Past exam questions on Cultural Context

‘A reader can feel uncomfortable with the values and attitudes presented in texts.’ Compare the extent to which the values and attitudes that you encountered, in at least two texts on your comparative course, made you feel uncomfortable. [70]
‘The roles and status allocated to males or females can be central to understanding the cultural context of a text.’
(a) Show how this statement might apply to one text on your comparative course. In your answer you may refer to the roles and status allocated to either males or females, or both. [30]
(b) Compare how the roles and status allocated to males or females, or both, aided your understanding of the cultural context in two other texts on your comparative course. [40]

‘The main characters in texts are often in conflict with the world or culture they inhabit.’ In the light of the above statement, compare how the main characters interact with the cultural contexts of the texts you have studied for your comparative course. [70]
‘Understanding the cultural context of a text allows you to see how values and attitudes are shaped.’
(a) Show how this statement applies to one of the texts on your comparative course. [30]
(b) Compare the way in which values and attitudes are shaped in two other texts on your comparative course. Support the comparisons you make by reference to the texts.

Imagine that you are a journalist sent to investigate the cultural context of the worlds of the three texts from your comparative course.
(a) Write an articel on the cultural context that you found most interesting. [30]
(b) In a second article compare the cultural contexts of the other two worlds with each other. [40]
‘The cultural context can have a significant influence on the behaviour of the central character/characters in a text.’ Compare the way in which the behaviour of the central characters in at least two of your texts is influenced by the cultural context of those texts. [70]

‘The cultural context of a narrative usually determines how the story will unfold.’
(a) Compare the way in which the cultural context influenced the storyline in two of the texts you have studied in your comparative course. [40]
(b) Show how the cultural context influenced the storyline in a third text you have studied.[30]
‘Understanding the cultural context of a text adds to our enjoyment of a good narrative.’ In light of the above statement write an essay comparing the cultural contexts of the texts you have studied in your comparative course. Support the comparisons you make by reference to the texts. [70]

Write an essay in which you compare the texts you have studied in your comparative course in light of your understanding of the term, the cultural context. [70]
(a) With reference to one of the texts you have studied in your comparative course, write a note on the way/s in which the cultural context is established by the author. [30]
(b) Compare the ways in which the cultural context is established by the authors of two other texts on your comparative course. [40]

‘A narrative creates its own unique world in which the reader can share.’ Write a response to the above statement in which you compare the texts you have studied as part of your comparative course. Support the comparisons you make by reference to the texts. [70]
(a) What is your understanding of the term Cultural Context in relation to any one of the texts in your comparative course? Support your view by reference to at least one key moment from your chosen text. [30]
(b) Compare two other texts from your comparative course in the light of your understanding of the term Cultural Context as you have discussed in in part (a) above. Support the comparisons you make by reference to at least one key moment from each of these two texts.

Some important quotes from ‘Romeo and Juliet’ Act II

Here are some quotes from the second act of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ that should be committed to memory.

From Scene 2

Romeo (soliloquy)
‘But, soft! What light through yonder window breaks?
It is the East, and Juliet is the sun!
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,
Who is already sick and pale with grief
That thou her maid art far more fair than she.’

Juliet to herself
‘O Romeo, Romeo! – wherefore art thou Romeo?
Deny thy father and refuse thy name.
Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,
And I’ll no longer be a Capulet.’

Juliet to herself
‘That which me call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo called,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title.’

Juliet to Romeo
‘How camest thou hither, tell me, and wherefore?
The orchard walls are high and hard to climb,
And the place death, considering who thou art,
If any of my kinsmen find thee here.’

Romeo to Juliet
‘With love’s light wings did I o’erperch these walls.
For stony limits cannot hold love out,
And what love can do, that dares love attempt.
Therefore thy kinsmen are no stop to me.’

