Shakespeare Midterm Exam Spring 2020
English 205 — Spring 2020
Washington State University
SHAKESPEARE: MIDTERM EXAM
“THE READINESS IS ALL”
I. IDENTIFICATIONS. [Total 26 points].
You know, maybe match Column A with Column B; or identify who says “I am Christopher Sly”; or fill in the blank: “Kiss me, _____” — that kind of question, only a bit harder, taken from the materials of the first half of the term: The Taming of the Shrew, Julius Caesar, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Lucrece, and other in-class materials. These cates will be inflicted individually and intracerebrally during the scheduled class period, Monday, March 2nd.
II. QUOTATIONS. [Total 50 points].
A combination of identification and, more importantly, significance questions will follow quotations from the three plays and other relevant materials, extracted for their representativeness of our discussions over key points during these first weeks. This is not Trivial Pursuit, and I derive no glee from stumping you; but you do need to recognize key ideas and moments from the plays and from our interactions in class. If you have read the plays closely and paid attention in class, only a close review of notes is necessary for preparation; my web notes may be of use also. Otherwise, woe to thee, gleeking dog-hearted knave.
III. TAKE-HOME ESSAY. [Total 24 points].
DO THIS PART NOW! Answer the following question thoroughly and precisely, perhaps even shrewdly, to at least about three (3) pages, double-spaced. Answers should be virtuoso pieces of brilliance manifested in impressive eloquence, with facile reference to specifics from the Shakespearean texts, rather than just “Words, words, words.” A hard-copy of the essay is due in class on exam day — Monday, March 2nd, 9:10 am — to accompany the other in-class components of the test.
That is, describe your frame of mind about Shakespeare and your expectations about a university Shakespeare course before this semester began (or, if you had taken one already, then before that class). What facet of Shakespeare, emerging since the start of this semester, has changed or modified your prior impression of this field of study, and what is the significance of this experience? Be precise enough to be including specifics and quotations from at least one of our plays. I’m not looking for an early course evaluation here, nor flattery, but rather a reflective moment on the critical thinking component of this portion of your educational experience at WSU while it is, ideally, happening.
For more advice on writing a sterling essay and avoiding common pitfalls, see here: Essay Advice.
The essay is due on exam day to accompany the other in-class components of the test — will ye, nill ye. You’ll be glad you did, for ’tis deeds must win the prize!
Identify the character or thing referred to (underlined) in the following.
“I have had a most rare vision. I have had a dream, past the wit of man to say what dream it was. Man is but an ass, if he go about t’ expound this dream.”
“I am as constant as the northern star.”
“My business asketh haste, and every day I cannot come to woo.”
* * *
* * *
Answer completely but concisely the following.
“Fie, what a foolish duty call you this?”
“I would your duty were as foolish too.
The wisdom of your duty, …
Hath cost me a hundred crowns since supper-time.”
“The more fool you for laying on my duty.”
Name both speakers here, and explain why the money was lost. What is the greater significance (unintended by the speaker) we realize in the final line?
“But in the other’s silence do I see
Maid’s mild behavior and sobriety.
. . .
Hark . . . thou mayst hear Minerva speak.”
Identify the speaker and the play. Name two ways the reference to Minerva applies to the character he sees (one meaning he intends, the other he is unaware of).