. What is the danger that Douglas foresees? And what is the solution he proposes?
8. Almost at the moment he learns of his election, Lincoln's life changes in a way he doesn't like. In the play, who or want is the sign of this change? And which of the play's themes does this change fit into?
9. What is the effect on Lincoln of Gale's idealism, his vow to denounce his American citizenship if the government doesn't ban slavery?
10. While Lincoln asserts that he submits to the will of God, he doesn't belong to any church. What are his objections to organized forms of worship?
Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:
Essay Topic 1
In Springfield, Lincoln has a law practice and a reputation as a powerful speaker. He has been invited to address the Elijah P. Lovejoy League of Freeman on the subject of abolition. Lincoln has been shocked by the sight of chained slaves being taken to market, but he refuses to give a speech to the League. Using examples from the play, explain this apparent contradiction.
Essay Topic 2
How does the John Keats poem, "On Death," which Lincoln reads at the end of Scene 1, reflect his personality or philosophy? What does the poem say about life and why does Lincoln seem to agree with it? Does his reaction to Ann Rutledge--later, when she says she can envision falling in love with him--signal a change in his outlook from his initial reaction to the poem?
Essay Topic 3
While discussing his political philosophy with those who want him to run for office, Lincoln tells them he is "conservative, all right. If I got into the legislature, you'd never catch me starting any movements for reform or progress." Is the playwright making an ironic observation by giving Lincoln that line? Explain your thinking, yes or no, using examples from the play.
This section contains 1,400 words
(approx. 5 pages at 300 words per page)