British Poetry and Drama – 14th to 17th Century
BEGC 104 Solved Free Assignment 2023
BEGC 104 Solved Free Assignment January 2023
Write short notes on the following in about 200 words each.
Q a) Cultural Materialism
Ans. Cultural Materialism is a theoretical framework in cultural studies that examines how economic and social conditions shape cultural production and reproduction.
It emerged in the 1970s as a response to traditional forms of cultural analysis, which were seen as too focused on the ideas and beliefs of individuals and not sufficiently attuned to the broader social and historical contexts in which they were situated.
Cultural Materialists argue that culture is not an autonomous sphere of human activity but is instead embedded within and shaped by the material and economic conditions of society.
They examine how cultural practices and representations are shaped by the social relations of production, which include things like class, race, gender, and sexuality.
At its core, Cultural Materialism is concerned with the relationship between culture and power. BEGC 104 Solved Free Assignment 2023
It seeks to understand how cultural practices and representations are used to maintain and reproduce the social and economic status quo, as well as how they can be subverted and used to challenge dominant power structures.
One of the key figures in the development of Cultural Materialism was Raymond Williams, who argued that culture is a “whole way of life” that includes not only art and literature but also everyday practices and customs.
He emphasized the importance of understanding how cultural practices are rooted in specific social and historical contexts, and how they are shaped by larger economic and political forces.
Another important thinker in the field is Stuart Hall, who developed the concept of encoding and decoding to explain how meaning is produced and received in cultural texts.
He argued that cultural texts are encoded with meaning by their producers, but that this meaning is then decoded and interpreted by audiences in ways that are shaped by their own social and cultural experiences.
Cultural Materialism has been applied to a wide range of cultural forms, from literature and art to film, music, and popular culture.
It has been particularly influential in the study of media, where scholars have used its insights to examine how the production and consumption of media texts are shaped by larger economic and political structures.
Overall, Cultural Materialism offers a powerful framework for understanding the complex ways in which culture is produced, consumed, and contested within larger social and economic contexts. BEGC 104 Solved Free Assignment 2023
By examining the relationship between culture and power, it offers a critical perspective on the role that culture plays in reproducing and challenging dominant forms of social and economic inequality.
Ans (B) The Renaissance was a period of cultural, artistic, and intellectual growth that began in Italy during the 14th century and spread throughout Europe until the 17th century.
The word “Renaissance” means “rebirth” in French, indicating the revival of the classical ideals of ancient Greece and Rome.
This period marked a shift from the medieval period, with its focus on religion and superstition, to a renewed interest in humanism, science, and individualism.
The Renaissance was a time of great innovation and creativity in art, literature, and science. It was a time when artists and scholars were encouraged to explore new ideas and to develop their talents. BEGC 104 Solved Free Assignment 2023
This period saw the rise of great artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael, who produced works that are still admired and studied today.
The Renaissance was also a time of great scientific advancement. Scholars such as Galileo Galilei and Nicolaus Copernicus made groundbreaking discoveries in the fields of astronomy, physics, and mathematics.
These discoveries challenged long-held beliefs and paved the way for new ways of thinking about the world.
One of the most important aspects of the Renaissance was the emphasis on individualism. People were encouraged to think for themselves and to question authority.
This led to a greater appreciation of human potential and a renewed interest in education.
The printing press, invented in the mid-15th century, made books more widely available, leading to increased literacy and a greater dissemination of knowledge.
The Renaissance also had a significant impact on religion. The Protestant Reformation, which began in the early 16th century, was a response to the corruption and abuses of the Catholic Church.
This led to the formation of new Protestant denominations and a greater emphasis on personal faith and individual interpretation of the Bible.
Answer the following reference to the context in about 300 words each:
a) That wear this world out to the ending doom.
So, till the judgement that yourself arise,
You live in this, and dwell in lover’s eyes.
Ans. The given lines are from Sonnet 55 written by William Shakespeare. The sonnet belongs to the series of sonnets numbered between 1 and 126 and is often referred to as the Fair Youth series. BEGC 104 Solved Free Assignment 2023
In this particular sonnet, the speaker addresses an unknown young man, praising him for his beauty and stating that despite the wear and tear of the world, the beauty of the young man will remain forever in the memory of people who love him.
The reference to “wear this world out to the ending doom” suggests that the world is subjected to decay and destruction, and everything in it is transient, including the physical beauty of people.
