Semester Exam study sheet
English 12 CP
Your exam will cover all the information from first semester, including research, literature, and some general writing questions. Here is a brief study guide. This does not take the place of your personal studies!
I. The Romans in England
II. Julius Caesar was actually in England, and the Romans founded Londinium. There is much architectural and archaeological evidence of their time in England. They left around 400 A.D.
III. Anglo-Saxon period
a. The culture and time period
King Arthur lived in this time period, and his identity is unclear.
shipwrecks (Sutton Hoo) and archaeological finds indicate that Anglo-Saxons were artistic people, though they also led violent lives.
b. Characteristics of Anglo-Saxon poetry
1. use of kennings
3. no rhyme
4. heavy rhythm
5. use of caesura
6. four beats per line
1. themes-fealty (loyalty), bravery, acceptance of responsibility and death as a natural part of life. Eternal struggle between good and evil.
2. know main characters and events
d. Terms (know definition and example)
long narrative poem (tells a story)
involves history of a nation or race or people
includes great battles
high formal language
3. caesura-a pause after 2nd beat
4. scop-oral story-teller, singer, chanter of verse (synonym for bard)
5. alliteration-repetition of consonant sounds
6. consonants-(letters that are not vowels) Why do you think the Anglo-Saxons wrote poems that repeated the same sound in a line?
7. Wyrd-idea of Fate and its controlling influence in our lives. How does the idea of Wyrd show up in Macbeth?
IV. Medieval Times
William the Conqueror and the Battle of Hastings-1066
This battle changed England forever. It marks the “beginning” of English history from the standpoint of one united country (as opposed to the 7 Anglo-Saxon kingdoms)
a. Chaucer-wrote the Canterbury Tales around 1385
1. Why is Chaucer an important writer? – He offers us a detailed picture of his Medieval world; also, he wrote in English (as opposed to French or Latin). The Canterbury Tales were one of the first works to be printed on the printing press (brought to England by William Caxton). This was a tremendously significant event for the world!
2. What effect did the printing press have on English spelling?
b. Thomas Becket (also known as Thomas a Becket or St. Thomas)
1. His quarrel with Henry
2. The place of his martyrdom provided a setting for the Canterbury pilgrims
c. Canterbury Tales-The general prologue gives us a description of the characters, and then they tell their stories. Chaucer never finished them (his plan was to write 4 for each pilgrim). Chaucer put himself into the story not only as the narrator but as a character that becomes fascinated with the group and decides to go with them.
1. Why the Canterbury Tales are important: in English, about the English.
2. Characters/stereotypes-who is represented in the group? What are these people like?
3. Who are the pilgrims? Church people, often hypocrites and crooks. Chaucer was highlighting the hypocrisy of the mediaeval church in general. He was also showing some honest men, and discussing the role of women in society, the relationships between the sexes, etc.
4. The relationship of the characters to their stories. (take the Pardoner, for example). How do the characters fit their tale?
1. Feudalism, social rank
V. Renaissance- Macbeth and Hamlet
a. Macbeth-written in 1606 for the new king, James I.
b. Characters-know all the characters and their personality traits. Know which ones were which (for ex, who was Duncan’s son, who was the messenger, etc.). Know the ultimate fate of each.
c. Plot/action/sequence of events-It would prob help to go through and make a brief list of events in the play and review the action itself.
d. Some quotes and paraphrases from the play, and it will help if you know which character WOULD have said such a thing. Who, for example, suspects Macbeth of “foul play”? Who talks of the strange events in nature that happened the night of Duncan’s murder? Who believes her husband is “too full of the milk of human kindness” to commit murder. (By the way, do you think Macbeth ever WAS too kind-hearted of a person to commit murder? Did the witches’ prophecies bring out some formerly unknown evil side to Macbeth?)
e. themes—think about the various “ideas” in the play: loyalty and betrayal; fate vs. free will; guilt and how it affects people; greed and its effects on an otherwise good person; the question of what makes a good leader (is Duncan a good leader? is Macbeth? do you think Malcolm will be?); the idea of manhood. These are all themes found in Macbeth.
f. motifs—a motif is a pattern, and a motif can be found in music, in fabric, in literature. It is a type of repetition of an idea, an image, etc. There are various ideas repeated throughout Macbeth—darkness (evil) and light (good), for example, the idea of blood is mentioned countless times throughout the play, the notion of revenge (is it ever justified?), the image of seed and planting (Shakespeare depicts Scotland as a place where the “weeds”—including Macbeth himself-- grow rampant in many places)—Duncan talks of “planting” Banquo and Macbeth and “nurturing” them, as one would a plant; illness as a physical manifestation of mental suffering
g. Hamlet: review the events of the play and know their sequence. Know themes, character traits, and the role and fate of all characters.
h. Quotes from Hamlet. What do they indicate about the characters? What are they saying (certain quotes).
i. Know events in Hamlet and why they happened. i.e., Why does Hamlet kill Polonius? Why is Ophelia denied a Christian burial? Why doesn’t Polonius approve of Hamlet as a suitor for his daughter? Why is Laertes angry at Claudius?
k. foil characters
p. Renaissance Man
Writing terms: thesis, first person, second person, bibliography, Works Cited, plagiarism