Abe Lincoln in Illinois Test | Final Test - Hard

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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. How does Mary Todd describe her part in the break-up of the engagement to Lincoln?

2. How does the playwright describe the appearance of Stephen Douglas as he takes the stage to debate Lincoln?

3. What is the mood of the crowd surging around Lincoln at the railroad station?

4. At the beginning of Act 3, Scene 10, Lincoln is sitting in his parlor with his sons. How many did he have?

5. Who, in Lincoln's headquarters, is the most anxious about the voting returns?

Short Essay Questions

1. As he is leaving Springfield, what is Lincoln's hope regarding his future?

2. 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?

3. Where is Gale taking his family as he meets with Lincoln in Act 2, Scene 7? Why is he going?

4. Mary Todd accepts Lincoln's return in Act 2, Scene 8 without much resistance. She extracts a promise from Lincoln that he'll never leave again, then declares her love for him and her determination "to fight by his side" until death parts them. Does Mary Todd truly love Lincoln or is she using him?

5. In his prayer for Seth Gale's son, Lincoln also prays for something else. What is it?

6. In their debate, Lincoln compares Douglas to a woman watching her husband fight for his life with a bear. When asked by her husband for an encouraging word, the woman says, "Go husband. Go bear." What was Lincoln saying about Douglas in that comparison?

7. 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?

8. A few days after meeting Seth Gale, Abe Lincoln arrives at the home of Mary Todd. She is still single and Abe plans to ask her, again, to marry him. Does the fact that Mary is still single, two years after the broken engagement to Lincoln, indicate anything about her character? Support your answer with your interpretation of the text, both from Act 2, Scene 8 and from earlier episodes in the play.

9. As he waits for the election results, Lincoln calls the evening a "death watch." What are Lincoln's feelings about winning the election?

10. 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?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

The trouble with politics, Lincoln says, is that "you go into politics and you may get elected...And if you get elected, you've got to go to the city. I don't want none of that."

Mentor Graham--and later, local political leaders--talk about Lincoln's fitness for political office, but there is a paradox in Lincoln's personality. What is it about Lincoln that his friends and teachers think makes him a good candidate (use examples from the play)? What is it about his personality that would seem to contradict their view of him?

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

Based on his self-descriptions in the scene set in Springfield with Josh Speed and Bowling Green--"I'm no fighting man," he says--is Lincoln a coward who won't fight for what he believes? How does Lincoln explain his own "cowardice?"

(see the answer keys)

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