Shakespeare: Exam 1

English 305 — Summer 2010
Washington State University — Delahoyde

Shakespeare Exam 1:
“A Most Lamentable Comedy”

This exam focuses on the plays The Two Gentlemen of Verona and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, plus some material from the authorship controversy and Shakespeare basics.

I. IDENTIFICATIONS. “Tedious and brief?” [Total 26 points.]

You know, maybe match Column A with Column B; or identify the character who says, “What fools these mortals be”; or name Launce’s dog — that kind of question, only a bit harder. This fine volley of words will will be inflicted individually and intracerebrally during the scheduled class period: Thursday, July 8th.

II. QUOTATIONS. “Merry and tragical?” [Total 50 points; answer 10 for 5 points each.]

A combination of identification and, more importantly, significance questions will follow quotations from the first works of the semester extracted for their representativeness of our discussions over key points these 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 works and from our class interactions. If you have read the plays and paid attention in class, only a close review of notes is necessary for preparation. My website notes may be of use also. Otherwise, woe to thee, gleeking onion-eyed knave.

III. TAKE-HOME ESSAY. “Hot ice.” [Total 24 points.]

Answer the following question thoroughly and precisely, and shoot for about two (2) pages, double-spaced. This should be a virtuoso piece of brilliance manifested in impressive eloquence, with facile reference to specifics from the Shakespearean texts, rather than just “Words, words, words.”

We have read so far two seemingly light-comedy plays, focused on love and including several silly young lovers. Based on your reading of the early play The Two Gentlemen of Verona and the more popular play A Midsummer Night’s Dream, discuss the maturing of Shakespeare as a playwright, with a focus on any aspect of that apparent process.

These essays are due at the start of class on exam day:
Thursday, July 8th, 9:00 am. They will be stapled to the
backs of the in-class portions of the exam, o curs├Ęd spite!


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

He asks, “What is Pyramus? a lover, or a tyrant?”


“What is in Silvia’s face, but I may spy
More fresh in Julia’s with a constant eye?”


“I take your offer, and will live with you,
Provided that you do no outrages
On silly women or poor passengers.”


“And now I have the boy, I will undo
This hateful imperfection of her eyes.”


* * *

* * *

Answer completely but concisely the following.

“A fine volley of words, gentlemen, and quickly shot off.”

Identify the speaker. Explain briefly what is occurring in this scene.
How might this ambivalent remark apply to the play at large?

“Thou toldst me they were stol’n unto this wood;
And here am I, and wode within this wood….”

Explain the pun (the three meanings of wood/wode in this play).
For what literary genre (beyond “play”) is this a typical setting,
and what state of mind does this setting signify?

“And this same progeny of evils comes
From our debate, from our dissension;
We are their parents and original.”

Over what are these two characters disputing?
How does “Prince Tudor theory” relate to this?

“Merry and tragical? Tedious and brief?
That is hot ice and wondrous strange snow.
How shall we find the concord of this discord?”

In the first two lines, who is talking about what?
How does the theme of the third line apply more generally to the play?