Travesties 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. What does Bennett think are the odds against Lenin prevailing in Russia?

2. How does the style of dialogue change as the new characters enter in this section?

3. What is the only driving force of war, according to Tzara?

4. What two colors does Carr theorize that Joyce's smoking jacket might have been?

5. In what country were Joyce and his wife when the war started?

Short Essay Questions

1. What new revelation regarding Bennett is revealed in the final moments of the play?

2. What parts of Henry Carr's story can be definitively believed by the audience?

3. How do Gwendolen and Cecily mishandle their folders in the beginning of the play?

4. What is Lenin's ill-fated plan to leave Switzerland?

5. What is the reason for Cecily's coming to Gwen's house?

6. Describe Joyce's falling out with Carr.

7. Describe Henry Carr as he enters the play.

8. Why does Tzara distrust beauty and reason?

9. What lie does Carr argue is the artist's great achievement?

10. How does Gwen react to Tzara's poem?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Lenin is more object than subject in Travesties. He is a commodity desired and detested severally through the play. Write an essay about his character. The first half of this essay should deal primarily with other characters' attitudes toward him. Why is he lionized by some and feared by others? How does his attempt to depart Switzerland force certain characters into awkward positions? The second half should deal with his personality and soul as described by Nadya. How does Lenin view the world, and how does this view lend itself to the embracing of Marxism?

Essay Topic 2

The play opens with a tableau of the Zurich Library. It includes three tables, inhabited by five characters. Write an essay analyzing this opening tableau as a diagram for the artistic and political debate which is to follow. Who dominates each table? What are these dominant figures doing at the beginning of the play? What major movements of the First World War era are represented by these tables?

Essay Topic 3

Travesties is a homage and subversion of Oscar Wilde's comedy of manners The Importance of Being Earnest. He steals certain characters and scenes outright and transposes them to a different era. Write an essay about the connection between these two plays in three parts:

Part 1) The two love interests in The Importance of Being Earnest are also called Cecily and Gwendolen. They, too, have odd caveats for their love. What conditions do the two women give in this play regarding their hearts and how do they reflect a world in flux?

Part 2) Mistaken identity plays a major role in Wilde's farce like in Stoppard's. Why do characters in Travesties assume false identities? What is the meaning of the switched folders? How do both represent something more political than personal?

Part 3) Earnest is a product of the Victorian Era, an era of certitude and stricture. Travesties transposes this story to the Edwardian era, when certainty died in the trenches. How does Stoppard undermine Wilde's pat farce injecting it with the madness of the First World War?

(see the answer keys)

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