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English 225 Midterm Study-Guide


I’m not going to try to trick you on the midterm. I want to see, overall, that you’ve read the material and thought carefully about some of the topics we’ve discussed.


Moreover, you are allowed to bring a single 3x5 notecard to the midterm. I would suggest you write outlines for the essay topics on the notecard instead of IDs, but that’s up to you. I’ve had students print things in tiny font and then glue that onto a notecard, that’s fine. Do what works for you.


For the midterm, you should know:


Multiple Choice [20 points, at 2 points each]: I’m going to ask you a few basic questions about the texts we’ve read, all of which information is on our class website on the notes. For example, you should know what the different genres in Shakespeare are (comedies, histories, and tragedies). You should know what a soliloquy and an aside is.


Identifications [40 points, at 8 points each]: I will give you seven passages, of which you only have to identify five. For the IDs you’ll need to say:

  • What the text’s title is

  • Who is speaking

  • What is happening/the context surrounding that moment (so that if I give you a speech by Katherine, you would say, “Katherine has been tamed and is speaking to Bianca and the Widow about wifely duty.”).


Two Short Essay Questions [20 points each]: I’m hoping you’ll get to three paragraphs a piece for these, though I realize that you might not have time, so try your best. I’m not grading for length so much as for content here. AND I’m giving you the essay options now. Of these, remember that you only have to do two. Additionally, I’m hoping that you will utilize at least SOME of your notecard to record a quote or two from the text to use in your essays.


  1. Describe the ways in which power is defined and used in two of the plays we’ve read this semester. Such an essay might compare Richard III to Julius Caesar or Titus Andronicus.

  2. What is the genre of comedy and how does Shakespeare play with/manipulate that genre in one of his plays? What expectations does he defy or trouble?

  3. How important is the environment in one of the plays we’ve read this semester?

  4. How do marginalized characters (characters of color, women, the lower-classes) respond to their position? For this response you might compare two marginalized characters or discuss just one.

  5. What is Shakespeare’s take on the distinction between love and lust/infatuation? Have we witnessed any true love in the plays we’ve read?

  6. Pick a rhetorical device (curses, metaphor, funerary speech) and analyze how it operates in one or more plays.  

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