Tales from Shakespeare 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. In what city does A Midsummer Night's Dream begin?

2. At the end of As You Like It, whom does the duke's brother meet as he enters the forest to kill him?

3. What does the juice of the purple flower do to people in A Midsummer Night's Dream?

4. In The Tempest, where on the island do Sycorax imprison good spirits?

5. At his castles, what appears before Macbeth directing him to Duncan's chamber?

Short Essay Questions

1. Who does Valentine offer Silvia to Proteus at the end of Two Gentlemen of Verona?

2. How does Oliver try to kill Orlando in As You Like It?

3. How are Hero and Claudio reunited at the end of Much Ado About Nothing?

4. Why is Cordelia banished at the beginning of King Lear?

5. Describe the interaction between Prospero and his enemies on the island at the end of The Tempest.

6. What is Don Pedro's attitude to Beatrice and Benedick at the beginning of Much Ado About Nothing?

7. In The Tempest, how does Prospero bring his enemies to the island?

8. How are Cordelia and Lear reunited?

9. In A Midsummer Night's Dream, how does Oberon change the hearts of the Athenian youths?

10. What is the rift in the spirit room at the beginning of A Midsummer Night's Dream?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In much of Shakespeare's writing, the natural and the supernatural interact, with mysticism coloring and driving the course of human events. Write an essay about three such instances, discussing the function and form of supernatural events:

Part 1) What is the story of A Midsummer Night's Dream before the introduction of the fairy world? How do the fairies affect the human world? Is this effect intentional or incidental to their business? Discuss how the events of this fairy world color the events of the Athenian youths.

Part 2) How does the realm of magic come into play in The Tempest? Who is reacting and fighting against magic, and who is controlling it? Discuss the way magic is used in the narrative as a driver of story. What magical figures are central to this story, and what specific actions do they undertake?

Part 3) What do the witches of Macbeth represent? How are they catalysts for the action, driving human interaction and rash action? Chart their appearances throughout the story. What promises do they make to the main character, and how do these promises prove false in the end?

Essay Topic 2

Tales from Shakespeare translates the plays of William Shakespeare into a series of twenty stories intended for children. In this process, Charles Lamb has kept some of the more adult themes that were present in the plays. Write an essay in three parts dealing with the prevalence of adult themes in the collection:

Part 1) In comedies like The Winter's Tale and Much Ado About Nothing and tragedies like Othello, Shakespeare deals with infidelity and mistrust between lovers. How do these themes manifest themselves? Which characters suffer as a result, and what is learned from this painful experience?

Part 2) In King Lear and Hamlet, in particular, Shakespeare deals with the duty a child owes his or her parents. Discuss the strained relationships at the center of these stories. What sense of neglect or betrayal exists in them? How are these relationships more intense forms of everyday struggles?

Part 3) Shakespeare deals fairly unsparingly with intolerance in The Merchant of Venice and Othello. What types of intolerance are discussed in these stories? Which characters subjugate which? What is learned about this type of racial and religious intolerance over the course of the narrative?

Essay Topic 3

In A Midsummer Night's Dream, Shakespeare famously said the course of true love never did run smooth. Write an essay charting the arc of a particularly tumultuous courtship in one of the stories. What two characters are in love, and what obstacles prevent their complete happiness? How do they respond to these obstacles? Do they over come them or break apart from each other? Through this courtship, what is Shakespeare saying about romance and commitment?

(see the answer keys)

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