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 Much Ado About Nothing, what does Hero do when accused of infidelity?

2. Why do Belarius, Polydore and Cadwal leave Imogen in the woods?

3. Why does Proteus betray Valentine's love of Silvia to the duke in Two Gentlemen of Verona?

4. Who marries Cordelia at the beginning of King Lear?

5. Who does Demetrius marry at the end of A Midsummer Night's Dream?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. How does Lady Macbeth convince Macbeth to kill Duncan?

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

4. Why does Belarius think Imogen is dead in Cymbeline?

5. Why does Claudio think Hero is cheating on him in Much Ado About Nothing?

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

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

8. Why is Posthumus banished at the beginning of Cymbeline?

9. At the end of As You Like It, what happy news arrives concerning the banished duke?

10. Under what circumstances does Lear go mad?

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 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.

Essay Topic 3

In his stories, Shakespeare deals with individuals that hurt and betray their fellow man. These characters have many disparate reasons for doing this. Discuss three such malefactors and their motivations in an essay:

Part 1) Why does Macbeth choose to kill Duncan, his king? What external forces impel him to commit this evil act, and why does he acquiesce to them? Discuss how Macbeth makes progressively more evil choices to protect himself. What is Shakespeare saying about the way evil men are made?

Part 2) What drives Shylock to insist upon a pound of flesh as payment from his rival Antonio? What does his place in Venetian society have to do with this? To what extent does Antonio represent this marginalized place?

Part 3) How is Iago different from the other villains in Shakespeare's stories? What drives him to destroy Othello, Cassio, and Desdemona? Does he hold a grievance against all of them? To what extent does Shakespeare present Iago as a portrait of pure evil?

(see the answer keys)

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