Michael Delahoyde, PhD

Professor of English

Shakespeare Midterm Exam
Spring 2024

English/Humanities 205 — Spring 2024
Washington State University

SHAKESPEARE: MIDTERM EXAM
“A MOST LAMENTABLE COMEDY”


BIG DAY: WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 28th.


 
I. IDENTIFICATIONS. “Tedious and brief?” [15 questions; total 30 points.]

You know, maybe match Column A with Column B; or identify who says “I am Christopher Sly”; or fill in the blank: “Et tu, _____?” — 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, and other in-class materials. These cates will be inflicted individually and intracerebrally during the scheduled class period, Monday, February 28th. I will email you the questions (both as email text and as a Word doc) at 11:00am and will expect answers (either format) emailed back to me individually by 12:00 noon.


II. QUOTATIONS. “Merry and tragical?” [8 questions; total 40 points.]

Included in the same emailing will be a combination of identification and, more importantly, significance questions, following 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.
For these first portions of the exam, you may work in coordinated cooperation with another member or two of the class, in which case only one of you should email back to me with other name(s) of the other contributor(s) clearly designated.


III. TAKE-HOME ESSAY. “Hot ice!” [Total 30 points.]

DO THIS PART FIRST! Answer the following question thoroughly and precisely, perhaps even shrewdly, to a minimum of 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.” An e-copy of the essay is due on exam day — Wednesday, February 28th, 11:00am — to be dropped in a Canvas folder in the Discussions section.

What would you say has been the most important value for you so far in getting involved in Shakespeare this semester?

You might 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). You might detail 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? However you approach this, be precise enough to include 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 here 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 at the start of exam time to accompany the other “in-class” components of the test. You’ll be glad you did, for ’tis deeds must win the prize!


SAMPLE QUESTIONS

IDENTIFICATIONS
Identify the character or thing referred to (underlined) in the following.

“My business asketh haste, and every day I cannot come to woo.”

_________________________________

 

I pray you . . . be not so disquiet.
The meat was well, if you were so contented.”

_________________________________

“For how I firmly am resolv’d you know:
That is, not to bestow my youngest daughter
Before I have a husband for the elder.”

_________________________________

“The course of true _____ never did run smooth.”

_________________________________

I am as constant as the northern star.”

_________________________________


* * *

QUOTATIONS
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).

* * *

You see a film clip in which a man pursues a woman up a staircase, insisting, “Will you, nil you, I will marry you.” She says, “I’d sooner die!” and exits out an upper-story window. With a panicked look on his face, the man says to himself, “My twenty thousand crowns!”


What might be considered inappropriate, in comparison with the play itself, in how the director handled this scene? Explain briefly.