SAT II Literature : Literary Terminology Describing Drama

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT II Literature

varsity tutors app store varsity tutors android store

Example Questions

← Previous 1 3

Example Question #1 : Literary Terminology Describing Drama

And when, after a long while, this storm had passed, the maid was seen; and she cried aloud with the sharp cry of a bird in its bitterness,-even as when, within the empty nest, it sees the bed stripped of its nestlings. So she also, when she saw the corpse bare, lifted up a voice of wailing, and called down curses on the doers of that deed.

(Fifth century BCE)

The passage contains which literary device?

Possible Answers:

Hyperbole

Simile

Alliteration

Juxtaposition

Metaphor

Correct answer:

Simile

Explanation:

Simile is the correct literary device. This type of simile is called a "submerged simile" oftentimes, because it does not contain the words "like" or "as" as you would normally expect to accompany a simile. The writer uses the submerged simile to compare "the maid" to a bird that discovers its nest to be empty.

(Adapted from the R. C. Jebb translation of Antigone by Sophocles 462-469, Fifth century BCE)

Example Question #2 : Literary Terminology Describing Drama

Yet I would have thee know that o'er-stubborn spirits are most often humbled; 'tis the stiffest iron, baked to hardness in the fire, that thou shalt oftenest see snapped and shivered; and I have known horses that show temper brought to order by a little curb.

(Fifth century BCE)

The passage employs which of the following literary devices?

Possible Answers:

Paradox

Metaphor

Simile

Hyperbole

Assimilation

Correct answer:

Metaphor

Explanation:

This excerpt contains multiple metaphors: it compares a heart breaking to iron breaking and to wild horses being tamed.

(Adapted from the R. C. Jebb translation of Antigone by Sophocles 520-525, Fifth century BCE)

Example Question #2 : Literary Terminology Describing Drama

1 Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player

2 That struts and frets his hour upon the stage

3 And then is heard no more; it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

4 Signifying nothing.

(1611)

What literary device is employed in the passage?

Possible Answers:

Metaphor

Alliteration

Personification

Paradox

Simile

Correct answer:

Metaphor

Explanation:

The writer compares life to a shadow that struts. This is a metaphor because it compares life to a shadow but doesn't use 'like' or 'as' (like a simile would).

(Passage adapted from Shakespeare's Macbeth, V.iv.23-28)

Example Question #1 : Literary Terminology Describing Drama

MEPHISTOPHELES: Tut, Faustus,

Marriage is but a ceremonial toy;

And if thou lovest me, think no more of it.        

I’ll cull thee out the fairest courtesans,

And bring them every morning to thy bed;(5)

She whom thine eye shall like, thy heart shall have,

Be she as chaste as was Penelope,

As wise as Saba, or as beautiful        

As was bright Lucifer before his fall.

Here, take this book peruse it thoroughly:  [Gives a book.] (10)

The iterating of these lines brings gold;

The framing of this circle on the ground

Brings whirlwinds, tempests, thunder and lightning;

Pronounce this thrice devoutly to thyself…

(1592)

What literary device can be found in lines 6-8?

Possible Answers:

Colloquialism

Allusion

Consonance

Apostrophe

Ellipsis

Correct answer:

Allusion

Explanation:

In lines 6-8 we have a literary allusion or reference to Penelope, Saba, and Lucifer, all characters from other works of literature. Apostrophe is a direct address to the reader (e.g. Herman Melville’s “Call me Ishmael”). Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds (e.g. “a bitter debtor”). Colloquialism is the use of an informal, conversational, or regional bit of speech (e.g. “y’all” for “you all”). Ellipsis is the deliberate omission of one or more words for the purpose of concision.

Passage adapted from Christopher Marlowe’s The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus (1592)

Example Question #5 : Literary Terminology Describing Drama

MEPHISTOPHELES: Tut, Faustus,

Marriage is but a ceremonial toy;

And if thou lovest me, think no more of it.        

I’ll cull thee out the fairest courtesans,

And bring them every morning to thy bed;(5)

She whom thine eye shall like, thy heart shall have,

Be she as chaste as was Penelope,

As wise as Saba, or as beautiful        

As was bright Lucifer before his fall.

Here, take this book peruse it thoroughly:  [Gives a book.] (10)

The iterating of these lines brings gold;

The framing of this circle on the ground

Brings whirlwinds, tempests, thunder and lightning;

Pronounce this thrice devoutly to thyself…

(1592)

What other literary device can be found in lines 6-8?

Possible Answers:

Parallelism

Epistles

Hyperbole

Synecdoche

Litotes

Correct answer:

Parallelism

Explanation:

Here we have parallelism, the use of clauses with identical grammatical patterns, syntax, or meter (usually undertaken for emphasis or to achieve a pleasing sound). Synecdoche is a specific type of metonymy in which the real word for something is replaced by a word for a part of that thing (e.g. someone saying they need a “hand” when they really need the entire person’s help). Hyperbole is the use of extreme exaggeration (e.g. “this suitcase weighs a ton”). Litotes, on the other hand, is the deliberate use of understatement or double negatives. Epistles are letters, and epistolary is an adjective that describes the use of letters as a storytelling device in a larger narrative.

