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BEGC-133 British Literature- Assignment Solve || ( ASSIGNMENT July 2023–January 2024 ) BAG- Assignment Solution

Answer all questions in this assignment.

( Section- A )

I- Explain the following passages with reference to the context.          

1. "I have no spur
To prick the sides of my intent, but only 
Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself 
And falls on th' other."

2. "Out, damned spot: out I say! One, Two: Why then 'tis time 
to do't. Hell is murky. Fie, My Lord, fie! A soldier, and 
affear'd? What need we fear who knows it, when none can 
call our power to accompt"?

3. "He did it like an operatic tenor—a regular handsome fellow, with 
flashing eyes and lovely moustache, shouting a war-cry and charging 
like Don Quixote at the windmills. We nearly burst with laughter at 
him; but when the sergeant ran up as white as a sheet, and told us 
they'd sent us the wrong cartridges, and that we couldn't fire a shot 
for the next ten minutes, we laughed at the other side of mouths."

4. "The old order changeth, yielding place to new, 
And God fulfils himself in many ways,
Lest one good custom should corrupt the world. 
Comfort thyself: what comfort is in me?
I have lived my life, and that which I have done 
May He within himself make pure!"

( Explanation )

1. This passage is from William Shakespeare's play "Macbeth," and it is spoken by Macbeth himself. In this soliloquy, Macbeth reflects on his own ambition and his desire to become king. He admits that he has no external motivation or reason to assassinate King Duncan other than his unchecked ambition, which drives him to commit the murder. However, he also acknowledges that this unchecked ambition is dangerous because it can lead to overreaching and ultimately result in his own downfall. The context here is Macbeth's inner turmoil and his realization that his ambition has driven him to commit a heinous act.

2. This passage is from William Shakespeare's play "Macbeth" as well, and it is spoken by Lady Macbeth. She is sleepwalking and trying to wash imaginary bloodstains from her hands. The "damned spot" she refers to is the guilt and conscience that haunts her after she and her husband have committed murder. Lady Macbeth is tormented by the guilt and the fear that they will be discovered. She repeatedly calls out for the blood to be washed away, revealing her mental and emotional breakdown. The context here is Lady Macbeth's descent into madness as a result of the crimes she and her husband have committed.

3. This passage is from a narrative, and it describes a comical situation where a group of soldiers received the wrong cartridges for their guns. The soldier in question charges boldly like an operatic tenor, displaying great enthusiasm and courage, but the situation turns humorous when it's revealed that they cannot fire their weapons due to the wrong ammunition. The context here is a moment of comic relief in a tense military situation, highlighting the absurdity and unpredictability of war.

4. This passage is from Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem "Idylls of the King," specifically from the section titled "The Passing of Arthur." King Arthur is speaking here as he reflects on the changing times and the end of his reign. He acknowledges that the old order is giving way to new circumstances and that it is part of God's plan. Arthur is resigning himself to his fate and expressing his hope that his deeds may be made pure by God. The context here is the end of an era and the acceptance of divine providence in the face of change and uncertainty.

( Section- B )

II . Write short notes on the following:     
A. Characterisation in Far from the Madding Crowd.

Thomas Hardy's novel "Far from the Madding Crowd" is known for its rich and multifaceted characterisation. Hardy carefully develops a diverse set of characters who represent different aspects of rural life in 19th-century England. The central character, Bathsheba Everdene, is a strong-willed and independent woman who defies traditional gender roles. Gabriel Oak is a steadfast and reliable shepherd who contrasts with Bathsheba's impulsiveness. Sergeant Francis Troy embodies charisma and recklessness, while Farmer Boldwood represents obsessive love. The characterisation in the novel serves to explore themes of love, independence, and the consequences of one's choices in a rural setting.

B. The 'Banquet Scene' in Macbeth.

The 'Banquet Scene' is a pivotal moment in William Shakespeare's play "Macbeth." It occurs in Act III, Scene 4, when Macbeth and Lady Macbeth host a banquet for their nobles. The scene is notable for Macbeth's descent into madness as he sees the ghost of Banquo, whom he has murdered. While the guests cannot see the ghost, Macbeth's erratic behavior and his conversations with the apparition create a tense and dramatic atmosphere. Lady Macbeth tries to cover for her husband's erratic behavior, but the scene ultimately reveals Macbeth's guilt and paranoia, driving the play's plot towards its tragic conclusion.

C. Tennyson as a representative poet of Victorian England.

Alfred Lord Tennyson is often regarded as one of the most representative poets of the Victorian era. His poetry reflects the values, concerns, and sensibilities of the 19th-century British society. Tennyson's works, such as "In Memoriam," "The Lady of Shalott," and "Ulysses," explore themes of love, loss, the impact of science and technology, the role of the individual in society, and the tension between tradition and progress. His poems often grapple with the changing social and moral landscape of Victorian England, making him a significant voice of the era.

D. Bernard Shaw and the 'discussion play'.

George Bernard Shaw was a renowned Irish playwright known for his distinctive style of drama, often referred to as the "discussion play" or "problem play." In these plays, Shaw used his characters to engage in intellectual debates and discussions about social, political, and moral issues of the time. Unlike traditional plays that primarily focused on plot and character development, Shaw's plays emphasized the exploration of ideas and the presentation of conflicting viewpoints. Examples of his discussion plays include "Pygmalion," which addresses issues of class and language, and "Major Barbara," which examines the ethics of armaments manufacturing and charity. Shaw's works were influential in challenging and provoking thought on important societal issues.

III. Write short essays on the following:
A. "Arms and the Man is considered to be an 'anti-romantic  comedy'. Do you agree ?

