Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Thursday Quiz LIV

The Thursday Quiz!

The Thursday Quiz is an "Is It or Isn't It" game. From the list of twelve items, your job is to determine whether each IS or ISN'T a true example of the week's category.

Remember always that "to be or not to be that?" is the question. Also:

No research, Googling, Wikiing, or use of reference books. The Thursday Quiz is a POP quiz. Violators will be hoist on their own petard.
This Week's Category creeps in this petty pace from day to day to the last syllable of recorded time!

Shakespeare Plots

This week, the Thursday Quiz presents some of the greatest plays of the Immortal Bard, shortened to a manageable length for today's busy lifestyles. Which plays have I summarized more or less accurately? And which have I converted from hawk to handsaw?

1. All's Well that Ends Well -- Helena, the orphaned daughter of a physician, lives in the home of the Countess of Rossillion and is secretly in love with the Countess's son, Bertram. She cures the King of France of a disease, then asks for Bertram's hand in marriage. Bertram flees to a war in Italy in order to avoid marriage. Helena goes on what is ostensibly a pilgrimage and ends up in Florence, where she meets Bertram's new flame Diana. Helena sleeps with Bertram while Bertram believes he is sleeping with Diana, and thereby bags her man.

2. As You Like It -- Diago, an ensign in the Venetian army who really dislikes his General, maliciously schemes against him. He tries to make trouble between the General and his powerful father-in-law, and then tricks the General into believing that his wife is having an affair with his best buddy. Eventually, the hapless General commands the assassination of his pal and kills his innocent wife himself. But things don't turn out too well for Diago, either.

3. Henry V -- Henry, Duke of Gloucester, wants to be king, but so many other people are in his way! What to do? He has his brother George arrested for treason and then killed. King Edward IV, the third brother, hearing of George's death and takes ill and dies. Henry has his little nephews, Edward's heirs, confined in the Tower, ostensibly for safe-keeping. Edward IV's widow, Elizabeth, mistrusts Henry and is proved right when he also has HER brothers executed. Then he kills the nephews! He's king! Then he kills his wife. But by then, he has made quite a few enemies and they come and kill him.

4. Macbeth -- The King of Scotland is dead and has been succeeded by his brother Claudius. Claudius has also married Gertrude, the widowed Queen. The prince, Gertrude's son, is already distressed by his father's death and the hasty remarriage. When his father's ghost appears to announce that he was murdered by Claudius, the prince vows revenge. To cover his intentions, he feigns madness.

5. The Merchant of Venice -- Bassanio, a young Venetian, is determined to woo the wealthy heiress Portia. He needs some dosh to pull this off, and asks his rich buddy Antonio to lend him the money. Antonio has some cash flow issues, so borrows the cash from a moneylender, Shylock. Shylock doesn't much like Antonio, so offers him an interest-free loan that carries a nasty late penalty: a pound of flesh. Death, basically. For a while, it looks like Antonio will have to pay the penalty, but eventually everything turns out fine.

6. Othello -- A Moorish general gets talked into killing the king and assuming the throne by his ambitious wife. Then, they decide that he needs to kill off a few more people who would also like to be king, or people who correctly suspect him of having murdered his predecessor. Eventually, a competitor shows up with a big army and, much to his surprise -- some dodgy witches implied that he was invulnerable -- does him in.

7. Pericles -- Greek populist Oripides offers a crown to Pericles. Although Pericles turns it down, fear that he is becoming too powerful leads several Athenian leaders, including the highly respected Achilles, to plot his assassination. Disregarding his wife's prophetic dream, Pericles goes to the Agora and is killed. In rabble-rousing speeches, Achilles and Oripides present contrasting views of the conspirators' motives. The people turn against the conspirators, who are forced to flee Athens. Beset by Oripides' army and haunted by Pericles' ghost, Achilles agrees to take his army to serve in the Trojan War.

8. The Taming of the Shrew -- Katherine, a young woman of Padua, needs to be married off so that her beautiful little sister, Bianca, can get hitched. While much wooing of Bianca is going on, a poor poet named Petruchio arrives in town. Petruchio sees that Katherine, who is thought of as abrasive, is actually a kind-hearted person who lacks opportunities to express her intelligence. He becomes her tutor, and the two of them conspire to make people think he has "tamed" her. This allows Katherine, no longer stigmatized as a "shrew," to marry the Duke of Padua; in gratitude, her father grants Petruchio Bianca's hand in marriage.

9. The Tempest -- Prospero, former Duke of Milan, has been exiled to an island where he lives quietly with his daughter Miranda, an enslaved supernatural being named Caliban, a spirit named Ariel, and his books. When his enemies sail by the island, Prospero uses magic to raise a storm and shipwreck them. The castaways wander the island, enduring all sorts of tests and mischief set up for them by Prospero. Some of them scheme with Caliban against Prospero, futilely. A handsome prince, Ferdinand, falls in love with Miranda. Everyone is reconciled in the end, and Prospero gives up magic since it's kind of sacrilegious.

