Thursday, June 7, 2012

Brush Up Your Shakespeare

Got an email awhile back from an old high school buddy, Tom, that put a big old grin on my face.

Senior year, Tom and I were classmates in AP English. Our teacher, Mrs. Fellenbaum, was a fine teacher if a bit stuffy at times. Of course, we studied Shakespeare, and Mrs. Fellenbaum was notorious for throwing pop “Quote Quizzes” at us in which she would list several important lines from whichever play we were studying at the time, and we had to respond with the name of the character whose line it was. I should say, usually they were important lines. On occasion she would throw in a quote that verged on the obscure, often as an extra-credit question at the end.

Being seniors, and therefore being smart-asses, Tom and I seized on the obscure and set about creating the most impossible Quote Quiz we could create, with the intention of challenging Mrs. Fellenbaum to complete it. The play of the moment was MacBeth, which lent itself very well to our purposes. Mrs. Fellenbaum loved what we created, and in a rare moment of teacher-student collusion, decided that she would run off copies and hand it out at the beginning of the next class as though it were just another Quote Quiz. Even though we had quite clearly titled the thing “A Quiet, Quaint, Quick, Quippy Quote Quiz (MacBeth, Acts I & II),” and further noted that it had been created by “Bryan and Tom's Quiet, Quaint, Quick, Quippy Quote Quizzes and Salad Bar,” (yes, we were geeks – funny geeks, but geeks nonetheless), looks of panic still immediately crossed the faces of our classmates upon receiving the quiz. It only took a moment for a few perceptive folk to catch on, but those few seconds of sheer terror on everyone's faces were so worth it.

Tom's email arrived about a week ago, with the subject line “Remember This?” It contained only a photo of what must be one of the only remaining copies of the 5-Q Quiz (I'm not typing that out again!), but it brought me a laugh once again, a quarter century later. (Old. I'm OLD I tell you.) Tom tells me he still has the answer key as well, and so I challenge those of you who think you know your Shakespeare to see how many you can actually answer. They are all actual lines from the Acts I and II of MacBeth – no fakes here. No cheating now...

A Quiet, Quaint, Quick, Quippy Quote Quiz (MacBeth, Acts I & II)
©1985, Bryan & Tom's Quiet, Quaint, Quick, Quippy Quote Quizzes and Salad Bar
Who said these quotes from Acts I & II of MacBeth?
  1. Well contented.” ____________________
  2. Donalbain.” ____________________
  3. When?” ____________________
  4. And so do I.” ____________________
  5. Very gladly.” ____________________
  6. Woe, alas!” ____________________
  7. And I another.” ____________________
  8. What's the matter?” ____________________
  9. Welcome hither.” ____________________
  10. Now.” ____________________
BONUS! - In Act II, Banquo, in his third line, says, “Take thee that too!” Explain in full detail what he means, to whom he said it, and what the implications would have been had he said it in Chapter 7 of Dickens' David Copperfield. Limit your response to 46 words. Points will be deducted for use of slide rules, magnetic compasses, plumbing tools, or the Oracle at Delphi.

Submit your answers in the comments field below; once Tom digs up the answer key I'll let you know how you did. There might even be a prize for the person who gets the most correct answers. Probably not, but maybe!

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