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

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Example Question #1 : Identification Of British Plays

ACT 1. SCENE 1.1.

      [ENTER VOLPONE AND MOSCA]

     VOLPONE: Good morning to the day; and next, my gold:

     Open the shrine, that I may see my Saint.

… Hail the world's soul, and mine! more glad than is

     The teeming earth to see the long'd-for sun

     Peep through the horns of the celestial Ram,

     Am I, to view thy splendour darkening his;

     That lying here, amongst my other hoards,

     Shew'st like a flame by night; or like the day

     Struck out of chaos, when all darkness fled

     Unto the centre.

The above lines open a comedic play by which author?

Possible Answers:

William Shakespeare

Ben Jonson

Christopher Marlowe

Thomas Kyd

Samuel Johnson

Correct answer:

Ben Jonson

Explanation:

One of Ben Jonson’s best known plays, Volpone (Italian for “sly fox”) satirizes lust and avarice through a fictional set of Venetian nobles; Volpone, Mosca, Corbaccio, and Voltore are among the most important characters.

Example Question #2 : Identification Of British Plays

FIRST WITCH: When shall we three meet againe?

In Thunder, Lightning, or in Raine?

SECOND WITCH: When the Hurley-burley's done,

When the Battaile's lost, and wonne

THIRD WITCH: That will be ere the set of Sunne

FIRST: Where the place?

SECOND: Upon the Heath

ALL: Padock calls anon: faire is foule, and foule is faire,

Houer through the fogge and filthie ayre.

These three witches appear as characters in which Shakespearean tragedy?

Possible Answers:

Macbeth

Othello

King Lear

Julius Caesar

Hamlet

Correct answer:

Macbeth

Explanation:

These witches appear in the opening lines of Macbeth and predict the protagonist’s eventual downfall and ruin. They are also responsible for the famous line “double, double toil and trouble.”

Example Question #1 : Identification Of British Plays To 1660

CALIBAN: All the infections that the sun sucks up

From bogs, fens, flats, on Prosper fall and make him

By inch-meal a disease! His spirits hear me

And yet I needs must curse. But they'll nor pinch,

Fright me with urchin—shows, pitch me i' the mire,

Nor lead me, like a firebrand, in the dark

Out of my way, unless he bid 'em; but

For every trifle are they set upon me;

Sometime like apes that mow and chatter at me

And after bite me, then like hedgehogs which

Lie tumbling in my barefoot way and mount

Their pricks at my footfall; sometime am I

All wound with adders who with cloven tongues

Do hiss me into madness.

From which Shakespearean play is this monologue taken?

Possible Answers:

Antony and Cleopatra

Troilus and Cressida

King Lear

The Tempest

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Correct answer:

The Tempest

Explanation:

In The Tempest, one of Shakespeare’s last plays, the Milanese duke, Prospero, and his daughter, Miranda, interact with the monstrous Caliban, the sprite Ariel, and the shipwrecked prince Ferdinand. The play is widely regarded as one of Shakespeare’s best and is sometimes noted as a prototype for both post-colonial literature and as a launching point for post-colonial criticism.

Example Question #4 : Identification Of British Plays

IAGO: That Cassio loves her, I do well believe't:

That she loues him, 'tis apt, and of great Credite.

The Moore (howbeit that I endure him not)

Is of a constant, loving, Noble Nature,

And I dare thinke, he’ll prove to Desdemona

A most dear husband. Now I do love her too,

Not out of absolute Lust, (though peradventure

I stand accomptant for as great a sin)

But partly led to dyet my Revenge,

For that I do suspect the lustie Moore

Hath leap'd into my Seat. The thought whereof,

Doth (like a poysonous Minerall) gnaw my Inwardes:

And nothing can, or shall content my Soule

Till I am even'd with him, wife, for wife.

From which Shakespearean play is this monologue taken?

Possible Answers:

Antony and Cleopatra

Hamlet

Julius Caesar

Macbeth

Othello

Correct answer:

Othello

Explanation:

This classic tale of jealousy and betrayal is Shakespeare’s Othello (1604). Its main characters are Othello (the Moor), Iago, Cassio, and Desdemona, all of which are mentioned in this excerpt.

Example Question #5 : Identification Of British Plays

"Give me my robe, put on my crown; I have Immortal longings in me"

 

and

 

"Egypt, thou knew'st too well

My heart was to thy rudder tied by th' strings,

And thou shouldst tow me after. O'er my spirit

Thy full supremacy thou knew'st, and that

Thy beck might from the bidding of the gods

Command me."

The above lines are taken from which of Shakespeare's plays?

Possible Answers:

Antony and Cleopatra

The Tempest

Troilus and Cressida

Othello

Hamlet

Correct answer:

Antony and Cleopatra

Explanation:

This play is  Antony and Cleopatra (1606), Shakespeare’s only play set in Egypt. The drama features the star-crossed romance of Marc Antony, one of the three rulers of the Roman Empire under the Second Triumvirate, and the beautiful queen of Ptolemaic Egypt, Cleopatra.

