SAT II Literature : Literary Terminology Describing Drama

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT II Literature

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Example Questions

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Example Question #21 : Literary Terminology Describing Drama

HAMLET: … What would he do,

Had he the motive and the cue for passion

That I have? He would drown the stage with tears

And cleave the general ear with horrid speech,

Make mad the guilty and appal the free,(5)

Confound the ignorant, and amaze indeed

The very faculties of eyes and ears. Yet I,

A dull and muddy-mettled rascal, peak,

Like John-a-dreams, unpregnant of my cause,

And can say nothing. No, not for a king, (10)

Upon whose property and most dear life

A damned defeat was made. Am I a coward?

Who calls me villain? 

The lines “Yet I, / A dull and muddy-mettled rascal” are an example of all but which of the following literary devices?

Possible Answers:

Consonance

Assonance

Anaphora

Epithet

Alliteration

Correct answer:

Assonance

Explanation:

Here, we have assonance (repetition of vowel sounds) in “dull” and “muddy.” We also have consonance (repetition of consonant sounds) and alliteration (repetition of sounds at the beginning of words) in “muddy-mettled.” Lastly, this is an epithet, a short and somewhat scurrilous description of a character.

Passage adapted from William Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Hamlet Prince of Denmark. (1603)

Example Question #22 : Literary Terminology Describing Drama

RAPHAEL
The Sun, in ancient guise, competing 
With brother spheres in rival song, 
With thunder-march, his orb completing, 
Moves his predestin'd course along; 
His aspect to the powers supernal 
Gives strength, though fathom him none may;
Transcending thought, the works eternal 
Are fair as on the primal day. 

GABRIEL
With speed, thought baffling, unabating,
Earth's splendour whirls in circling flight; 
Its Eden-brightness alternating 
With solemn, awe-inspiring night; 
Ocean's broad waves in wild commotion,
Against the rocks' deep base are hurled; 
And with the spheres, both rock and ocean 
Eternally are swiftly whirled.

MICHAEL
And tempests roar in emulation
From sea to land, from land to sea,
And raging form, without cessation,
A chain of wondrous agency,
Full in the thunder's path careering,
Flaring the swift destructions play;
But, Lord, Thy servants are revering
The mild procession of thy day.

(1808)

The term "Eden-brightness" is an example of ________________.

Possible Answers:

hyperbole

analogy

allusion

paradox

synecdoche

Correct answer:

allusion

Explanation:

"Eden-like" is a reference to the Garden of Eden, described in the Book of Genesis. The author is contrasting the goodness and purity that the garden represents with the darkness and evil that entered the world with the sin of Adam and Eve. Thus, the reference is clearly a Biblical allusion.

Passage adapted from Johan von Goethe's Faust (1808)

Example Question #21 : Literary Terminology Describing 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.

An AA, BB, CC, etc., rhyme scheme begins at line 3. At what line is this rhyme scheme interrupted?

Possible Answers:

Line 3

Line 1

Line 17

Line 9

Line 13

Correct answer:

Line 13

Explanation:

Line 13, the beginning of Tybalt's lines, puts an abrupt end to the rhyme scheme of Romeo's monologue. Lines 3-12 are made up of a series of rhyming couplets. "Montague" at the end of Line 13, however, rhymes neither with the line that comes before it, nor with any line after it.

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

Example Question #23 : Literary Terminology Describing 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.

Lines 4-5 make use of what rhetorical device?

Possible Answers:

Simile

Metaphor

Synecdoche

Hyperbole

Metonymy

Correct answer:

Simile

Explanation:

A simile is a comparison between two things that uses the comparative words "like" or "as." When Romeo says "...she hangs upon the cheek of night / Like a rich jewel," he is using a simile. This is not a metaphor, because a metaphor is a comparison that does not use the words "like" or "as."

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

Example Question #24 : Literary Terminology Describing 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.

In line 1 of this passage, which of the following groups of syllables forms an anapest?

Possible Answers:

"--rich the hand"

"--dy is that" 

"What lady" 

"What la--" 

"which doth"

Correct answer:

"--dy is that" 

Explanation:

An anapest is a metrical foot consisting of two unstressed syllables followed by one stressed syllable. Some words that are examples of anapests include: "engineer" and "entertain."

Here is the line with stressed syllables in bold: "What lady is that which doth enrich the hand..." The only sequence of two unstressed syllables followed by a stressed syllable is "-dy is that"; this is an anapest. 

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

Example Question #25 : Literary Terminology Describing 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.

Lines 3-12 are an example of _____________.

Possible Answers:

soliloquy

hexameter

aside

monologue

parody

Correct answer:

monologue

Explanation:

A monologue is a speech of considerable length given by a character in a play. In a monologue, a character may contemplate something out loud, set forth an argument, admire something (as here), or give any other sort of window into their thoughts. The monologue is different from a soliloquy in that a soliloquy is a speech performed by a character who is completely alone on the stage.

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

Example Question #26 : Literary Terminology Describing 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.

In what meter is this passage written?

Possible Answers:

Dactylic hexameter

Iambic pentameter

Iambic tetrameter

Trochaic trimeter

Anapestic hexameter

Correct answer:

Iambic pentameter

Explanation:

This passage is written in iambic pentameter. The "meter" of a poem refers to the rhythm and quantity of syllables in each line.

"Pentameter" means that there are five metrical "feet" in each line. A metrical "foot" is a metrical unit of which any given meter is comprised. "Iambic" refers to the fact that most of the metrical feet in this poem are iambs. An iamb is a very common foot in English. It is comprised of one unstressed syllable followed by one stressed syllable.

Observe, for instance, this line, a series of five iambs in a row: "To strike him dead, I hold it not a sin" (line 18).

To say the passage is written in iambic pentameter does not mean there are no other metrical feet to be found (spondees, trochees), but that those are the exception and not the rule.

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

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