GRE Subject Test: Literature in English : Identification of British Plays 1660–1925

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All GRE Subject Test: Literature in English Resources

1 Diagnostic Test 158 Practice Tests Question of the Day Flashcards Learn by Concept

Example Questions

Example Question #155 : Gre Subject Test: Literature In English

Determine the title and author of this passage based on its content and style.

“But I can't stand saying one thing when everyone knows I mean another. What's the use in such hypocrisy? If people arrange the world that way for women, there's no good pretending it’s arranged the other way . . .”

Possible Answers:

Mrs. Warren’s Profession by George Bernard Shaw

The Maids by Jean Genet

Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw

Educating Rita by Willy Russel

An Inspector Calls by J. B. Priestly

Correct answer:

Mrs. Warren’s Profession by George Bernard Shaw

Explanation:

These lines are from the 1893 play Mrs. Warren's Profession by George Bernard Shaw. This quote is by Mrs. Warren (a former prostitute and current brothel owner) during a conversation with her daughter, Vivie. Vivie has returned home from college and is finally aware of her mother's occupation, causing much debate throughout the course of the play.

Example Question #1 : Identification Of British Plays 1660–1925

Identify the author and title of the excerpt.

"The great secret, Eliza, is not having bad manners or good manners or any other particular sort of manners, but having the same manner for all human souls: in short, behaving as if were in Heaven, where there are no third-class carriages, and one soul is as good as another.”

Possible Answers:

The Maids by Jean Genet

Mrs. Warren’s Profession by George Bernard Shaw

Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw

Arcadia by Tom Stoppard

An Ideal Husband, Oscar Wilde

Correct answer:

Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw

Explanation:

These lines are from George Bernard Shaw’s 1913 play Pygmalion. The play centers on Eliza Doolittle, a seemingly simple Cockney flower girl, who Professor Henry Higgins attempts to transform into a sophisticated and well-spoken lady who can pass as a duchess. The name of the play comes from the Greek mythological character, Pygmalion, a sculptor who falls in love with his sculpture when it comes to life. The passage contains two majors clues as to its source material: it mentions "Eliza" and it discusses manners.

Passage adapted from Act V of Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw (1913)

Example Question #157 : Gre Subject Test: Literature In English

“True, 'tis an unhappy circumstance of life that love should ever die before us, and that the man so often should outlive the lover. But say what you will, 'tis better to be left than never to have been loved. To pass our youth in dull indifference, to refuse the sweets of life because they once must leave us, is as preposterous as to wish to have been born old, because we one day must be old. For my part, my youth may wear and waste, but it shall never rust in my possession.”

Identify the title of the work from which the passage is adapted.

Possible Answers:

The Tempest

The Alchemist

The Way of the World

Doctor Faustus

As You Like It

Correct answer:

The Way of the World

Explanation:

These lines are adapted from of William Congreve's play The Way of the World, first performed in 1700. The play's main characters, Mirabell and Millamant, are lovers attempting to marry, but Millamant's aunt, Lady Wishfort, tries to foil their plans by getting her own nephew, Sir Wilfull, to marry Millamant instead.

Adapted from The Way of the World by William Congreve, II.i (1700)

Example Question #2 : Identification Of British Plays 1660–1925

“How you can sit there, calmly eating muffins when we are in this horrible trouble, I can’t make out. You seem to me to be perfectly heartless."

"Well, I can’t eat muffins in an agitated manner. The butter would probably get on my cuffs. One should always eat muffins quite calmly. It is the only way to eat them."

"I say it’s perfectly heartless your eating muffins at all, under the circumstances.” 

Identify the title and author of the passage.

Possible Answers:

The Way of the World by William Congreve

Blithe Spirit by Noel Coward

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

The Dumb Waiter by Harold Pinter

Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett

Correct answer:

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

Explanation:

These lines, exchanged between Jack and Algernon, are from Oscar Wilde’s play The Importance of Being Earnest. The play, whose full title is The Importance of Being Earnest: A Trivial Comedy for Serious People, was first performed in 1895. It is a satirical look at Victorian social rules and obligations. The word "bunburying" is famously used in its plot to mean to assume an alter ego in a different locale so as to get out of social obligations. Much of the play's plot and repartee centers around identity, and in particular, confusion surrounding the name "Ernest."

Passage adapted from Act II of The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde (1895)

Example Question #3 : Identification Of British Plays 1660–1925

"You silly Arthur! If you knew anything about . . . anything, which you don't, you would know that I adore you. Everyone in London knows it except you. It is a public scandal the way I adore you. I have been going about for the last six months telling the whole of society that I adore you. I wonder you consent to have anything to say to me. I have no character left at all. At least, I feel so happy that I am quite sure I have no character left at all.” 

Identify the title and author of the excerpt based on the content and style of the writing.

Possible Answers:

An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde

A Man for All Seasons by Robert Bolt

An Inspector Calls by J. B. Priestly

Amadeus by Peter Shaffer

The Way of the World by William Congreve

Correct answer:

An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde

Explanation:

These lines, spoken by Mabel Chiltern, are from Oscar Wilde's 1895 comedic play An Ideal Husband. The play centers on themes of political corruption and honor.

Passage adapted from Act IV of An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde (1895)

Example Question #4 : Identification Of British Plays 1660–1925

I will attend her here,
And woo her with some spirit when she comes.
Say that she rail; why, then, I'll tell her plain,
she sings as sweetly as a nightingail:
Say that she frown; I'll say she looks as clear
As morning roses newly washt with dew:
Say she be mute and will not speak a word;
Then I'll commend her volubility,
And say she uttereth piercing eloquence:
If she do bid me pack, I'll give her thanks,
As though she bid me stay by her a week:
If she deny to be wed, I'll crave the day
When I shall ask the banns, and when be married.

This excerpt is adapted from which of the following Shakespearean plays?

Possible Answers:

As You Like It

The Taming of the Shrew

The Comedy of Errors

Much Ado About Nothing

The Merry Wives of Windsor

Correct answer:

The Taming of the Shrew

Explanation:

These are lines spoken by Petruchio in William Shakespeare's comedy The Taming of the Shrew. A major clue as to the source work of the lines is their content; here, Petruchio is soliloquizing about how he will woo Katherine ("Kate") despite the fact that she is not interested in him.

(Passage adapted from The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare, II.i.168-180)

All GRE Subject Test: Literature in English Resources

1 Diagnostic Test 158 Practice Tests Question of the Day Flashcards Learn by Concept
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