10. Titus Andronicus -- Titus Andronicus, Rome's most honored general, returns from wars against the Goths with their Queen Tamora and her sons as captives. He sacrifices her eldest son; she vows revenge. Once she becomes empress through various twists and turns, her two remaining sons rape and horrifically mutilate Titus' daughter; he vows revenge. He eventually gets it by killing the two sons and serving them to their mom in a pie. Then pretty much everyone else gets killed too.

11. Two Gentlemen of Verona -- Geronto and Marcello, the titular gentlemen of Verona, enter into a bet to see who can woo the most beautiful woman. After predictable hijinks, Geronto falls in love with a beautiful but anonymous actress at the palace theater, and Marcello is smitten by a young shepherdess he sees in the countryside. Neither can work up the nerve to approach their loves, but each brags publically of bawdy make-out sessions in order to claim the bet. Unfortunately for the gentlemen, both of the women are in fact the same woman: the young Queen, who goes out in disguise to escape the tedium of palace life. When the King hears of their boasts, they are condemned to death -- but when the whole story comes out, the King and Queen are more flattered than angry, and they are granted a full pardon.

12. The Winter's Tale -- Viola and her twin brother Sebastian have been shipwrecked, and Viola believes Sebastian to be drowned. Viola disguises herself as a boy and, calling herself "Cesario," enters the service of Duke Orsino. The Duke sends Cesario to woo the lady Olivia on his behalf but Olivia falls in love with the attractive 'boy' instead. Meanwhile, Sebastian turns out to still be alive and, since he looks a lot like his sister, hinjinks ensue. Olivia meets Sebastian and, mistaking him for Cesario, arranges for them to be secretly married. Other people are also confused by meeting “Cesario” unexpectedly. Orsino is furious at the apparent falseness of his page, but eventually true identities are revealed and Orsino recognizes his love for Viola.


Post your answers in the comments.

Note: These summaries -- the true ones, anyway -- have been vetted and approved by an actual, real-life Shakespeare scholar, for your protection.

18 comments:

Yankee in England said...

I refuse to supply my answers for this quiz as you did not post your weight yesterday. I am fully aware of the cosequences this may incure and I do not hold you or any member of the M5K family or readership responsible. You however should be ashamed of yourself, ashamed I say.

gS49 said...

Wow--I'm the first up!

1 right
2 wrong (it's Othello)
3 wrong (Richard III)
4 wrong (Hamlet)
5 right
6 wrong (Macbeth)
7 wrong (Julius Caesar)
8 wrong, starting half-way thru
9 right
10 right
11 wrong (don't recognize it)
12 wrong (12th Night)

d said...

holy crap. it's been a long time since high school m5k. my brain hurts. hang on just a second.

ok. here goes:
1. close enough
2. no
3. no isn't this richard?
4. no hamlet
5. yep
6. no, macbeth
7. i've never even heard of pericles, i'll say sure
8. well, kind of. i don't think she marries in the end, right? so, no.
9. yep
10. yep
11. no
12. no

Rex Parker said...

1. yea
2. No
3. That's RIII
4. That's Hamlet
5. yea
6. that's Macbeth (-ish)
7. crap. don't know this play well. Time line seems wrong: no
8. yea
9. yea
10. yea
11. ugh ... plausible. But "Geronto?" No.
12. nay

Elizabeth said...

1. Yes.
2. No. Poorly disguised Othello.
3. Yes.
4. No. That's Hamlet.
5. Yes.
6. No, that's Macbeth.
7. No, that's Julius Caesar.
8. No, no, no. At least not after the first sentence.
9. I used to have brother and sister pair of cats named Miranda and Caliban. Yes.
10. Yes. I think so, anyway. Must be one of his riffs on Greek tragedy, where they were always doing things like that.
11. No, but your plays sounds like fun, too.
12. No, that's Twelfth Night.

Critical Bill said...

1.Yes
2. No (Othello)
3. No (Richard III)
4. No (Hamlet)
5. Yes
6. No (Macbeth)
7. No
8. No
9. Yes
10. I'll say yes. All I can remember of this play wholesale carnage and death so this description is at least plausible.
11. No
12. No--Exit, chased by a bear.

karmaSartre said...

Never heard of this author, but, good sport that I am, I'll play along....

1/ Sounds right, what with the "bagging" at the end.
2/ No, this is the plot of a 1983 episode of General Hospital.
3/ No, I'm thinking the only Henry was the 8th.
4/ No.
5/ About time for a "yes".
6/ No. The game I played was much different.
7/ I suppose so.
8/ I suppose not.
9/ The name Clapper rings a bell. Yes.
10/ No. Two sons cannot fit in a pie.
11/ No. No. How do you count double negatives?
12/ Yes time again.

Now, I can google...want to check "hawk to handsaw". I was hoping for the one where Emma Thompson sings "Hey Nonny Nonny" as I might have actually recognized that one. M5, there is something you, with your wonderful imagination, should guard against: as we age, the boundary between fantasy memories and real ones gets hazier. There comes a point when you remember both versions of an incident, and then another point where you lose track of which was the real one. I'm just saying....

mrs.5000 said...