Juliet to Romeo
‘If that thy bent of love be honourable,
Thy purpose marriage, send me word tomorrow,
By one that I’ll procure to come to thee,
Where and what time thou wilt perform the rite,
And all my fortunes at thy foot I’ll lay
And follow thee my lord throughout the world.’

Romeo to Juliet
‘Love goes toward love as schoolboys from their books;
But love from love, toward school with heavy looks.’

From Scene 3

Friar Laurence (soliloquy)
‘Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied,
And vice sometime’s by action dignified.
Within the infant rind of this weak flower
Poison hath residence, and medicine power.’

Romeo to Friar
‘With Rosaline, my ghostly father? No.
I have forgot that name and that name’s woe.’

Romeo to Friar
‘Then plainly know my heart’s dear love is set
On the fair daughter of rich Capulet.
As mine on hers, so hers is set on mine,
And all combined, save what thou must combine
By holy marriage.’

Friar to Romeo
‘Jesu Maria! What a deal of brine
Hath washed thy sallow cheeks for Rosaline!
How much salt water thrown away in waste
To season love, that of it doth not taste!
The sun not yet in they sighs from heaven clears.
Thy old groans yet ring in mine ancient ears.’

Friar to Romeo
‘O she knew well
Thy love did read by rote and could not spell.
But come, young waverer, come, go with me,
In one respect I’ll thy assistant be.
For this alliance may so happy prove
To turn your household’s rancour to pure love.’

Romeo to Friar
‘O, let us hence! I stand on sudden haste.’

Friar to Romeo
‘Wisely and slow. They stumble that run fast.’

From Scene 4

Mercutio to Romeo
‘Why, is not this better now than groaning for love? Now art thou sociable. Now art thou Romeo. Now art thou what thou art, by art as well as by nature. For this drivelling love is like a great natural that runs lolling up and down to hide this bauble in a hole.’

Romeo to Nurse (about Mercutio)
‘A gentleman, Nurse, that loves to hear himself talk and will speak more in a minute than he will stand to in a month.’

Romeo to Nurse
‘Bid her devise
Some means to come to shrift this afternoon,
And there she shall at Friar Laurence’ cell
Be shrived and married.’

From Scene 5

Nurse to Juliet
‘Then hie you hence to Friar Laurence’ cell.
There stays a husband to make you a wife.’

From Scene 6

Friar to Romeo
‘So smile the heavens upon this holy act
That after-hours with sorrow chide us not!’

Romeo to Friar
‘Amen, amen! But come what sorrow can,
It cannot countervail the exchange of joy
That one short minute gives me in her sight.
Do thou but close our hands with holy words,
Then love-devouring death do what he dare –
It is enough I may but call her mine.’

Friar to Romeo
‘This violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which as they kiss consume. The sweetest honey
Is loathsome in his own deliciousness
And in the taste confounds the appetite.
Therefore love moderately. Long love doth so.
Too swift arrives as tardy as too slow.’

Romeo to Juliet
‘Ah, Juliet, if the measure of thy joy
Be heaped like mine, and that thy skill be more
To blazon it, then sweeten with thy breath
This neighbour air, and let rich music’s tongue
Unfold the imagined happiness that both
Receive in either by this dear encounter.’

Juliet to Romeo
‘Conceit, more rich in matter than in words,
Brags of his substance, not of ornament.
They are but beggars than can count their worth>
But my true love is grown to such excess
I cannot sum up sum of half my wealth.’

Friar to Romeo and Juliet
‘Come, come with me, and we shall make short work.
For, by your leaves, you shall not stay alone
Till Holy Church incorporate two in one.’

Drop Everything And Read

Here is a reminder to all students and teachers – tomorrow is the first day of our Drop Everything And Read week.

Don’t forget to bring a book to school with you tomorrow.

Mr. Lavin will announce at 10:30am that all teachers must stop teaching and that EVERYONE in the school must take out something to read for the rest of that class period. You may read a novel, a piece of non-fiction literature, a magazine or a newspaper. However reading a textbook is not permitted. Kindles and other forms of e-readers will be permitted. DEAR time will continue for the whole week.