George Bernard Shaw's play "Arms and the Man" is often considered an "anti-romantic comedy" due to its satirical and subversive treatment of romantic ideals. While it has elements of a traditional romantic comedy, it ultimately challenges and subverts many of the genre's conventions. Here's why I agree with this classification:

1.Critique of Romantic Heroism: In "Arms and the Man," Shaw criticizes the romanticized notions of heroism and war prevalent in the 19th century. The play's protagonist, Captain Bluntschli, is portrayed as a pragmatic and unromantic soldier who mocks the idealized heroism of characters like Raina and Sergius. He believes in practicality over valor, and this subverts the traditional romantic hero archetype.

2. Subversion of Love Conventions: The play also challenges the conventional romantic love plot. Raina initially falls for Sergius, who embodies the dashing, heroic figure. However, as the story unfolds, her feelings shift towards Bluntschli, who represents realism and practicality. This shift away from idealized romantic love defies the expectations of a typical romantic comedy.

3.Satirical Elements: Shaw uses satire to poke fun at the absurdities of war, class distinctions, and societal expectations. The characters engage in witty and humorous dialogue that exposes the hollowness of their romanticized beliefs. The humor and irony present in the play serve as a satirical critique of romanticism.

4. Resolution: In a traditional romantic comedy, the story typically concludes with a happy and harmonious resolution. In "Arms and the Man," the resolution is more complex, with characters making pragmatic choices rather than succumbing to idealized notions of love and heroism.

( conclusion) -  "Arms and the Man" can be considered an "anti-romantic comedy" because it subverts romantic ideals, satirizes traditional notions of heroism and love, and presents a more pragmatic and realistic perspective on life and relationships.

B. What are the main themes of Tennyson's poem "Mode  d'Arthur' ? Briefly explain the allegorical significance of the poem.

Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem "Morte d'Arthur" is part of his larger work "Idylls of the King" and deals with the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. The poem explores several key themes:

1. The Decay of Chivalry: One of the central themes in "Morte d'Arthur" is the decline of the chivalric code and the Round Table's ideals. It portrays a world where the once noble and honorable knights have become corrupt and self-serving. This theme reflects Tennyson's concern about the erosion of Victorian moral values and the impact of industrialization and modernity on society.

2. The Quest for Meaning: The poem explores the idea of quests and the search for a higher purpose. King Arthur embarks on a quest to recover his sword Excalibur after his final battle. This quest symbolizes the human search for meaning and the pursuit of ideals even in the face of inevitable decline and death.

3. The Allegorical Significance: "Morte d'Arthur" can be seen as an allegory for the decline of the British Empire. King Arthur represents the idealized past of Britain, and his final battle and death symbolize the end of that era. The broken sword Excalibur being returned to the Lady of the Lake can be interpreted as a return to nature or a surrender of imperial ambitions.

4. The Cyclical Nature of History: Tennyson suggests that history is cyclical, with civilizations rising and falling. The poem conveys a sense of nostalgia for a bygone era while acknowledging the inevitability of change and decay.

( summary )  "Morte d'Arthur" explores themes of the decay of chivalry, the quest for meaning, and the allegorical significance of King Arthur's story. It serves as both a reflection on the past and a commentary on the contemporary issues of Tennyson's Victorian England, making it a complex and thought-provoking work of literature.

( Section- C )

IV Write a brief critical appreciation of Thomas Hardy's novel Far from the Madding Crowd, bringing out the significance of the landscape of Wessex in the novel.


Title: Critical Appreciation of Thomas Hardy's "Far from the Madding Crowd" and the Significance of Wessex Landscape

Thomas Hardy's "Far from the Madding Crowd" is a literary masterpiece that stands as a significant work within the canon of English literature. Published in 1874, this novel explores themes of love, independence, societal norms, and the human connection with nature, all set against the backdrop of rural Wessex. The novel's portrayal of the Wessex landscape is not just a backdrop but a vital element that adds depth and meaning to the narrative.

1. The Role of Wessex as a Character:

Wessex, the fictionalized region of rural southwestern England created by Hardy, functions as a character in its own right. The landscape of Wessex is vividly described throughout the novel, and it plays a dynamic role in shaping the lives and decisions of the central characters. The rugged beauty, rolling hills, and picturesque countryside act as a mirror to the inner emotional landscapes of the characters. Wessex, with its timeless quality, serves as a constant presence and witness to the events of the story.

2. The Confluence of Nature and Human Emotions:

Hardy's novel underscores the intimate connection between the characters and their natural surroundings. Bathsheba Everdene, the headstrong and independent heroine, is often found outdoors, riding through the countryside or tending to her farm. Her moods and decisions are frequently influenced by the changing seasons and the beauty of the landscape. The lush descriptions of nature parallel the ebbs and flows of Bathsheba's romantic entanglements and personal growth.

3. Symbolism and Foreshadowing:

Wessex's landscape serves as a symbolic backdrop that foreshadows the novel's events. The storms that sweep through the countryside symbolize the emotional turbulence that the characters experience, while moments of calm and beauty reflect periods of stability and happiness. The landscape also becomes a reflection of the characters' internal conflicts and desires.

4. Rural Realism and Social Commentary:

Through his detailed portrayal of the Wessex landscape, Hardy offers a realistic depiction of rural life in the 19th century. He addresses issues of class, gender, and societal expectations within this rural setting. The characters' interactions with the landscape highlight the limitations and possibilities that their social status and gender roles impose on them.

( conclusion )  "Far from the Madding Crowd" is not merely a story set in a particular place; it is a narrative deeply entwined with the landscape of Wessex. The novel's rich descriptions of nature, the countryside, and the changing seasons serve as a canvas upon which the characters' lives unfold. Through this, Thomas Hardy creates a world where the natural and human realms are inextricably linked, using the Wessex landscape as a powerful tool to enrich the story's themes and illuminate the inner lives of its characters.

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