English 205 -- Spring 2014
Washington State University

SHAKESPEARE: MIDTERM EXAM

"GOOD SENTENCES, AND WELL PRONOUNC'D"


I. IDENTIFICATIONS. [Total 26 points].

You know, maybe match Column A with Column B; or identify who "doth murder sleep"; who is "an allowed fool"; or fill in the blank: "Out, damned ____" -- that kind of question, only a bit harder. These fustian riddles will be inflicted individually and intracerebrally during the scheduled class period, Monday, March 3rd. Put on your thinking caps and press the "Fry" button.


II. QUOTATIONS. [Total 50 points].

A combination of identification and, more importantly, significance questions will follow quotations from the three plays -- Macbeth, Twelfth Night, and The Merchant of Venice -- 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 to 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 3rd, 10:10 am -- to accompany the other in-class components of the test.
What's new?

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, for England and Saint George!


SAMPLE QUESTIONS

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

"One of them showed me a ring that he had of your daughter for a monkey."

                                                  _________________________________

"If music be the food of love, play on,
Give me excess of it...."

                                                  _________________________________

"I am not well. Send the deed after me,
And I will sign it."

                                                  _________________________________

"Stay, you imperfect speakers, tell me more...."

                                                  _________________________________


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QUOTATIONS
Answer completely but concisely the following.

"yet for aught I see, they are as sick that surfeit with too much as they
that starve with nothing...."
"Good sentences, and well pronounc'd."
Who are the two characters speaking?
Explain what they are talking about
and how it relates to the final acts of the play.


"[A drunken man is] Like a drown'd man, a fool, and a madman. One draught above heat [above feeling a pleasant warmth] makes him a fool, the second mads him, and a third drowns him."
Identify the speaker and the play.
How would you say the principles of foolishness, madness, and drowning apply to several other characters in the work?


"If it please you to dine with us."
"Yes, to smell pork, to eat of the habitation which your prophet the Nazarite conjur'd the devil into. I will buy with you, sell with you, talk with you, walk with you, and so following; but I will not eat with you, drink with you, nor pray with you."

Who is declining the invitation in what play?
Explain the biblical reference,
and what does it reveal surprisingly about the speaker?


Shakespeare Index