Remember that teachers will ask you during the course of the day what you are reading so be prepared to give a summary and an evaluation of your reading material.


Winners of Macbeth Challenge

Congratulations to all fifth years who took part in the Macbeth Challenge 2012. They are all winners!!! All performances were outstanding.

Participating in the Soliloquy Challenge were:

  1. Liam Schnober Smyth – Hecate’s speech
  2. Cian Harrington – Two truths
  3. Dylan Brady – Two truths
  4. Jamie Daly – Thou hast it all
  5. Eoin Sweetman – Dagger
  6. Duncan Walker – Dagger
  7. Sean Hayes – Dagger
  8. Niamh Kelly White – The Prince of Cumberland
  9. Chris Mullen – Two truths
  10. Matthew Mollahan – Thou has it all
  11. Robert Tully – Tomorrow and tomorrow
  12. Joe Dunne – The raven is himself is hoarse
Participating in the Drama Challenge were:
  1. Robert Tully and Duncan Walker – Macbeth and Banquo (2.i)
  2. Ciaran McGinley, Cathal Niall, Matthew Mollahan – Witches  (4.i)

Those presented with trophies were Duncan for the Dagger Soliloquy and Ciaran, Cathal & Matthew for the Witches Scene!! Excellent performances by each of them.

Here you can see the participants and those who received trophies. Thanks to Mr Flynn for his great photos.

5th Year Macbeth Challenge

Macbeth Challenge 2012

Fifth years are you ready for the 2012 Macbeth Soliloquy and Drama Challenge?

Tomorrow you have the chance to recite your favourite soliloquy – the dagger soliloquy seems to be a popular choice – in a way that conveys the meaning and mood of the speaker in the context of that soliloquy. In addition or instead, you may join with a partner or two to dramatise a piece from a compelling scene of your choice.

Aside from the fame and glory of winning the Macbeth Challenge, there will prizes galore of the material kind. Best soliloquy and best drama will receive a coveted trophy. Book tokens will also be awarded to winners and high achievers. Apart from that, a few goodies will be thrown into the mix. Who could resist?

As you have been practising since long before the midterm, a very high standard is anticipated for this competition. In order to set the bar high and put you under pressure to aim for excellence, Mr Lavin will be present for the competition.

Best wishes to you all – and don’t let anything “impede thee from the golden round” and please show that you have no “spur to prick the sides of [your] intent, only vaulting ambition”. And if you are really feeling confdent, you may call “fate into the list to champion [you] to the utterance”.

Macbeth’s soliloquies and asides

Here is a guide to some of the important soliloquies in ‘Macbeth’, spoken by the protagonist himself.

Act I Scene 3 Line 128
The witches have just made their predictions and Ross and Angus have brought news of his new title of Thane of Cawdor. The attractions of ‘the imperial theme’ begin to unsettle Macbeth. His latent ambition is evident.

Act I Scene 4 Line 48
In this aside, Macbeth is aware of the evil nature of his desires, ‘my black and deep desires’, yet he avoids accepting moral responsibility for what he plans.

Act I Scene 7 Line 1
Macbeth’s better judgement seems to prevail and he realises the folly of murdering the virtuous Duncan. Lady Macbeth’s arrival just as he finishes is a key moment in the plot.

Act II Scene 1 Line 33
A dagger points the way to Duncan’s chamber. Macbeth is intent on murder, his mind is made up. His moral sense has become corrupted.

Act III Scene 1 Line 48
Though acknowledging the immorality of what has happened, Macbeth now determines to shape his future and challenge fate. Banquo must die. The tyrant in him is emerging.

Act IV Scene 1 Line 144
In the immediate aftermath of his second encounter with the witches, Macbeth feels he must act impulsively from this point on and the first to suffer will be Macduff’s clann.

Act V Scene 3 Line 20
The emptiness of Macbeth’s life is the subject of this speech. He has thrown away his soul for nothing.

