IGNOU BEGC 107 Solved Free Assignment 2023


British Poetry and Drama – 17th & 18 th Century

BEGC 107 Solved Free Assignment 2023

BEGC 107 Solved Free Assignment January 2023

Section A

Write short notes on the following in about 200 words each.

a. Shakespearean Tragedy

Ans. Act I, Scene I

The stage is set in the grand hall of the kingdom of Verona. The king, his queen, and their courtiers are gathered together to discuss the latest news from the kingdom.

Suddenly, a messenger bursts in with urgent news: the neighboring kingdom of Montague has declared war on Verona.

The king is furious and orders his army to be prepared for battle. However, his son, Prince Romeo, has a different idea. He believes that peace can be achieved if he marries Juliet, the daughter of the Montague king.

BEGC 107 Assignment Question

The queen is skeptical but the prince is determined to go through with his plan.

Act II, Scene I BEGC 107 Solved Free Assignment 2023

Romeo sneaks into the Montague palace and declares his love to Juliet. She is hesitant at first, but eventually agrees to marry him. They make plans to run away together and start a new life, away from the war and the feuding families.

Act III, Scene I

The day of the wedding arrives, but as Romeo and Juliet are about to exchange their vows, the Montague army attacks. The couple manages to escape, but their families are killed in the battle.

Act IV, Scene I

Romeo and Juliet are now living in a small village, but they are haunted by the memories of the war and the loss of their families. Juliet is pregnant and they worry about the future of their child.

Act V, Scene I

The couple’s fears are realized when the Montague army discovers their hiding place. Romeo is killed in the ensuing battle, leaving Juliet alone to raise their child.

The play ends with a sorrowful soliloquy by Juliet, who mourns the loss of her love and the tragic fate of their families.

She realizes that their love was doomed from the start, but she still holds on to the hope that someday, peace will prevail in Verona.

Thus, ends the tale of Romeo and Juliet, a tragic story of love and war, of feuding families and the struggle for peace. BEGC 107 Solved Free Assignment 2023

Shakespeare has once again captured the essence of human emotions and the complexities of the human condition in this timeless masterpiece.

b. The Metaphysical Poets

Ans. b) The Metaphysical Poets were a group of poets who wrote in the 17th century in England.

They were characterized by their use of elaborate and often unconventional metaphors, their exploration of philosophical and religious themes, and their blending of intellectualism with emotion.

One of the most famous metaphysical poets was John Donne, whose work often focused on the themes of love, death, and religion.

In his poem “The Flea,” for example, Donne uses the image of a flea biting both him and his lover to argue that their physical union is already complete and therefore cannot be forbidden. BEGC 107 Solved Free Assignment 2023

Another prominent metaphysical poet was George Herbert, who wrote religious poems that explored the relationship between humanity and divinity.

In his poem “The Altar,” Herbert uses the image of an altar to represent his own heart, which he offers up to God in sacrifice.

Other notable metaphysical poets include Andrew Marvell, Thomas Traherne, and Richard Crashaw.

Marvell’s work often addressed political and social issues of his time, while Traherne’s poems focused on the beauty of nature and the wonder of creation. Crashaw, meanwhile, was known for his vivid and often erotic imagery.

The metaphysical poets were also known for their use of wit and wordplay. They often employed puns, paradoxes, and other forms of verbal trickery in order to challenge their readers and make them think.

This approach was sometimes criticized by their contemporaries, who found their work to be overly intellectual and obscure.

Despite this criticism, the metaphysical poets had a lasting influence on English literature.

Their use of complex metaphors and their exploration of philosophical and religious themes paved the way for later poets such as William Blake and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. BEGC 107 Solved Free Assignment 2023

They also helped to establish poetry as a medium for intellectual and philosophical inquiry, rather than just a form of entertainment or decoration.

