Michael Delahoyde, PhD

Professor of English

Shakespeare End-of-Semester Exam



I. IDENTIFICATIONS. “The play’s the thing.”
[Total 20 points = 10 questions, 2 points each.]

Short identification questions from Hamlet, The Merchant of Venice, Much Ado About Nothing, and Lucrece may ask you to identify who says “brevity is the soul of wit,” or who reminds everyone “I am an ass.” On the designated day for this second exam — Wednesday, April 21st, at 9:00am — you will receive from me an e-mail containing identification questions similar to those on the midterm exam. Attached will be a Word document with the same questions, so that you can type the answers in whichever mode is safest and preferable to you.

II. QUOTATIONS. “Something rotten.”
[Total 40 points = 8 questions, 5 points each.]

The same e-mail/document will contain bigger questions, a combination of identification and, more importantly, significance questions will follow quotations from the plays and other relevant materials, extracted for their representativeness of our discussions over key points during these latter weeks. This again is not trivial pursuit. If you have read the plays 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 beef-witted knave. You should plan to e-mail your completed exam back to me by 10:00 am. You may work in coordinated cooperation with another member of the class, in which case only one of you should e-mail back to me with both names designated.

III. ESSAY. “Too cunning to be understood.”
[Total 40 points.]

You may take more time with this essay and submit it by Friday, April 23rd, 12:00 noon. You will find a designated folder on Blackboard in Discussions for submitting a Word.doc or pdf version of the essay. Answer the following question thoroughly and precisely to about three or four (3-4) pages, double-spaced. Answers should be virtuoso pieces of original brilliance manifested in impressive eloquence, with facile reference to specifics from the Shakespearean texts.

Now that you’ve been through a good portion of Shakespeare’s works, what would you say is one of the most important messages Shakespeare would like us to understand?
Based on quotations in several of the works from throughout our semester, discuss this message: its relevance, importance, brilliance, applicability to us in contemporary times. Avoid the obvious, contrived, or trite. Note that I use the word “message,” not moral. Feel welcome to discuss this idea beyond the realm of Shakespeare, in terms of either your personal experience or your worldview.

BIG DAY: WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21st, 9:00-10:00am.
ESSAY: FRIDAY, APRIL 23rd, 12:00 noon.