Act V Scene 5 Line 9
Lady Macbeth’s piercing death cry does not startle Macbeth. He is numbed and has lost all human feeling.

Important Quotes – Macbeth Act 3

Here are some important quotes from Act 3. Be sure you know and understand each of them.

Banquo: “I fear /Thou play’dst most foully for it.”

Banquo: “My duties / Are with a most indissoluble tie / Forever knit.”

Macbeth: “Fail not our feast.” Banquo: “My lord, I will not.”

Macbeth: “Filling their hearers / With strange invention.”

Macbeth: “To be thus is nothing, / But to be safely thus. Our fears in Banquo / Stick deep, and in his royalty of nature / Reigns that which would be feared.”

Macbeth: “There is none but he / Whose being I do fear;”

Macbeth: “Upon my head they placed a fruitless crown, / And put a barren sceptre in my gripe.”

Macbeth: “For Banquo’s issue have I filed my mind; / For them the gracious Duncan have I murdered.”

Macbeth: “So, come Fate into the list / And champion me to the utterance.”

Macbeth: “Ay, in the catalogue ye go for men.”

Macbeth: “Though I could / With barefaced power sweep him from my sight.”

Macbeth: “For it must be done tonight / And something from the palace.”

Macbeth: “Banquo, thy soul’s flight, / If it find Heaven, must find it out tonight.”

Lady Macbeth: “Nought’s had, all’s spent, / Where our desire is got without content; / Tis safer to be that which we destroy / Than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy.”

Lady Macbeth: “Things without all remedy / Should be without regard – what’s done is done.”

Macbeth: “We have scorched the snake, not killed it”

Macbeth: “But let the frame of things disjoint – / Both the worlds suffer – / Ere we will eat our meal in fear and sleep / In the affliction of these terrible dreams / That shake us nightly.”

Macbeth: “Duncan’s in his grave; / After life’s fitful fever he sleeps well,  / Treason has done his worst; nor steel, nor poison, / Malice domestic, foreign levy, nothing / Can touch him further.”

Lady Macbeth: “Gentle my lord, sleek o’er your rugged looks, / Be bright and jovial among your guests tonight.”

Macbeth: “Make our faces vizards to our hearts / Disguising what they are.”

Macbeth: “O, full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife.”

Macbeth: “Ere the bath hath flown / His cloistered flight…there shall be done / A deed of dreadful note.”

Macbeth: “Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck / Til thou applaud the deed – Come seeling night… / Cancel and tear to pieces that great bond / Which makes me pale!”

Macbeth: “Things bad begun make themselves strong by ill.”

Macbeth: “You know your own degrees; sit down:  / At first and last the hearty welcome.”

Macbeth: “We’ll drink a measure / The table round.”

Macbeth: “Tis better thee without than he within.”

Macbeth: “Thou art the best o’ th’ cut-throats… / …thou art the non-pareil.”

Macbeth: “Then comes my fit again; / I had else been perfect – / Whole as the marble, founded as the rock.”

Macbeth: “Now I am cabined, cribbed, confined, bound in / To saucy doubts and fears.”

First murderer: “In a ditch he bides, / With twenty trenched gashes on his head; / The least a death to nature.”

Macbeth: “There the grown serpent lies; the worm that’s fled / Hath nature that in time will venom breed.”

Lady Macbeth: “You do not give the cheer; the feast is sold.”

Macbeth: “Here had we our country’s honour roofed, /  Were the graced person of our Banquo present.”

Macbeth: “The table’s full.”…”Which of you have done this?”

Macbeth: “Thou can’st not say I did it – never shake / Thy gory locks at me.”

Lady Macbeth: “Sit worthy friends, my lord is often thus… / The fit is momentary; upon a thought / He will be well again.”

Lady Macbeth: “Are you a man?”

Macbeth: “Ay, and a bold one, that dare look on that / Which might appal the devil.”