In conclusion, the Metaphysical Poets were a group of poets who wrote in the 17th century in England, characterized by their use of elaborate and often unconventional metaphors, their exploration of philosophical and religious themes, and their blending of intellectualism with emotion.

John Donne, George Herbert, Andrew Marvell, Thomas Traherne, and Richard Crashaw were some of the most notable poets of this movement, and their work had a lasting impact on English literature.

Section B

Answer the following reference to the context

a) Forget thyself to marble, till
With a sad leaden downward cast
Thou fix them on the earth as fast.
And join with thee calm Peace and Quiet,
Spare Fast, that oft with gods doth diet,
And hears the Muses in a ring
Aye round about Jove’s altar sing;

Ans. The quoted lines are from John Milton’s poem “L’Allegro.” This poem, along with its counterpart “Il Penseroso,” explores the contrast between different moods and temperaments.

In this particular section of the poem, the speaker encourages the reader to forget about themselves and become like marble.

The idea here is that by becoming still and immobile, the person can achieve a sense of calm and detachment from the world.

This detachment is further emphasized by the image of the eyes looking downward and fixing on the earth, rather than being distracted by what is around them.

The speaker goes on to mention several other qualities that are associated with this sense of calm detachment. These include calm peace and quiet, as well as the virtue of fasting. BEGC 107 Solved Free Assignment 2023

The idea of fasting here is not so much about denying oneself food, but rather about abstaining from excess and unnecessary distractions.

By doing so, one can be more attuned to the world around them and to the creative inspiration that comes from the muses.

The mention of the muses and Jove’s altar is significant because it highlights the connection between creativity and spirituality.

In the context of the poem, the muses represent the inspiration that comes from the divine, while Jove’s altar symbolizes the source of this inspiration.

By joining with calm peace and quiet and practicing spare fast, the person can become more receptive to this inspiration and join in the creative process.

Overall, the quoted lines from “L’Allegro” encourage the reader to embrace a sense of detachment and calm in order to become more attuned to the creative inspiration that comes from the divine.

By doing so, the person can become more fully engaged in the creative process and be more fully alive to the world around them.

“The sea is calm tonight.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.”

The quoted lines are the opening lines of Matthew Arnold’s poem “Dover Beach.” This poem is a meditation on the nature of faith and the decline of traditional religious beliefs in the face of modernity.

The opening lines create a sense of calm and tranquility, with the sea and moon providing a peaceful backdrop. However, this sense of calm is soon disrupted by the speaker’s musings on the state of the world.

The speaker notes that although the sea may be calm, there is a deeper unease in the world at large. BEGC 107 Solved Free Assignment 2023

The reference to the French coast and the cliffs of England standing apart from each other suggests a sense of division and separation.

As the poem continues, the speaker reflects on the decline of faith and the loss of traditional religious beliefs.

He notes that while the sea of faith once “was full,” it is now receding, leaving behind a “naked shingle” of doubt and uncertainty.

The reference to Sophocles’ play Antigone is significant here, as the play explores the tension between divine law and human law, and the tragic consequences of defying the former.

The overall effect of the poem is to create a sense of loss and uncertainty, as the speaker laments the decline of traditional religious beliefs and the rise of doubt and skepticism.

The reference to the sea and the moon in the opening lines serves as a contrast to the darker themes that follow, highlighting the sense of loss and dislocation that the speaker feels in the face of modernity.

b) Heavens bless my Son, from Ireland let him reign
To farr Barbadoes on the Western main;
Of his Dominion may no end be known,
And greater than his Father’s be his Throne.

Ans. The quoted lines are from a poem titled “A Letter from Artemisia in the Town to Chloe in the Country” by Aphra Behn.

The poem is a playful and satirical commentary on the social and political issues of the time, including the political ambitions of Charles II and the ongoing colonial expansion of the British Empire.BEGC 107 Solved Free Assignment 2023

In these particular lines, the speaker is referring to Charles II’s son, who is being groomed to take over the throne after his father’s death.

