English 205 -- Spring 2014
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, Much Ado About Nothing, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Thule, Lucrece, and maybe a touch of Hamlet 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 -- Friday, April 25th, 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, for this section of the exam, you may form human groups of your own selection and size (but beware of gleeking, onion-eyed knaves and parasites).


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 -- Friday, April 25th, 10:10 am -- to accompany the other in-class components of the test. "Record it with your high and worthy deeds."
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, and 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. Avoid the obvious, contrived, or trite.


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."

                                                  _________________________________


* * *


* * *

QUOTATIONS
Answer completely but concisely the following.

"That very time I saw (but thou couldst not),
Flying between the cold moon and the earth,
Cupid all arm'd. A certain aim he took
At a fair vestal throned by the west,
And loos'd his love-shaft smartly from his bow,
As it should pierce a hundred thousand hearts;
. . .
It fell upon a little western flower...."
How is this passage unusual, according to most critics?
Who is Shakespeare referring to and what is he saying?


"Wilt thou at Ninny's tomb meet me straightway?"

"His heart is fracted and corroborate."

Correct each of these misspoken statements.
Identify the special term for this kind of goofy language misuse.
Name two characters (these or others) in the plays who repeatedly commit this linguistic error.


"He that shall see this day, and live old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbors,
And say, 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian.'
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say, 'These wounds I had on Crispin's day.'"

The two variant forms of the name -- Crispin, Crispian -- are fortunate since Shakespeare is writing in what type of meter specifically?
Identify the speaker and describe your own deep feelings about this glorious proto-Memorial-Day pep-talk.


Shakespeare Index