Example Question #6 : Identification Of British Plays

I pray you all gyve your audyence,
And here this mater with reverence,
By fygure a morall play;
The somonynge of Everyman, called it is,
That of our lyves and endynge shewes,
How transytory we be all daye:
This mater is wonders precyous,
But the entent of it is more gracyous,
And swete to bere awaye.
The story sayth—Man, in the begynnynge,
Loke well, and take good heed to the endynge,
Be you never so gay:
Ye thynke sinne in the begynnynge full swete,
Whiche in the ende causeth the soule to wepe,
When the body lyeth in claye.
Here shall you se how Felawship and Jolyte,
Both Strengthe, Pleasure and Beaute,
Wyll vade from the as floure in maye;
For ye shall here, how our heven kynge
Calleth Everyman to a generall rekenynge:
Gyve audyence, and here what he doth saye.

The above text is taken from an anonymous example of which kind of drama?

Possible Answers:

Morality play

Jacobean play

Elizabethan play

Mourning play

Melodrama

Correct answer:

Morality play

Explanation:

The text is from a play titled Everyman and written in the late fifteenth century. Although this type of drama was written and performed during medieval times, the actual literary form was known as a morality play. Morality plays (called “interludes” at the time) can be recognized by their moral themes and their allegorical structures, in which protagonists encounter various personifications of virtues and must choose between good and evil.

Adapted from Everyman: A Morality Play, ln. 1–20 (1903 I. Sackse ed.)

Example Question #2 : Identification Of British Plays To 1660

O, then I see Queen Mab hath been with you.
She is the fairies' midwife, and she comes
In shape no bigger than an agate stone
On the forefinger of an alderman,
Drawn with a team of little atomies
Over men's noses as they lie asleep;
Her wagon spokes made of long spinners' legs,
The cover, of the wings of grasshoppers;
Her traces, of the smallest spider web;
Her collars, of the moonshine's wat'ry beams;
Her whip, of cricket's bone; the lash, of film;
Her wagoner, a small grey-coated gnat,
Not half so big as a round little worm
Pricked from the lazy finger of a maid;
Her chariot is an empty hazelnut,
Made by the joiner squirrel or old grub,
Time out o' mind the fairies' coachmakers.

From which Shakespearean play is this monologue taken?

Possible Answers:

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Troilus and Cressida

Romeo and Juliet

Antony and Cleopatra

King Lear

Correct answer:

Romeo and Juliet

Explanation:

This fanciful monologue is taken from Romeo and Juliet, in which Mercutio is a close friend to Romeo and Benvolio. In this famous excerpt, Mercutio is discussing a fairy queen that visits people while they sleep.

Example Question #3 : Identification Of Plays

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears!
I come to bury __________, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them,
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with __________. The noble Brutus
Hath told you __________ was ambitious;
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath __________ answer'd it.

Which Shakespearean character’s name belongs in the blanks above?

Possible Answers:

Caesar (Julius Caesar)

Hamlet

Titus (Titus Andronicus)

Othello

Antony (Marc Antony)

Correct answer:

Caesar (Julius Caesar)

Explanation:

This excerpt is a famous speech from Julius Caesar (1599). In it, Marc Antony mourns the death of Julius Caesar, after his murder in the Roman Senate, and ostensibly defends Caesar’s fatal flaw, ambition, while at the same time winning the support of the people (against Junius Brutus) through his own ostentatious humility, evident in the monologue.

Example Question #9 : Identification Of British Plays

MEPHISTOPHELES: Within the bowels of these elements,
Where we are tortured and remain forever.
Hell hath no limits, nor is circumscribed
In one self place, for where we are is hell,
And where hell is must we ever be.
And, to conclude, when all the world dissolves,
And every creature shall be purified,
All places shall be hell that is not heaven.

Who is the author of this play?

Possible Answers:

William Shakespeare

Samuel Johnson

Christopher Marlowe

Thomas Kyd

Ben Jonson

Correct answer:

Christopher Marlowe

Explanation:

These lines are taken from Christopher Marlowe’s The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus (1604), a famous play based on the German legend of Faust. The excerpted lines are part of a well known monologue by Mephistopheles, the devil to whom Dr. Faustus sells his soul.

Example Question #4 : Identification Of Plays

LORENZO: My lord, though Bel-imperia seeme thus coy,
    Let reason holde you in your wonted ioy:
    In time the sauage bull sustaines the yoake,
    In time all haggard hawkes will stoope to lure,
    In time small wedges cleaue the hardest oake,
    In time the [hardest] flint is pearst with softest shower;
    And she in time will fall from her disdaine,
    And rue the sufferance of your freendly paine.

Who is the author of this play?

Possible Answers:

Ben Jonson

Samuel Johnson

Christopher Marlowe

William Shakespeare

Thomas Kyd

Correct answer:

Thomas Kyd

Explanation:

In Thomas Kyd’s play The Spanish Tragedie (1587) is an example of a new type of Elizabethan play: the revenge play. The work, a bloody tragedy set in Portugal and Spain, features the characters Hieronimo, Bel-imperia, Lorenzo, Balthazar, and Horatio. Some elements from this work (most notably the ghosts and the play-within-a-play structure) appear later in the more famous Hamlet, and T.S. Eliot alludes to the play in his poem, The Waste Land.

Adapted from The Spanish Tragedie by Thomas Kyd, 2.ii.1–8

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