The speaker is expressing a desire for the young prince to have a long and successful reign, extending all the way to the far-off colony of Barbados in the Western Hemisphere.

The reference to “his Dominion” suggests a sense of imperial ambition, as if the prince were being set up to rule over a vast and far-flung empire.

The tone of the poem is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, however, and the speaker’s comments should not be taken entirely at face value.

Behn was known for her sharp wit and her willingness to poke fun at the social and political conventions of her time.

By portraying the speaker as an ardent royalist who is eager to see Charles II’s son succeed him on the throne, Behn is lampooning the political ambitions of the time and highlighting the absurdity of the cult of personality that surrounded the monarchy.

At the same time, however, the poem also reflects some of the anxieties of the time. The ongoing expansion of the British Empire had far-reaching consequences, both for the colonized peoples of the world and for the British people themselves.

The reference to Barbados, in particular, is significant because it was one of the earliest and most successful British colonies in the Caribbean, and was a major center of the transatlantic slave trade.

By expressing a desire for the young prince to extend his dominion to such far-flung places, the speaker is also highlighting the ways in which the British Empire was built on the exploitation and subjugation of other peoples.

Overall, the quoted lines from “A Letter from Artemisia in the Town to Chloe in the Country” reflect some of the key social and political issues of the late 17th century, including the ambitions of the monarchy and the ongoing expansion of the British Empire. BEGC 107 Solved Free Assignment 2023

While the poem is certainly playful and satirical in tone, it also reveals some of the underlying anxieties and tensions of the time, and the complex ways in which these issues were interconnected.

c) “The hoary prince in majesty appeared
High on a throne of his own labours reared,
At his right hand our young Ascanius sat
Rome’s other hope and pillar of the state
His brows thick fogs instead of glories grace,
And Lambent dullness played around his face”.

Ans. The quoted lines are from a satirical poem titled “The Dunciad” by Alexander Pope. In this section of the poem, Pope is describing a mock coronation of a figure he calls “Dullness,” who represents the anti-intellectualism and lack of cultural sophistication that Pope saw as a threat to the intellectual and artistic achievements of his time.

In these particular lines, Pope is contrasting the “hoary prince” (a reference to Dullness) with his supposed heir, Ascanius, who is portrayed as a young and hopeful figure representing the future of Rome (and by extension, of intellectual and cultural achievement).

However, Ascanius is also portrayed as being weighed down by the same fogs of dullness and lack of inspiration that surround the older prince.

This is a satirical commentary on the state of intellectual and cultural life in Pope’s time, which he saw as being dominated by mediocrity and a lack of originality.

The use of the term “Dullness” is significant, as it highlights Pope’s concern with the decline of intellectual and artistic standards in his time.

He saw a cultural landscape dominated by writers and artists who lacked originality and creativity, and who were more interested in imitating existing forms and styles than in breaking new ground. BEGC 107 Solved Free Assignment 2023

The reference to “Lambent dullness” playing around Ascanius’s face suggests that this lack of inspiration and creativity was not limited to the older generation, but had infected the younger generation as well.

At the same time, however, the poem is also a satirical commentary on the politics and culture of Pope’s time.

The reference to Ascanius as “pillar of the state” suggests a concern with the political stability and continuity of Rome (and by extension, of England), and the role that intellectual and cultural achievement played in securing that stability.

By contrasting Ascanius’s supposed promise with his lack of inspiration and originality, Pope is highlighting the ways in which political and cultural stagnation were interconnected, and the need for a new generation of writers and artists to break free from the constraints of tradition and convention.

Overall, the quoted lines from “The Dunciad” reflect some of the key concerns of the Enlightenment period, including the decline of intellectual and artistic standards and the need for new forms of creativity and originality.

At the same time, however, the poem is also a satirical commentary on the politics and culture of Pope’s time, and highlights the ways in which cultural stagnation and political instability were interconnected.