Lady Macbeth: “O proper stuff! / This is the very painting of your fear: /This is the air-drawn dagger which, you said, / Led you to Duncan… / When all’s done / You look but on a stool.”

Macbeth: “Our monuments shall be the maws of kites.”

Macbeth: “The times have been / That, when the brains were out, the man would die, / And there an end; but now they rise again, / With twenty mortal murders on their crowns, / And push us from our stools.”

Lady Macbeth: “My noble lord, / Your worthy friends do lack you.”

Macbeth: “I have a strange infirmity, which is nothing  / To those that know me.”

Macbeth: “To our dear Banquo, whom we miss; / Would he were here.”

Macbeth: “Avaunt and quit my sight, let the earth hide thee – /  Thy bones are marrowless, thy blood is cold.”

Macbeth: “What man dare, I dare:  / Approach thou like the rugged Russian bear, / The armed rhinoceros, or the Hyrcan tiger, /  Take any shape but that.”

Macbeth: “Hence, horrible shadow / Unreal mockery, hence.”

Lady Macbeth: “You have displaced the mirth, broke the good meeting, / With most admired disorder.”

Macbeth: “Can such things be, / And overcome us like a summer’s cloud.”

Macbeth: “You can behold such sights /  And keep the natural ruby of your cheeks, /  When mine is blanched with fear.”

Lady Macbeth: “He grows worse and worse / Question enrages him… / Stand not upon the order of your going, / But go at once.”

Macbeth: “It will have blood they say: blood will have blood.”

Macbeth: “There’s not a one of them but in his house / I keep a servant fee’d.”

Macbeth: “Now I am bent to know, / By the worst means the worst. For mine own good / All causes shall give way. I am in blood / Stepped in so far, that should I wade no more, / Returning were as tedious as go o’er: / Strange things I have in head that will to hand, /Which must be acted ere they may be scanned.”

Lady Macbeth: “You lack the season of all natures, sleep.”

Macbeth: “We are yet but young in deed.”

Hecate: “Loves for his own ends, not for you”

Hecate: “And by the strength of their illusion / Shall draw him on to his confusion.”

Hecate: “He shall spurn fate, scorn death, and bear / His hopes ‘bove wisdom, grace and fear.”

Hecate: “Security / Is mortal’s chiefest enemy.”

Lennox: “The gracious Duncan…the right valiant Banquo…to kill their gracious father…How it did grieve Macbeth…”

Lennox: “And ’cause he failed / His presence at the tyrant’s feast, I hear / Macduff lives in disgrace.”

Lord: “The most pious Edward”

Lord: “We may again / Give to our table meat, sleep to our nights / Free from our feasts and banquets bloody knives”

Lord: “He prepares for some attempt of war.”

Lennox: “That a swift blessing / May soon return to this our suffering country, / Under a hand accursed.”

One College, One Book: November – ‘The Great Gatsby’

Many of you will be looking for something good to read this mid-term break and it is always worthwhile going back to the classics. The book that the whole college community (pupils, teachers, non-teaching staff, parents and past-pupils) will be encouraged to read for the month of November is ‘The Great Gatsby’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It is set in New York in the Roaring Twenties and is considered to be a Great American Novel.

It is narrated by Nick Carraway but the title refers to the character Jay Gatsby, a young, mysterious millionaire who is obsessed with Daisy Buchanan. Daisy, however, is married to Tom Buchanan. The story is full of parties, conflict, drama, mystery and intrigue. It is easy to see why it is a classic.

A famous film version of this novel was relased in 1974 with Robert Redford playing Gatsby, Mia Farrow playing Daisy and Sam Waterstone playing Nick. However, a new version is about to be released. This sees Leonardo Dicaprio as Gatsby, Carey Mulligan as Daisy and Toby Maguire as Nick. Film versions are fantastic, but it would be great to read the book first!

Daisy and Gatsby at one of the lavish parties in the 1974 film version.


 Here is the trailer for the new movie version.