Reading Comprehension Quiz


[A new interlinear poem will be available each Monday: Weekly Interlinear Poem .]

Use the dictionary, the acronym finder, and the word origins dictionary (links above) as needed. A new quiz is available each Monday through Thursday. This is the quiz for November 25.


Shakespeare's so-called "tragic period" lasted from about 1600 to 1608. Many critics believe that his greatest tragedies are the peak of his art. The hero of the first, Hamlet, has probably been more discussed than any other Shakespearean character, especially for his famous soliloquy "To be or not to be; that is the question." Unlike the introverted Hamlet, whose fatal flaw is hesitation, the heroes of the tragedies that followed, Othello and King Lear, are undone by hasty errors of judgment. The plots of Shakespeare's tragedies often hinge on such fatal errors or flaws, which overturn order and destroy the hero and those he loves. In Othello, the villain Iago stokes Othello's sexual jealousy to the point where he murders the innocent wife who loves him. In King Lear, the old king commits the tragic error of giving up his powers, initiating the events which lead to the murder of his daughter and the torture and blinding of the Earl of Gloucester. According to the critic Frank Kermode, "the play offers neither its good characters nor its audience any relief from its cruelty." In Macbeth, the shortest and most compressed of Shakespeare's tragedies, uncontrollable ambition incites Macbeth and his wife, Lady Macbeth, to murder the rightful king and usurp the throne. They are destroyed in turn. His last major tragedies, Antony and Cleopatra and Coriolanus, contain some of Shakespeare's finest poetry and were considered his most successful tragedies by the poet and critic T. S. Eliot.

1. Hamlet's fatal flaw is
A. ambition.
B. hesitation.
C. poor judgment.
D. cruelty.
2. The shortest of Shakespeare's tragedies is
A. King Lear.
B. Hamlet.
C. Macbeth.
D. Antony and Cleopatra.
3. A soliloquy is
A. speaking one's thoughts aloud when alone.
B. an angry speech.
C. reflecting on one's problems.
D. an expression of hopelessness.
4. Coriolanus is
A. a play written early in Shakespeare's career.
B. from his middle period.
C. from the early part of Shakespeare's "tragic period."
D. among the last tragedies that Shakespeare wrote.


The information comes from Wikipedia.

Write down your answers and then see Answer Key below.


























Answer Key: 1-B.........2-C..........3-A..........4-D
Corrections? Questions? Comments? E-mail Robert Jackson at robert15115@gmail.com.