SAT II Literature : Support and Evidence: Drama

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT II Literature

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Example Questions

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Example Question #31 : Support And Evidence

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? 

In this passage, to whom is Hamlet comparing himself?

Possible Answers:

Has accused Hamlet of being a coward

Has more of a claim to vengeance than Hamlet

Has implored Hamlet to say nothing about the “damned defeat” (line 12)

Has a more active response to being wronged than Hamlet

Has been accused by Hamlet of being a villain

Correct answer:

Has a more active response to being wronged than Hamlet

Explanation:

In this passage, Hamlet describes his own passive response to being wronged: “unpregnant of my cause, / [I] can say nothing” (lines 9-10). He contrasts this response with a more dramatic response: “He would drown the stage with tears / And cleave the general ear with horrid speech, / Make mad the guilty and appal the free” (lines 3-5).

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

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