Orpheus Descending Test | Mid-Book 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 is Val fixing with a pocket knife when Carol approaches him in Act 1 Scene 1?

2. What is the name of the county in which the play is set?

3. Where is the play set?

4. Who does Carol say that Val told her he'd gotten the ring from?

5. Why is Val in town?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does Val say about questions and waiting for answers in Act 2?

2. What do the Town Women remark about Jabe to his face? What do they say behind his back?

3. Compare the characters Val and Sheriff Talbott. How are they alike? How are they different?

4. Why does Lady feel disappointed in Val in Act 2 Scene 3? Why does he feel disappointed in her?

5. Where has Carol met Val before? Describe that encounter.

6. How does Lady hear that Val is leaving town? What is her response?

7. What happens at the end of Act 2 Scene 3 with Val and the cash box? How does Lady react?

8. What happens when the Conjure Man appears in the beginning of Act 3 Scene 3?

9. What does Carol describe "jooking" as?

10. What does Carol try to convince Val to help her with? Why?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss how Orpheus Descending retells the legend of the demigod Orpheus. What similarities do the stories share? How do they differ?

Essay Topic 2

Explore the use of Christian imagery and symbolism in the play. What do Val's visions relate to the reader about the action of the play? How does the Christ figure relate to Val?

Essay Topic 3

Orpheus Descending is in part about the place of the artist in society. What role should the artist play? Is the artist always likely to be marginalized, like Val, or misunderstood, like Vee, in a conventional, materialistic society? For what should the artist stand, if anything?

(see the answer keys)

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