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This test consists of 5 short answer questions and 1 (of 3) essay topics.
Short Answer Questions
1. Why does Bertram think he is within his rights to propose to Diana in All's Well That Ends Well?
2. Where does Timon go to live after he abandons humanity?
3. What does the jail provost send the Duke in Measure for Measure to ensure Claudio's safety?
4. Who helps Helena plot her deception of Bertram in All's Well That Ends Well?
5. Who does Juliet's father betroth her to?
Essay Topic 1
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 2
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?
Essay Topic 3
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?
This section contains 2,316 words
(approx. 8 pages at 300 words per page)