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 King Lear, Edmund is the bastard son of what earl?

2. Which character concocts a devious plot to break up a marriage in Much Ado Ado Nothing?

3. At the beginning of Much Ado About Nothing, where are Don Pedro, Claudio and Benedick returning from?

4. What name does Kent take to follow Lear in disguise?

5. In The Winter's Tale, Polixenes is the king of what kingdom?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does Leontes respond to his new daughter at the beginning of The Winter's Tale?

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

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

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

5. How are Orlando and Oliver reconciled in As You Like It?

6. What is the problem among the young lovers at the beginning of A Midsummer Night's Dream?

7. In The Winter's Tale, how does Paulita convince the king of Bohemia to let her marry his son?

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Shakespeare's comedies involve betrayal and reconciliation between family members and friends. Write an essay about three comedies and discuss how friends and family members betray each other. What compels them to do this? What is the fallout from this betrayal? Discuss what events occur that lead to reconciliation among them? What does this redemption say about the nature of friendship, family and love?

Part 1) The Winter's Tale

Part 2) Two Gentlemen of Verona

Part 3) As You Like It

Essay Topic 2

In Stories from Shakespeare, Charles Lamb includes a couple of narratives that fixate on the notion of money and how its accumulation and loss can destroy a human being. Write a two-part essay discussing both of these stories, and sum up the essay by theorizing as to Shakespeare's attitude toward money in general:

Part 1) What role does wealth and the lack of it play in the plot of Merchant of Venice? What characters are affected - either positively or negatively - by the accumulation of money? Who loses his soul in the struggle for money? Who nearly loses his life and is eventually redeemed by money in the story? How is money an ambiguous force in the story?

Part 2) How does Money prove the downfall of Timon of Athens? Discuss how all of his relationships in the story are defined by wealth. In the end, what does Timon believe is the point of money and man's relationship to it? What is Shakespeare saying about wealth in Timon of Athens?

Essay Topic 3

Tales from Shakespeare contains stories based on Shakespeare's comedies and tragedies. Write a three part essay, discussing the difference between Shakespearean tragedy and comedy, citing specific examples of each in the three sections:

Part 1) What features make a tragedy in Shakespeare? How do they almost always end? Discuss which components of narrative are always the same in a tragedy. What type of lesson does Shakespeare intend for the writer to take away from the experience? How does he impart these themes?

Part 2) How does a comedy progress? What is the traditional ending to a Shakespearean comedy? Discuss how a comedy develops differently from a tragedy, and what it relates about humanity. What parts of the human existence does Shakespeare omit in writing a comedy?

Part 3) Compare the experience of reading a comedy and tragedy? How do protagonists in each of these differ in terms of their objectives and dynamic nature? Discuss what the reader is supposed to sympathize with in each case.

(see the answer keys)

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