SAT II Literature : Other Content Analysis Questions: Drama

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT II Literature

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Other Content Analysis Questions: Drama

Adapted from Coriolanus by William Shakespeare (III.iii.152-167)

 

You common cry of curs! whose breath I hate

As reek o' the rotten fens, whose loves I prize

As the dead carcasses of unburied men

That do corrupt my air, I banish you;

And here remain with your uncertainty!

Let every feeble rumor shake your hearts!

Your enemies, with nodding of their plumes,

Fan you into despair! Have the power still

To banish your defenders; till at length

Your ignorance, which finds not till it feels,

Making not reservations of yourselves,

Still your own foes, deliver you as most 

Abated captives to some nation

That won you without blows! Despising,

For you, the city, thus I turn my back:

There is a world elsewhere.

In the context of the entire passage, the underlined section's use of the image of "plumes / fan[ning]" the listeners "into despair" serves which of the following purposes?

Possible Answers:

The image of the plume is used to draw attention to the empty promises the listeners have made to the speaker in the past.

The image of the plume is used to draw attention to the speaker's underlying uncertainty about his decision to leave the city.

The speaker uses the image of the plume to draw attention to the insubstatial, vulnerable nature of those who banished him.

The image of the plume is used to draw attention to the deplorable hygienic conditions in the city, which the speaker believes will ultimately result in its downfall.

The speaker invokes the image of the plume in order to insult his listeners by demeaning their hygiene and associating them with members of the lower classes.

Correct answer:

The speaker uses the image of the plume to draw attention to the insubstatial, vulnerable nature of those who banished him.

Explanation:

The speaker uses the image to draw attention to the insubstantial (and political) nature of his banishers, as well as their extreme vulnerability without him. The image of the plume picks up the speakers motif of "air" and "breath."

There is little mention of false promises, and while the speaker obviously feels betrayed, his emphasis in this speech is on his anger and immediate plans, and his focus is on attacking his banishers verbally.

While the speaker earlier mentions that his "air [has been] pollute[d]," this is far from his main focus.

The speaker does not seem particularly uncertain about anything, and he makes no specific mention of lower classes.

Example Question #2 : Other Content Analysis Questions: Drama

Adapted from Coriolanus by William Shakespeare (III.iii.152-167)

 

You common cry of curs! whose breath I hate

As reek o' the rotten fens, whose loves I prize

As the dead carcasses of unburied men

That do corrupt my air, I banish you;

And here remain with your uncertainty!

Let every feeble rumor shake your hearts!

Your enemies, with nodding of their plumes,

Fan you into despair! Have the power still

To banish your defenders; till at length

Your ignorance, which finds not till it feels,

Making not reservations of yourselves,

Still your own foes, deliver you as most 

Abated captives to some nation

That won you without blows! Despising,

For you, the city, thus I turn my back:

There is a world elsewhere.

According to the speaker, for what reason will the city will be vulnerable in the future?

Possible Answers:

The city is poorly maintained, and does not have big enough walls.

There is a specific enemy force waiting to attack.

The city's defenders are being sent away by ignorant politicians.

The city is running out of funding, due to political corruption.

The city has been corrupted by pollution.

Correct answer:

The city's defenders are being sent away by ignorant politicians.

Explanation:

The main reason the city will be vulnerable, according to the speaker, is that the city's best defenders (namely himself) are being sent away by ignorant politicians.

The enemies he speaks of attacking are not a specific force nearby, but a hypothetical one that could come at any time once the defenders have been sent away. 

While he does think the city is polluted and malodorous, he does not cite this as the reason for its vulnerability.

He makes no mention of funding, nor of city walls.

Example Question #84 : Passage Content

Adapted from Richard III by William Shakespeare, I.i.1-42

Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York;
And all the clouds that lour'd upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths;
Our bruised arms hung up for monuments;
Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings,
Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
Grim-visaged war hath smooth'd his wrinkled front;
And now, instead of mounting barded steeds
To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,
He capers nimbly in a lady's chamber
To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.
But I, that am not shaped for sportive tricks,
Nor made to court an amorous looking-glass;
I, that am rudely stamp'd, and want love's majesty
To strut before a wanton ambling nymph;
I, that am curtail'd of this fair proportion,
Cheated of feature by dissembling nature,
Deformed, unfinish'd, sent before my time
Into this breathing world, scarce half made up,
And that so lamely and unfashionable
That dogs bark at me as I halt by them;
Why, I, in this weak piping time of peace,
Have no delight to pass away the time,
Unless to spy my shadow in the sun
And descant on mine own deformity:
And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover,
To entertain these fair well-spoken days,
I am determined to prove a villain
And hate the idle pleasures of these days.
Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous,
By drunken prophecies, libels and dreams,
To set my brother Clarence and the king
In deadly hate the one against the other:
And if King Edward be as true and just
As I am subtle, false and treacherous,
This day should Clarence closely be mew'd up,
About a prophecy, which says that 'G'
Of Edward's heirs the murderer shall be.
Dive, thoughts, down to my soul: here
Clarence comes.

With which of the following does the speaker explicitly contrast himself?

Possible Answers:

Love

Nature

King Edward

War

Clarence

Correct answer:

King Edward

Explanation:

While the speaker discusses “Grim-visaged war,” complains about “dissembling nature,” and says that he “want[s] love's majesty / To strut before a wanton ambling nymph,” he does not explicitly contrast himself with any of these concepts. He never contrasts himself with his brother Clarence, but he does contrast himself with King Edward in the lines, “And if King Edward be as true and just / As I am subtle, false and treacherous, / This day should Clarence closely be mew'd up . . .”

Example Question #3 : Other Content Analysis Questions: Drama

ROMEO [To a Servingman]

1 What lady is that, which doth enrich the hand
2 Of yonder knight?

SERVANT

I know not, sir.

ROMEO

3 O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!
4 It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night
5 Like a rich jewel in an Ethiope's ear;
6 Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear!
7 So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows,
8 As yonder lady o'er her fellows shows.
9 The measure done, I'll watch her place of stand,
10 And, touching hers, make blessed my rude hand.
11 Did my heart love till now? forswear it, sight!
12 For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night.

TYBALT

13 This, by his voice, should be a Montague.
14 Fetch me my rapier, boy. What dares the slave
15 Come hither, cover'd with an antic face,
16 To fleer and scorn at our solemnity?
17 Now, by the stock and honour of my kin,
18 To strike him dead, I hold it not a sin.

As Romeo admires this woman, he compares her to ________________.

Possible Answers:

the torches and a crow

a star and a dove

the night sky and a crow

beauty

an earring and a dove

Correct answer:

an earring and a dove

Explanation:

Romeo compares this woman to two things in this passage: an earring, and a dove. He compares her to an earring in lines 4-5. In lines 7-8, he compares her to a dove.

While Romeo does describe the woman's beauty, he does not at any point compare her to beauty itself.

Passage adapted from William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet (1595)

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