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. At the beginning of King Lear, Cordelia says she loves her father to what extent?

2. Which of the following is not a prophecy the witches make at the beginning of Macbeth?

3. Who sends word to Posthumus that Imogen has died?

4. At the beginning of The Winter's Tale, what does Leontes order regarding his new daughter?

5. What head of state is with Antonio on the ship in The Tempest?

Short Essay Questions

1. Under what circumstances does Lear go mad?

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

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

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

5. How are Cordelia and Lear reunited?

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

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Shakespeare's stories can span the range of possible settings: some exist in one day and one location, while others take place over many lands and many years. In an essay, compare the two most extreme examples: The Tempest and Pericles. Which is the more compact of the narrative and which the more expansive? What common plot devises and character types do they share? How does each one end, and how does the setting affect the progression of the plot to this finality?

Essay Topic 2

Many Shakespearean stories involve an individual attempting to subvert a social structure: Macbeth, Othello, Shylock, Hamlet, Katharine. Write an essay about three such characters and discuss how this attempt progresses in the story. Why does this character choose to subvert this system? What does he or she want to achieve, and what subversive actions does he or she take? How does this character end up as a result?

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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