However, the speaker suggests that the young man can escape this fate and live eternally in the memory of his beloved.
The phrase “ending doom” carries a sense of finality and inevitability, which emphasizes the idea that all things in the world, including the world itself, are subject to an ultimate end.BEGC 104 Solved Free Assignment 2023
The phrase “till the judgement that yourself arise” refers to the final judgement day in Christianity when God will pass his judgment on all souls.
The speaker suggests that the young man should enjoy his life on earth until the day he will face God’s judgment.
The use of the word “yourself” suggests that the young man is responsible for his own fate and that he has the power to shape his destiny through his actions on earth.
The final line, “You live in this, and dwell in lover’s eyes,” emphasizes the idea that the young man’s beauty will be remembered forever, especially by those who love him.
The line suggests that love is a force that can transcend time and death and preserve the beauty of the beloved forever.
The phrase “dwell in lover’s eyes” suggests that the young man’s beauty will be remembered not just by himself but by all those who have loved him.
The use of the word “dwell” suggests a sense of permanence, which reinforces the idea that the young man’s beauty will remain immortalized in the memory of those who have loved him.
Overall, these lines from Sonnet 55 express the idea that the beauty of the young man will remain immortalized in the memory of those who have loved him, even after the end of the world. BEGC 104 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Shakespeare’s use of imagery and language evokes a sense of finality and inevitability, emphasizing the transient nature of the world and the power of love to transcend time and death.
b) Call country ants to harvest offices,
Love, all alike, no reason knows, nor clime,
Nor hours, days, months, which are the
rags of time.
Ans. The quoted lines are from John Donne’s poem “The Sun Rising”. The speaker in the poem is addressing the sun, chiding it for interrupting his time with his lover. The lines refer to the power of love, which transcends time, space, and reason.
The speaker asserts that love is not bound by any physical or temporal constraints, and that it is as strong and powerful as nature itself.
The phrase “call country ants to harvest offices” is a metaphorical reference to the mundane and routine tasks of daily life, which can be performed by anyone, including the lowliest of creatures.
In contrast, love is portrayed as a force that is beyond the reach of such mundane concerns, and is capable of elevating human experience to a higher plane.
The speaker suggests that love is not something that can be measured or quantified, and that it is not subject to the ravages of time, which is referred to as “the rags of time”. BEGC 104 Solved Free Assignment 2023
The line “Love, all alike, no reason knows, nor clime” is an expression of the universal nature of love, which is not limited by geography or culture, nor is it subject to rational analysis or explanation.
The sentiment expressed in these lines is characteristic of the Renaissance period, which was marked by a renewed interest in human emotions, and a rejection of the narrow rationalism of the Middle Ages.
c) Stay, you imperfect speakers, tell me more.
By Sinel’s death I know I am Thane of
But how of Cawdor? The Thane of Cawdor
Ans. These lines are from Act I, Scene 3 of William Shakespeare’s play “Macbeth”. The scene begins with the witches chanting their famous line, “Double, double toil and trouble,” and then Macbeth and Banquo enter.
The witches prophesize that Macbeth will be Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor, and then king.
After they disappear, Macbeth and Banquo discuss the prophecies, and Macbeth wonders how he could be Thane of Cawdor since the current Thane of Cawdor is still alive.BEGC 104 Solved Free Assignment 2023
The lines, “Stay, you imperfect speakers, tell me more” refer to Macbeth’s desire to know more about the prophecies.
He addresses the witches as “imperfect speakers” because their predictions are not yet fully clear to him. Macbeth is intrigued by the witches’ prophecy and wants to know more about his future.
These lines highlight Macbeth’s curiosity and ambition. He is eager to learn more about the prophecies and his future, indicating his desire for power and success.
It also foreshadows Macbeth’s later actions in the play, as he becomes consumed with his own ambition and willing to do whatever it takes to achieve it.
The lines also emphasize the supernatural element of the play, as Macbeth seeks knowledge from witches and their prophesies.
Q 1. How do you interpret the role of the witches in Macbeth?
Ans. The witches in Shakespeare’s Macbeth are some of the most iconic and mysterious characters in all of literature. They first appear in Act I, Scene 1 and set the tone for the entire play with their ominous predictions for Macbeth’s future.
Throughout the play, the witches appear at various moments to offer more predictions and to stir up trouble. BEGC 104 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Their role in the play is complex and multi-layered, and there is no single interpretation of their significance.
