Life Is a Dream 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. What lesson does Clotaldo offer for what happens in Segismundo's "dream"?

2. When Rosaura encounters Clotaldo, of what does she speak?

3. Who believes Clotaldo has played him for a fool?

4. Why is Clotaldo torn about helping Rosaura?

5. What could be said of Rosaura by her statements at the end of this scene?

Short Essay Questions

1. What foreshadows a possible positive ending to what could be a bloody civil war?

2. How does Segismundo's treatment of Clotaldo reflect upon his future behavior if he gains the throne?

3. What is happening to Segismundo when this scene opens?

4. Does it seem likely that Segismundo would really believe Clotaldo when Clotaldo tells Segismundo he was just dreaming?

5. What is one of the key ideas of the play that comes up in Act 2, Scene 2?

6. Why is Clarnn cast into prison?

7. Why have the soldiers come to the tower prison?

8. How does Segismundo respond to the soldiers' errand?

9. What transpires at the beginning of this scene?

10. How does Clotaldo's waffling about this issue demonstrate the extent of the patriarchal culture in which he lives?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In Act 3, Scene 1, Segismundo perpetuates an act of clemency to Clotaldo, who has in the service of the king, wronged Segismundo over the years.

1. Do you believe you would have granted Clotaldo clemency had he participated in your imprisonment?

2. Is there a time you have, against the advice of others or your inclination, forgiven someone for a grievous wrong that person committed against you? How did you feel afterward? Were you glad to have forgiven that person?

3. Do acts of clemency from a king or president or ruler serve the greater good? Explain your answer and give an example, either real or hypothetical.

4. Just before leaving office, the president of the United States often grants pardons to numerous felons. Do you believe this power to grant pardons by the president is right? Does it benefit the nation or just the person receiving the pardon?

Essay Topic 2

In Act 2, Scene 1, Segismundo has been transported to the palace while unconscious from the administration of a narcotic. When Estrella arrives, Segismundo attempts to get close enough to her to rape her. In the process, Segismundo flings a servant who is protecting Estrella to his death. Write an essay answering the following questions:

1. Should Segismundo be held accountable for killing the servant? Why or why not?

2. In centuries past, servants were considered less important, and hence less valuable than nobles. Is this an acceptable attitude? Why or why not?

3. Segismundo is only verbally admonished for killing another human being. What would you have ordered to have happened to Segismundo for killing another human being?

4. What would be fair compensation to the servant's family for his death? Explain your answer.

5. Along this same lines, at the end of the play, Segismundo orders a soldier who assisted Segismundo's victory on the battlefield to be cast into prison for the rest of his life for speaking up to his "betters," i.e., the king. History is replete with examples of commoners (and very often nobles) being killed at the whim of the sovereign ruler. Discuss the idea of one person being able to legally decide without trial or any kind of legal recourse, the fate of another. Is this fair?

Essay Topic 3

In Act 2, scene 2, a literary technique takes place called a narrative contrivance. Write a cohesive, coherent essay, answering the following, using detailed examples to illustrate your points.

1. Research and explain what a narrative contrivance is.

2. What is the most obvious narrative contrivance that takes place in this play?

3. Does this narrative contrivance work for you? Why or why not?

4. How might the author of this play used another way to deal with the narrative contrivance you have identified?

(see the answer keys)

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