English 205 — Spring 2018
Washington State University
SHAKESPEARE: END-OF-SEMESTER EXAM
“A MOST LAMENTABLE COMEDY”
I. IDENTIFICATIONS. “Tedious and brief?” [Total 26 points].
Short identification questions from Henry V, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado About Nothing, and Lucrece, may ask you to identify the patron saint of shoemakers or who says “What fools these mortals be.” These identification questions will be inflicted during the scheduled class period — Wednesday, April 18th, 10:10 am. Then you will say, “O spite! O hell!”
II. QUOTATIONS. “Merry and tragical?” [Total 50 points].
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 final 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.
III. TAKE-HOME ESSAY. “Hot ice?” [Total 24 points].
DO THIS PART NOW! Answer the following question thoroughly and precisely to about three or four (3-4) pages, double-spaced. Answers should be virtuoso pieces of brilliance manifested in impressive eloquence, with facile reference to specifics from the Shakespearean texts. A hard-copy of the essay is due in class on exam day — Wednesday, April 18th, 10:10 am — to accompany the other in-class components of the test.
Key to becoming a scholar or thinker is that you move beyond just answering questions and learn how to articulate what the appropriate questions are in the first place. Now that you’ve been through a good portion of Shakespeare’s works, create a valuable Shakespeare essay question of your own, focused on a particular quotation from one of the recent plays. Do actually and clearly write out the question, either as a heading to the essay, or the title, or in the first paragraph. Avoid the obvious, contrived, or trite. Then construct the essay to answer it. Feel welcome to discuss the relevance, importance, or brilliance of this quotation in relation to various plays — and also beyond the realm of Shakespeare, in terms of either your personal experience or your worldview.
Identify the character or thing referred to (underlined) in the following.
“I am to discourse wonders; but ask me not what;
for if I tell you, I am no true Athenian.”
“It is the wittiest partition that ever
I heard discourse, my lord.”
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