However, there are several key ways in which the witches can be interpreted, and these are explored below.
The first and most obvious way to interpret the role of the witches in Macbeth is as supernatural agents of fate.
From their first appearance, they are presented as powerful and otherworldly figures who have control over the destiny of mortals.
They speak in riddles and use ambiguous language to convey their predictions, but their message is always clear: Macbeth will be king, but he will also face a terrible downfall.
The witches seem to represent the workings of fate or destiny, which are beyond the control of human beings. By suggesting that Macbeth is fated to become king, the witches set in motion a chain of events that ultimately leads to his downfall.
This interpretation suggests that the witches are symbols of the unpredictability and capriciousness of fate, which can be both alluring and terrifying.
Another way to interpret the role of the witches is as embodiments of Macbeth’s own desires and inner turmoil. BEGC 104 Solved Free Assignment 2023
From the beginning of the play, Macbeth is torn between his loyalty to King Duncan and his ambition to become king himself.
The witches tap into this inner conflict by offering him a tempting vision of the future. In this interpretation, the witches represent the darker aspects of Macbeth’s psyche, which he is struggling to control.
They are not external agents of fate but rather projections of his own subconscious desires.
The witches are therefore a manifestation of Macbeth’s own inner demons, tempting him towards evil and ultimately leading him to his downfall.
A third way to interpret the role of the witches is as a critique of patriarchal power structures.
This interpretation emphasizes the fact that the witches are female and that they are powerful figures who are not subservient to any male authority.
In Shakespeare’s time, women were often seen as inferior to men and were expected to be obedient and submissive. The witches subvert this expectation by defying male authority and exerting their own power.
They also challenge the idea that power and authority are the exclusive domain of men. BEGC 104 Solved Free Assignment 2023
This interpretation suggests that the witches are a symbol of female empowerment and a critique of the patriarchal norms of Shakespeare’s society.
Finally, the role of the witches can also be interpreted as a critique of superstition and irrationality. Throughout the play, the witches are associated with darkness, chaos, and the supernatural.
They speak in riddles and use ambiguous language to convey their predictions, which makes it difficult to discern the truth of their claims.
In this interpretation, the witches represent the dangers of superstition and the perils of irrational thinking.
They are a warning against the lure of the supernatural and the temptation to believe in things that cannot be proven.
Q 2. Discuss the ending of the play Dr. Faustus.
Ans. The ending of the play “Dr. Faustus” by Christopher Marlowe is controversial and has been subject to various interpretations.
The play is a tragedy about a man named Faustus who makes a pact with the devil, Mephistopheles, and sells his soul for twenty-four years of power, knowledge, and pleasure. BEGC 104 Solved Free Assignment 2023
The ending of the play depicts Faustus’s damnation and his final moments before being taken to hell.
The ending of the play is significant because it raises questions about the nature of morality, free will, and the consequences of one’s actions.
On the one hand, Faustus is presented as a tragic figure who is doomed to eternal damnation because of his reckless pursuit of knowledge and power.
On the other hand, he is also portrayed as a victim of circumstances who is unable to resist the temptations of the devil.
The final scene of the play begins with Faustus realizing that his time is running out and that he is about to be taken to hell.
He cries out for mercy and begs for forgiveness, but it is too late. Mephistopheles appears and reminds Faustus of the terms of their agreement, and tells him that there is no escape from his fate.BEGC 104 Solved Free Assignment 2023
As Faustus is dragged to hell by the devils, he is surrounded by a group of scholars who are horrified by his fate. They ask God to have mercy on him, but their prayers go unanswered.
The final lines of the play are spoken by one of the scholars, who laments Faustus’s tragic end and warns others not to follow in his footsteps.
The ending of the play can be interpreted in different ways. Some critics see it as a warning about the dangers of ambition and the consequences of making deals with the devil.
Others see it as a commentary on the conflict between free will and predestination, and the role of faith in determining one’s destiny.
One of the key themes of the play is the conflict between good and evil, and the role of morality in human actions. Faustus is presented as a tragic figure who is torn between his desire for knowledge and power and his fear of damnation.
Throughout the play, he struggles with his conscience and tries to justify his actions, but ultimately, he is unable to escape his fate.
The role of the witches in the play is also significant. They are presented as supernatural beings who have the power to predict the future and to manipulate human actions. BEGC 104 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Their influence on Faustus is evident from the beginning of the play, when they tempt him with the promise of power and knowledge.
