1. X wrote a play titled the Bride of Fort Edward and held that a little clique of disappointed and defeated politicians undertook to head and organize a popular opposition against the government and were compelled to retreat from that enterprise. Having failed politically, they turned to another means of promoting democratic ideals, a new Round Table, with Walter Raleigh, Edmund Spenser, Lord Buckhurst and the Earl of Oxford as knights, and Y as King Arthur. The works a, b and c offer sufficient internal proof for this set of ideas. X, Y and a,b,c.
ANSWER This is Delia Bacon’s reasoning for why Francis Bacon, and others, chose an undistinguished actor’s name as their collective pseudonym for writing the plays. The democracy theme is apparently most clearly advanced in Julius Caesar, King Lear and Coriolanus.
2. “ There is an upstart crow, beautified with our feathers, that with his Tiger’s heart wrapt in a player’s hide, supposes he is as well able to bombast out a blank verse as the best of you: and being an absolute Johannes fac totum, is in his own conceit, the best Shake-scene in a country.” Put fundae.
ANSWER One of the earliest proofs for Shakespeare having actually existed is this 1592 attack on his credentials by University Wit Robert Greene which includes a parodic reference to a line from Henry VI (“O tiger’s heart wrapt in a woman’s hide”).
3. Some people like to describe this play from the evening of Shakespeare’s career as ‘neither tragedy nor comedy but tragical-historical-comic-pastoral’. It features Jupiter descending on an eagle to hurl a couple of thunderbolts as also the song “ Golden lads and girls all must/As chimney-sweepers come to dust” . The accumulation of plot reversals, absurd coincidences ,and neat explanations irritated GB Shaw so much that he wrote a play titled ________ Refinished in 1937 to better exploit the possibilities of this Britain/Roman Empire story. Which play? and
4. The film Shakespeare in Love features X talking to the playwright after a staging of Romeo and Juliet, and asking him to come by afterwards “where we will speak some more”. This is merely one more speculation around an intimacy for which there is no real proof. Goes as far back as 1702, when John Dennis claimed that this was behind the creation of The Merry Wives of Windsor . Other people to have made unsubstantiated claims include Nicholas Rowe and GB Shaw who wrote w a whole play around this idea. Who is X? What speculation?
ANSWER Queen Elizabeth I. Sentiment has them in deep conversation on several occasions, or possibly flirting with each other. No proof.
5. This term was originally applied in the 19 th century to describe plays dealing with contemporary moral and social issues and has been used to describe the work of Ibsen, John Galsworthy and GB Shaw’s early efforts. In 1896, F.S. Boas used this term to describe the Shakespeare plays a, b and c, because they apparently brought a harshness not seen in any of his comedies to bear upon the interconnections between private and public morality. What term? Name the plays a, b and c—set in the French court, in Vienna and during the Trojan War respectively .
ANSWER Problem Plays. All’s Well That Ends Well, Measure for Measure and Troilus and Cressida.
6. Hazlitt dismissed this work as an ice-house for its excessively formal, ornamented nature. The story that inspired the work kept turning up as allusion in the plays. In Titus Andronicus, the outraging of Lavinia’s modesty is likened to this incident. Iachimo remembers the incident as he approaches imogen’s bed in Cymbeline . And Macbeth talks of Tarquin’s ravishing strides before he and his wife assassinate Duncan. Which work? What story?
ANSWER The Rape of Lucrece. The rape of Lucrece by the Roman king Tarquin, an act which led to Rome becoming a republic. Also alluded to somewhere in Julius Caesar.
7. Conjectures around the seven lost years have invariably centred around school-teaching, soldiery and law. WTF?
ANSWER What did Shakespeare do in the period 1585-1592? These answers are suggested based on the fact that a good number of Shakespeare’s metaphors are drawn from these fields and suggest close knowledge.
8. The value of this undertaking is to be gauged by the fact that Thomas Bodley refused, in 1612, to include plays in his library, describing them as ‘idle books and riff-raff’. This effort, published in 1623, was probably responsible for preserving 20 works which might have vanished otherwise. What work?
ANSWER The First Folio , a collection of the plays put together by the actors Heminges and Condell.
9. What term, borrowed from Biblical exegesis, is applied to the plays Two Noble Kinsmen, Locrine, Sir John Oldcastle Part I, Thomas,Lord Cromwell, The London Prodigal and A Yorkshire Tragedy ?
ANSWER Shakespeare Apocrypha, from the name for those books not accepted as representing God’s Word in the Bible.
10. British poet, dramatist and laureate Nahum Tate described this work as ‘a heap of unpolished jewels’ and insisted on reprieving the protagonist, reviving the good child, and cutting out the fool. This set of happy endings were observed till the 19 th century, when better sense prevailed and the lay was returned to its original, all-round misery. Which play?
13. Which play uses a scene almost entirely written in French—an English-learning exercise of sorts –to provide phonetic hi-jinks and doubly meant entertainment?
ANSWER Henry V . The French princess who is promised to him tries to learn the English for various body-parts.
14. According to literary lore, a mysterious youth is addressed in the first 126 while an equally mysterious woman occupies the remaining 28. What?
ANSWER Shakespeare’s Sonnets are addressed thus.
15. This storybook took shape in the 14 th century and travelled all over Europe. The title is misleading in that not all of the stories are set in the city that it refers to. The casket episode from one of the plays was probably lifted from this work. Which work? Which play?
ANSWER Gesta Romanorum and The Merchant of Venice
16. Gertrude says this, unconscious of the irony of the moment, as she watches the grief of the heroine in The Murder of Gonzago/The Mouse-trap, the play-within-the-play in Hamlet. What?
ANSWER “ Methinks the lady doth protest too much.”
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