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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 does Seth Gale suggest might happen if slavery spreads West to new states and territories?
2. Lincoln says he has come to believe something about himself and Mary. What is it?
3. After 18 years of marriage to Lincoln, what is it that Mary Todd is bitter about?
4. How does the playwright describe the appearance of Stephen Douglas as he takes the stage to debate Lincoln?
5. What is Mary Todd's mood when she finds out--at the last minute--that important men are coming to talk to her husband?
Short Essay Questions
1. As he is leaving Springfield, what is Lincoln's hope regarding his future?
2. Lincoln has an outburst of his own, in response to Mary. What are his complaints against her?
3. In Act 2, Scene 7, it has been two years since Lincoln broke off his engagement. He has been drifting since then, but has returned to New Salem in time to meet his old friend, Seth Gale. The Gale family is heading west, to Oregon. Gale has had a hard journey and now his young son is suffering from swamp fever. What does he want from Lincoln at this time?
4. Josh Speed is awaiting Lincoln's visitors, too. He is clearly aware of the tensions between Mary and Abe. How does Speed respond when Mary suggests that Speed, among others, probably thinks of her as a bitter, nagging woman?
5. In Act 3, Scene 9, Stephen Douglas says the question of equal rights for slaves has been legally settled. How was the issue settled and what was the decision?
6. Despite Mary Lincoln's and Josh Speed's entreaties that Lincoln treat his visitors seriously because they are influential, Lincoln can't help but give them a little of his backwood's humor. How does he respond when Henry D. Sturveson says they have come to see if Lincoln will be a suitable candidate?
7. 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?
8. Where is Gale taking his family as he meets with Lincoln in Act 2, Scene 7? Why is he going?
9. 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?
10. 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?
Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:
Essay Topic 1
In their debate, both Lincoln and Stephen Douglas use elaborate metaphors to describe one another--Douglas says Lincoln is adept at inserting a dagger into his opponent's ribs, while Lincoln parries that Douglas keeps 10 daggers in the air at once. Douglas says Lincoln slyly diverts a listener's attention from the real problems of free workers, while Lincoln says Douglas tells an audience whatever it wants to hear. Which man is the more effective speaker, judging from the debate in this play? Support your opinion with examples of both strengths and weaknesses.
Essay Topic 2
The basic form of drama is often defined as a character with a goal, faced with an obstacle to achieving that goal, followed by efforts by the character--helped or hindered by others--to overcome the obstacles and achieve the goal. In the process, the main character often undergoes an emotional or mental change of some sort, or has an insight that allows him/her to succeed. How does the play, Abe Lincoln in Illinois, fit into that skeleton of a dramatic work?
Essay Topic 3
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.
This section contains 1,459 words
(approx. 5 pages at 300 words per page)