1 Um, not sure, but I came back to it with lots of no's--yes.
2 That's not a comedy, that's a thinly disguised board game! No
3 No, no. War movie, then England and France "meet cute."
4 Working title: "Something's Rotten in Scotland" No
5 Yes!
6 There's Macbeth. No
7 Pericles? I dunno Pericles, but that's Caesar salad. No
8 Sounds good at the beginning, but there's no bait-and-switch. P marries K. No
9 And Caliban sails to the New World, and finds work as a largely charming housecat at Castle5000. Yes!
10 Yes. One of the more troubling comedies.
11 I know nothing about this play. Sounds good. But where's the double wedding at the end? No
12 That would be, um, 12th Night. No

Cartophiliac said...

1. is - maybe....
2. isn't - sounds like Othello
3. isn't - sounds like Richard III
4. isn't - that's Hamlet
5. is
6. isn't - sigh.. that's Macbeth
7. is - don't know that play, but sounds probable
8. isn't - started out ok, then veered off course.
9. is
10. is - never seen or read it, but I gather it is Bill's bloodiest play...
11. is - a guess, dunno that one.
12. isn't - that's the plot of one of the comedies, forget which one.

Cartophiliac said...

Duh! Pericles is Julius Caesar. I'm embarassed.

Melissa said...

With an MA in English Lit, I feel compelled to answer this week's quiz. Hopefully I don't embarrass myself too much!

1. Is
2. Isn't
3. Isn't
4. Isn't
5. Is
6. Isn't
7. Isn't
8. Is
9. Is
10. Is
11. Is
12. Isn't

You must have had fun writing these plot summaries!

boo said...

Please be in time, please be in time.

1. Is
2. Isn't
3. Isn't
4. Isn't
5. Is
6. Isn't
7. Isn't
8. Isn't
9. Is
10. Is
11. Isn't
12. Isn't

Btw, I did not cheat, but I do have the complete works of Shakespeare on my phone. I have used it, but only to show people that I have it. How silly. But I am keeping it anyway. Long lines will be metered now.

Michael5000 said...

OK, listen up!

1. All's Well... -- YES.

2. As You Like It -- NO. A "poorly disguised Othello," as one snotty commenter has it.

3. Henry V -- NO. A poorly disguised Richard III.

4. Macbeth -- NO. A poorly disguised Hamlet.

5. Merchant of Venice -- YES.

6. Othello -- NO. A poorly disguised Macbeth.

7. Pericles -- NO. A poorly disguised Julius Caesar.

8. Taming... -- NO. This is a michael5000ed version of "Taming" without the psychological torture bits.

9. Tempest -- YES.

10. Titus -- YES.

11. Two Gentlemen -- NO. My own creation.

12. Winter's Tale -- NO. A poorly-disguised Twelfth Night.

Michael5000 said...

Can I just say, how 'bout them Beavers?

Michael5000 said...

Anyway: Fabulous showings all around this week, making me feel kinda embarassed for having underestimated all y'all's Shakespearian chops. You had to be perfect to take home metal this week. Here goes:

First over the line was the always-dangerous gs49. With his or her (I forget) fourth Gold, gs moves into a tie for second on the all time Gold Star winnings list. The win also makes gs49 the sixth person to win back-to-back Golds (but the first person since Carto did it back in TQXXIV & XXV). Nobody has ever bagged three Golds in a row.

Critical Bill bags the Silver, his second.

And the lovely Mrs.5000 snags the Blue Star. It's her 17th Star, keeping her in the third spot on the all-time winnings list -- but it is her first ever Blue. At long last, she joins the elite list of Quiz Legends with a complete set of stars -- in her case, seven apiece of Silver and Green, a pair of Golds, and a shiny new Blue.

Congratulations to all and thanks for playing the Quiz. Thanks also to long-time reader Jennifer for proofing my summaries, and of course to my man Will for penning the most influential texts in the English language.

Michael5000 said...


@Yank: Thanks for noticeing. My weight was -- surprisingly, after a calorie-intensive family get-together and a week of forced inactivity -- down 5 lbs to 211, which was exactly at plan. The ankle is healing well, and I plan to return to light exercise on Monday. Diet Cola consumption continues at plan.

@Elizabeth: You know our live cat is named Caliban, right?

@Bill: Titus is awesome! It's always listed as the "bad Shakespeare play," but that's nonsense. It's just an unexpected foray into action-adventure. Lotsa gore, though, so not for the frail.

Oh, nice Winter's Tale citation.

@karma: See, it's a BIG pie.

@Mrs.5000: Troubling comedies indeed. I know you like a good troubling comedy...

@Carto: I come not to praise Cartophiliac this week, but....

@Melissa: Oh my GOD I had fun writing the summaries. Especially Shrew and Two Gentlemen. This was probably my favoritest Quiz ever.

@boo: I need to stop being confused when people say things like "I have the complete works of Shakespeare on my phone." I have one of those antique phones that you can only talk through. Or not talk through, if you're me and hate phones. Anyway, it's a cool thing to have on your phone.

gS49 said...

him
I'm him, uh, he.

HIM!@!

gS49

and thank you

G said...

How, how, how did I miss this one? As a former drama major, I am annoyed at myself. I am even more annoyed at myself that I probably would not have gotten all that many of them right. Sigh.