CLEP Humanities : Understanding Terminology That Describes Medieval and Renaissance Poetry

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for CLEP Humanities

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Example Questions

Example Question #3 : Understanding Terminology That Describes Poetry

What kinds of poems are made up of fourteen lines, iambic pentameter, and end in a rhyming couplet?

Possible Answers:

Odes

Sonnets

Haikus

Aubades

Poems written in common meter

Correct answer:

Sonnets

Explanation:

"Sonnet" is the correct answer, as sonnets utilize iambic pentameter and a concluding couplet and are usually made up of fourteen lines. The most famous writer of English sonnets is William Shakespeare, who wrote one hundred and fifty-four sonnets during his lifetime.

Example Question #4 : Understanding Terminology That Describes Poetry

Which of the following metrical schemes was used by William Shakespeare in his poetry?

Possible Answers:

Iambic Pentameter

Spondaic Pentameter

Trochaic Tetrameter

Dactylic Hexameter

Cretic Dimeter

Correct answer:

Iambic Pentameter

Explanation:

The poetry of William Shakespeare fit most of the conventions of sixteenth century English poetry, and as such he used the meter of iambic pentameter almost exclusively. Iambs refer to the "feet," or stress breaks, in poetry that are a short syllable followed by a long syllable, while "pentamater" refers to there being five, from the Greek "penta," feet. Thus, an iambic pentameter line is meant to be said with a rhythm of "da-DUH, da-DUH, da-DUH, da-DUH, da-DUH."

Example Question #5 : Understanding Terminology That Describes Poetry

When in disgrace with Fortune and men's eyes,

I all alone beweep my outcast state,

And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,

And look upon myself and curse my fate,

Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,

Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,

Desiring this man's art and that man's scope,

With what I most enjoy contented least,

Yet in these thoughts my self almost despising,

Haply I think on thee, and then my state,

(Like to the lark at break of day arising

From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven's gate,

For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings,

That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

What is the rhyme scheme of the given passage?

Possible Answers:

a b a b
c d c d
e f e f
c d 

a b a b
c d c d
e f e f
b b

a b a b
c d c d
e f e f
e f

a b a b
c d c d
e f e f
g g 

a b a b
c d c d
e f e f
a b

Correct answer:

a b a b
c d c d
e f e f
g g 

Explanation:

The poem is Sonnet 29 by William Shakespeare. The rhyme scheme is four quatrains and an ending couplet. The couplet, or last two lines, rhyme with each other, but not with other lines earlier in the poem.

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