By portraying Ascanius as a figure of hope and promise who is nevertheless weighed down by the same dullness and lack of inspiration as the older generation, Pope is painting a portrait of a culture in crisis, and suggesting that the only way forward is through a renewed commitment to creativity and originality.

Section C

Q 1. Discuss the character of Bosola in ‘The Duchess of Malfi’.

Ans. Bosola is a complex and multifaceted character in John Webster’s play ‘The Duchess of Malfi’. He is a character who is difficult to categorize, as he often embodies contradictory traits and motives.

At times, he is portrayed as a villain, a ruthless and cynical courtier who is willing to do whatever it takes to gain power and influence.

However, at other times, he appears more sympathetic, struggling with his conscience and his sense of loyalty to the Duchess.

Throughout the play, Bosola is presented as a character who is deeply conflicted. He is initially introduced as a malcontent, a former servant of the Cardinal who has fallen out of favor with him and is now looking for a new patron.

This sets the stage for Bosola’s later involvement in the Duchess’s affairs, as he is hired by her brothers to spy on her and keep her under their control.

However, as the play progresses, Bosola’s loyalties become more complicated. He is clearly conflicted about his role in the plot against the Duchess, and he struggles with his own conscience as he becomes more involved.

At one point, he even confesses to the Duchess that he feels guilty for betraying her trust.BEGC 107 Solved Free Assignment 2023

Bosola’s complexity is also reflected in his relationship with other characters in the play. He is both friend and foe to the Duchess, as he is initially hired to serve as her spy but later becomes one of her chief tormentors.

He is also both ally and antagonist to Antonio, the Duchess’s lover, as he helps to expose their relationship but later tries to protect them from the wrath of the Cardinal and Ferdinand.

One of the most interesting aspects of Bosola’s character is his use of language. He is a skilled rhetorician, and his speeches are often marked by their wit, irony, and wordplay.

He is also capable of expressing deep emotion, particularly in his soliloquies, where he reveals his innermost thoughts and feelings.

This use of language allows the audience to see a more nuanced and complex side of Bosola’s character, beyond his actions in the play.

Despite his many contradictions, Bosola is ultimately a tragic figure. He is a character who is caught between conflicting loyalties and desires, and his attempts to reconcile these forces ultimately lead to his downfall.

His final act of betrayal, in which he helps to bring about the death of the Duchess and her children, is a moment of tragic inevitability, as he is unable to escape the web of intrigue and violence that has engulfed him.

In many ways, Bosola’s character represents the moral ambiguity and complexity that is at the heart of ‘The Duchess of Malfi’.

He is a character who defies easy categorization, and his actions throughout the play reflect the complex and often contradictory nature of human motivation.

His tragic end serves as a warning about the dangers of ambition, greed, and the pursuit of power, and his complex character remains one of the most memorable and thought-provoking aspects of the play.

Q 2. Write a critical appreciation on ‘On His Blindness’.

Ans. ‘On His Blindness’ is a sonnet written by John Milton, one of the greatest English poets of all time. BEGC 107 Solved Free Assignment 2023

The poem is a meditation on the poet’s own blindness, and it expresses his thoughts on the limitations that his blindness has imposed on his life and his work.

The poem is a powerful expression of Milton’s faith and his determination to serve God despite his disability.

In this critical appreciation, we will explore the themes, structure, and language of the poem to gain a deeper understanding of its significance.

The poem is a Petrarchan sonnet, consisting of fourteen lines that are divided into an octave and a sestet. The octave presents the problem or the question, while the sestet offers a resolution or an answer.

The poem is written in iambic pentameter, which is a metrical form that consists of five stressed syllables per line. The rhyme scheme of the poem is ABBA ABBA CDCDCD, which is typical of the Petrarchan sonnet form.

The poem begins with the speaker questioning whether his blindness has prevented him from fulfilling his duty to God.

He asks himself whether God requires his service only during daylight hours, or whether he can still serve God despite his blindness. The octave of the sonnet sets up this dilemma, which is then resolved in the sestet.

