English 205 -- Spring 2016
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 and its background, Hamlet, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Thule, may ask you to identify the patron saint of shoemakers or who says "What fools these mortals be." These identification questions will be inflicted individually during the scheduled class period -- Wednesday, April 20th, 10:10 am. Then you will say, "These wounds I had on Crispin's day."


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. This time, in the spirit of Shakespeare, this section of the exam may be a collaborative effort: that is, you may, if you like, form human groups of two to three people total, of your own selection. Just be wise in your establishment of boundaries; there is no reason you need to accept into your group at the last minute any gleeking, beef-witted knave whom you're not sure you've even seen in class during most of the semester.


III. TAKE-HOME ESSAY. "Hot ice?" [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. A hard-copy of the essay is due in class on exam day -- Wednesday, April 20th, 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.


SAMPLE QUESTIONS

IDENTIFICATIONS
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."

                                                  _________________________________

"but why wear you your leek to-day?
Saint Davy's day is past."

                                                  _________________________________

"It is the wittiest partition that ever
I heard discourse, my lord."

                                                  _________________________________


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