You’re encouraged to consult the essays from Dukore that we’ve read, going back to
Aristotle. Please cite all references. The author’s name (of the essay, not Dukore)
along with the page number in Dukore should appear in parentheses after a quotation.
Like this: (Schlegel 643)
Pay attention to the point total & the number of questions to answer in each group
below. Spend more time on those questions with higher point totals. There’s a total
of 210 possible points; I’ll grade you on a % basis. (i.e., 90/120 would be a grade of
I. Answer three questions in the following group. Each answer counts 10
a. What does Aristotle mean by a complex plot? Give an example of a
complex plot from a play that you know.
b. Aristotle says that pity and fear, the emotions aroused by a tragedy,
should result from the inner structure of the piece and not from ‘mere
spectacle’. What does he mean by this? Give an example from a play
that you know.
c. Where does the ‘rule’ that all plays should be written in five acts come
from? Who originally said this?
d. Identify the exact moment of catharsis in one of these plays: Antigone,
Electra, A Doll’s House, Phaedra (Racine), Hamlet. Explain why this is
the moment of catharsis.
II. Answer two questions from the following group. Each answer counts 15
a. Who said “. . . the man who mingles the useful with the sweet carries
the day by charming his reader and at the same time instructing him”? In
your own words, what was he saying?
b. Who said “Those who maintain that poetry was invented essentially for
utilitarian purposes, or for usefulness and delight together, should
beware of setting themselves against Aristotle’s authority”? In your own
words, what was he saying?
c. Do you think it’s necessary for a drama to be useful to be considered a
great drama? Explain.
d. Why does Shaw prefer the discussion to the gunshot or swordfight?
III. Answer three questions from the following group. Each answer counts 20
a. Compare and contrast what Aristotle, Horace, Castelvetro, Shaw and
Zola said about keeping horrible events off stage. What is your
opinion of depicting (or not) horrible events on stage?
b. Many of the critics we’ve read have noted that tragedy deals with
‘higher’ people, while comedy deals with ‘lower’ people. I’m putting
higher & lower in quotes because the critics do not necessarily use
these exact words. What in your view does this mean? In your
answer refer specifically to at least two critics and explain your
interpretation of them.
c. What are the arguments for and against the notion of a middle-class
tragedy? Is such a thing possible? Why or why not?
d. Explain clearly Freytag’s pyramid. In your own words, describe each
part of the pyramid as it applies to a play that you know well.
e. What would Zola think of Freytag’s pyramid? Your answer should
show a solid understanding of what each of them promoted as to the
best kind of play.