The sestet of the poem presents a response to the speaker’s dilemma. The speaker acknowledges that his blindness has prevented him from pursuing certain activities that he once enjoyed, such as reading and writing.

However, he also realizes that God does not require him to perform these tasks, but rather to accept his fate and to serve God in other ways.

The speaker concludes that patience and trust in God’s plan are more important than any earthly accomplishments. BEGC 107 Solved Free Assignment 2023

The themes of the poem are centered around faith, acceptance, and service to God. The poem is a meditation on the nature of human limitations and the role of faith in overcoming those limitations.

The poem explores the idea that human beings are not defined by their physical abilities, but by their inner strength and their relationship with God.

The language of the poem is rich and powerful, and it conveys the depth of the speaker’s emotions and thoughts.

The use of enjambment, which is the continuation of a sentence from one line to the next, creates a sense of momentum and urgency in the poem.

The use of rhetorical questions, such as “Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?” and “Who best bear his mild yoke, they serve him best,” adds to the philosophical and contemplative tone of the poem.

The use of metaphor and imagery in the poem is also significant. The speaker compares his blindness to a “talent” that he has been given by God, and he uses this metaphor to explore the idea that his blindness is a test of his faith and his ability to serve God. BEGC 107 Solved Free Assignment 2023

The image of the “dark world” that the speaker inhabits is also powerful, and it conveys the sense of isolation and uncertainty that the speaker feels.

The poem’s final line, “They also serve who only stand and wait,” is perhaps one of the most famous lines in all of English literature.

This line encapsulates the poem’s central theme, which is the idea that serving God is not necessarily about achieving great feats or accomplishments, but about patiently waiting and trusting in God’s plan.

One of the most striking things about the poem is its timeless quality. Although it was written over 350 years ago, the poem still speaks to us today with its universal themes and timeless message.

The poem continues to inspire and uplift readers, and it is a testament to Milton’s skill as a poet and his enduring legacy.

Furthermore, the poem is notable for its philosophical and theological depth. The speaker’s meditation on the nature of God’s plan and the role of human beings in that plan is both profound and thought-provoking.

The poem offers a unique perspective on the nature of faith and the challenges that can arise when one’s faith is tested.

The poem’s structure and language also contribute to its significance. The use of the Petrarchan sonnet form, with its octave and sestet structure, adds to the poem’s sense of balance and resolution.

The use of rhetorical questions and metaphorical language creates a sense of depth and complexity, and it adds to the poem’s philosophical tone.

Overall, ‘On His Blindness’ is a powerful and moving poem that continues to resonate with readers today. BEGC 107 Solved Free Assignment 2023

The poem offers a message of hope and perseverance, and it speaks to the universal human experience of facing adversity and struggle.

The poem’s enduring popularity is a testament to its timeless themes and Milton’s skill as a poet.

It remains one of the great masterpieces of English literature and a testament to the enduring power of poetry to convey complex ideas and emotions.

Q 3. Discuss Paradise Lost as an Epic

Ans. John Milton’s Paradise Lost is widely regarded as one of the greatest epic poems in the English language.

The poem, which was published in 1667, tells the story of Satan’s rebellion against God and his subsequent fall from grace, as well as Adam and Eve’s fall from innocence in the Garden of Eden.

Paradise Lost is an epic in the classical tradition, and it draws heavily on the conventions of epic poetry to tell its story.

One of the most defining features of an epic poem is its grand scope and subject matter. Epics are often concerned with heroic deeds, great battles, and legendary figures, and Paradise Lost is no exception.

The poem explores the grand themes of good and evil, free will and predestination, and the relationship between humanity and the divine.

The poem spans thousands of years of history, from the creation of the world to the fall of Adam and Eve, and it features a vast cast of characters, both mortal and divine.