Their presence in the final scene of the play suggests that they have played a significant role in Faustus’s downfall.
The ending of the play can also be seen as a commentary on the nature of tragedy. Faustus is presented as a tragic hero who is undone by his own flaws and weaknesses.
He is a brilliant scholar and a powerful magician, but he is also arrogant, ambitious, and impulsive. His downfall is the result of his own choices and actions, and he ultimately pays the price for his hubris.
Q 3. Critically appreciate “Sonnet 65”
Ans. “Sonnet 65” is one of William Shakespeare’s famous sonnets. It is a part of a series of 154 sonnets which are known for their exploration of themes such as love, time, beauty, and mortality. BEGC 104 Solved Free Assignment 2023
The sonnet has a standard form, consisting of 14 lines and following an iambic pentameter. It is organized in three quatrains and a couplet, with a rhyme scheme of abab cdcd efef gg.
The first quatrain of Sonnet 65 establishes the theme of the poem, which is the destructive power of time on everything.
The speaker begins by stating that even the most durable things in nature are subject to decay, “Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea”.
The mention of these things suggests that the speaker is referring to things that are seemingly indestructible.
The second line “But sad mortality o’ersways their power” introduces the notion that everything is subject to time and the mortal world, and that the most powerful and beautiful things will ultimately fall to ruin.
The second quatrain continues the theme of mortality and death, but shifts the focus to the passing of time. BEGC 104 Solved Free Assignment 2023
The speaker talks about the process of time eroding away everything, from the mountains to the oceans, “And Time that gave doth now his gift confound”.
The line “And fresh-ﬁre coals that on the altar blaze” is a metaphor for the vitality and passion of youth, which is also subject to decay and death.
The imagery of the altar emphasizes the idea of sacrifice and the inevitability of death.
In the third quatrain, the speaker acknowledges that he cannot prevent time from taking its toll.
He recognizes that even the most beautiful things, such as the subjects of poetry and art, will eventually succumb to the ravages of time, “And art made tongue-tied by authority”.
The speaker also suggests that only the work of the poet can outlast time, “And to posterity stand inﬁxed”. BEGC 104 Solved Free Assignment 2023
The line “Grave princes’ favorites their fair leaves spread” suggests that even the powerful and influential people of the world are subject to the power of time, and that the only way to achieve immortality is through art.
The couplet concludes the sonnet by affirming the power of poetry to withstand time, “And yet to times in hope my verse shall stand, / Praising thy worth, despite his cruel hand”.
The poet asserts that his words will endure, and that they will continue to praise the worth of the subject of the poem, despite the inevitable decay and death that awaits all things.
The sonnet uses a variety of literary devices to convey its theme of the destructive power of time.
The use of imagery is particularly effective in this regard, with the repeated references to indestructible things being subject to decay, such as brass, stone, earth, and the boundless sea.
The use of metaphor is also prevalent throughout the sonnet, such as the metaphor of the altar and fresh-fire coals, which symbolize the vitality and passion of youth that are eventually consumed by time.
Another example of metaphor is the use of the phrase “sad mortality o’ersways their power”, which suggests that mortality is a force that ultimately defeats all powerful things.BEGC 104 Solved Free Assignment 2023
The theme of mortality and the power of time is a common one in Shakespeare’s sonnets, and “Sonnet 65” is no exception.
The sonnet suggests that everything in life is fleeting and subject to the ravages of time, but that the power of poetry can provide a form of immortality.
The sonnet is also notable for its use of language, which Moreover, the sonnet is notable for its rich and complex language, with Shakespeare using vivid and evocative imagery to convey his message.
The opening line, “Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea,” sets the tone for the poem, with the four elements representing the vastness and permanence of the natural world.
This is contrasted with the transience of human life, as expressed in the line “And moody Madness laughing wild amid severest woe.”
Shakespeare also employs a variety of poetic devices throughout the sonnet, including alliteration (“severest woe”), metaphor (“Death’s second self”), and personification (“Time’s pencil”).
These devices not only add to the poem’s aesthetic appeal but also serve to reinforce its central themes.BEGC 104 Solved Free Assignment 2023
At Last, “Sonnet 65” is a powerful and thought-provoking work that explores the enduring power of art and the human struggle to overcome the ravages of time.
Through its use of striking imagery, intricate language, and poetic devices, the sonnet showcases Shakespeare’s mastery of the form and cements his place as one of the greatest poets in the English language.