Short Essay Questions Key
1. Why do you think Act 1 is titled "The Dumbshow"?
Because it is comprised of three simultaneous vignettes displayed without speech. Not having speech used to be called being "dumb," so that is probably why it is titled as such.
2. What happens in the first vignette of the Dumbshow and from where do you think this scene is derived?
In the first vignette Othello murders Desdemona in her bedchamber by smothering her with a pillow. It is probably derived from a Shakespeare play named Othello.
3. What happens in the second vignette of the Dumbshow and from where do you think this scene is derived?
In the second vignette of the Dumbshow Romeo lies dead in a crypt as Juliet awakens, mourns, and kills herself with a rapier. This is probably a scene out of Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet.
4. What happens in the third vignette of the Dumbshow?
In the third vignette Constance Ledbelly sits in her office having a telephone conversation which upsets her; she subsequently hangs up the telephone, throws her pen and the leather-bound Gustav Manuscript into the trash and exits her office.
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