Another key feature of an epic is its elevated language and style. Epics often use a grand, formal style of language, with elaborate descriptions and ornate metaphors.

Paradise Lost is written in a highly stylized form of English, which Milton himself called “the grand style.” The poem features complex syntax, ornate imagery, and a rich vocabulary, all of which contribute to its grandeur and power.

The epic also typically features a heroic protagonist who embodies the virtues and values of his or her society. BEGC 107 Solved Free Assignment 2023

In Paradise Lost, however, the protagonist is not a hero in the traditional sense. Satan, the poem’s central figure, is a fallen angel who rebels against God and seeks to undermine his authority.

Yet despite his evil intentions, Satan is depicted as a complex and compelling figure, with a tragic sense of grandeur and a powerful will. His struggle against God and his determination to forge his own destiny make him a compelling and tragic figure.

The poem also features a range of other characters, both mortal and divine. Adam and Eve, the first human beings, are portrayed as innocent and vulnerable, yet capable of great love and courage.

The archangels Michael and Raphael provide guidance and wisdom, while the demonic characters of Beelzebub and Moloch represent the worst aspects of human nature.

These characters add depth and complexity to the poem, and they offer a rich tapestry of human experience and emotion.

Another key feature of an epic is its use of myth and legend to tell its story. Paradise Lost draws heavily on biblical and classical mythologies to create its own rich tapestry of legend and lore.

The poem incorporates elements from the Bible, Greek mythology, and medieval legend, as well as Milton’s own imaginative inventions.

This blending of different mythologies and traditions creates a rich and complex world, full of vivid imagery and potent symbolism.

Finally, the epic often serves a didactic function, imparting moral and philosophical lessons to its readers. Paradise Lost is no exception.

The poem is concerned with some of the most fundamental questions of human existence, including the nature of good and evil, the meaning of free will, and the relationship between humanity and the divine.

Milton uses the poem to explore these questions in depth, and to offer his own answers and insights. BEGC 107 Solved Free Assignment 2023

One of the key themes of Paradise Lost is the conflict between free will and predestination.

This is a central concern of the poem, and it is explored through the character of Satan, who rebels against God’s authority and asserts his own will.

The poem raises profound questions about the nature of human agency and the limits of divine power, and it offers a complex and nuanced exploration of these themes.

Another important theme of the poem is the fall of humanity from innocence to sin. Adam and Eve’s disobedience and their subsequent fall from grace are depicted in vivid detail, and the poem offers a powerful meditation on the nature of sin, guilt, and redemption.

The poem suggests that humanity’s fall from innocence was not an inevitable consequence of God’s will, but rather a result of Adam and Eve’s own choices and actions.

Paradise Lost also explores the nature of evil and the temptations that lead human beings astray.

The poem suggests that evil is not an external force that acts upon human beings, but rather a result of their own choices and desires.

The demonic characters of the poem, such as Satan and Beelzebub, are depicted as complex and compelling figures, with their own motivations and desires.

Another key feature of Paradise Lost is its use of vivid and powerful imagery. The poem is full of vivid descriptions of the natural world, as well as rich and complex symbols and allegories.

The imagery of the poem serves to heighten its emotional impact and to convey its grand themes and ideas. BEGC 107 Solved Free Assignment 2023

Finally, the poem has a powerful sense of moral purpose, and it seeks to impart important lessons to its readers.

Milton’s vision of humanity is a deeply moral one, and he uses the poem to explore some of the most fundamental questions of human existence.

The poem suggests that human beings have a responsibility to exercise their free will in a responsible and ethical manner, and that they must strive to live in harmony with God’s will.

In conclusion, Paradise Lost is a masterful epic poem that explores some of the most profound questions of human existence.

The poem’s grand scope, elevated language, complex characters, and rich themes all contribute to its enduring power and influence.

Milton’s vision of the world remains as powerful and relevant today as it was in the 17th century, and Paradise Lost continues to be recognized as one of the greatest works of literature in the English language.


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