Passage adapted from Christopher Marlowe’s The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus (1592)

Example Question #2 : Literary Terminology Describing Drama

MEPHISTOPHELES: Tut, Faustus,

Marriage is but a ceremonial toy;

And if thou lovest me, think no more of it.        

I’ll cull thee out the fairest courtesans,

And bring them every morning to thy bed;(5)

She whom thine eye shall like, thy heart shall have,

Be she as chaste as was Penelope,

As wise as Saba, or as beautiful        

As was bright Lucifer before his fall.

Here, take this book peruse it thoroughly:  [Gives a book.] (10)

The iterating of these lines brings gold;

The framing of this circle on the ground

Brings whirlwinds, tempests, thunder and lightning;

Pronounce this thrice devoutly to thyself…

(1592)

What literary device can be found in line 2?

Possible Answers:

Allegory

Metaphor

Simile

Conceit

Paradox

Correct answer:

Metaphor

Explanation:

The answer choices here are largely similar. “Marriage is but a ceremonial toy” is a metaphor, a comparison that does not employ “like” or “as.” Don’t mistake this for a simile, a comparison using “like” or “as” (e.g. “the still pond is like a looking glass”). An allegory is an extended metaphor (e.g. a metaphor that takes up the entire passage), as is a conceit. Paradoxes are contradictory statements, something that seems impossible (e.g. Odysseus’ “I am no man” in The Odyssey).

Passage adapted from Christopher Marlowe’s The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus (1592)

Example Question #5 : Literary Terminology Describing Drama

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.    (5)

And, to conclude, when all the world dissolves,

And every creature shall be purified,

All places shall be hell that is not heaven.

(1604)

The beginning of lines 5-7 can be seen as an example of what literary device?

Possible Answers:

Polysyndeton

Redundancy

Oxymoron

Prolepsis

Epanalepsis

Correct answer:

Polysyndeton

Explanation:

With the repetition of “and,” we can tell that this is polysyndeton, the excessive use of conjunctions. (It could also be considered anaphora, repetition of the beginnings of subsequent clauses). It is not epanalepsis (chiasmus), oxymoron (contradictory term), or redundancy. It is also not prolepsis (flash forward).

Passage adapted from Christopher Marlowe’s The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus (1604)

Example Question #3 : Literary Terminology Describing Drama

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.    (5)

And, to conclude, when all the world dissolves,

And every creature shall be purified,

All places shall be hell that is not heaven.

(1604)

Lines 4-5 contain an example of what literary device?

Possible Answers:

Imagery 

Provocation

Onomatopoeia

Chiasmus

Enjambment

Correct answer:

Chiasmus

Explanation:

In these lines we have an example of the relatively rare chiasmus: the use of a crisscross or reverse structure in a sentence or paragraph. Enjambment is a poetic technique in which the meaning and syntax of one line are carried over and finished in the next line (e.g. Robert Frost’s “And there's a barrel that I didn't fill / Beside it”). Imagery is language that calls upon vivid sensory descriptions (e.g. Gerard Manley Hopkins “a candycoloured… a gluegold-brown / Marbled river, boisterously beautiful”). Onomatopoeia is the use of a word that mimics the sound of the thing it is describing (e.g. “pop” or “buzz”).

Passage adapted from Christopher Marlowe’s The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus (1604)

Example Question #7 : Literary Terminology Describing Drama

HENRY V: And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,

From this day to the ending of the world,

But we in it shall be remember'd;

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;

For he today that sheds his blood with me   (5)

Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,

This day shall gentle his condition:

And gentlemen in England now a-bed

Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,

And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks   (10)

That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

(1600)

What literary device can be seen in line 4?

Possible Answers:

Antimetabole

Anaphora

Polysyndeton

Ellipsis

Aposiopesis

Correct answer:

Anaphora

Explanation:

The repetition of the beginning of each clause (“We few, we happy few, we band of brothers”) is an example of anaphora. Antimetabole, similar to chiasmus, is the repetition and transposition of words (e.g. Dr. Seuss’s “I meant what I said and I said what I meant”). Ellipsis is the deliberate omission of one or more words for the purpose of concision, while polysyndeton is the excessive use of conjunctions. Aposiopesis is the sudden, deliberate breaking-off of a line of writing or speech for deliberate effect (e.g. “When your father gets home…”).

Passage adapted from William Shakespeare’s Henry V (1600)

Example Question #8 : Literary Terminology Describing Drama

HENRY V: And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,

From this day to the ending of the world,

But we in it shall be remember'd;

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;

For he today that sheds his blood with me   (5)

Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,

This day shall gentle his condition:

And gentlemen in England now a-bed

Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,

And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks   (10)

That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

(1600)

Which lines contain a parenthetical remark?

Possible Answers:

Lines 8-9

Lines 1-4

Lines 5-7

Lines 8-11

Lines 3-4

Correct answer:

Lines 5-7

Explanation:

In line 4, the speaker describes his audience as his “brothers.” Lines 5-7 then expand upon that thought, clarifying how this group of unrelated soldiers could be brothers: “For he today that sheds his blood with me / Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile, / This day shall gentle his condition.” Thus, even though the lines don’t appear in parentheses, they can be considered a parenthetical remark.

Passage adapted from William Shakespeare’s Henry V (1600)

← Previous 1 3
Learning Tools by Varsity Tutors

Incompatible Browser

Please upgrade or download one of the following browsers to use Instant Tutoring: