Past Paper Questions – Paper 2

Summer 2015

Paper 2 – Drama (1 hour 30)

William Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night’s Dream

1. Read this passage, and then answer the question that follows it:

Oberon:
This falls out better than I could devise.
But hast thou yet latch’d the Athenian’s eyes
With the love-juice, as I did bid thee do?

Puck:
I took him sleeping – that is finish’d too –
And the Athenian woman by his side;
That, when he wak’d, of force she must be ey’d.

ENTER DEMETRIUS AND HERMIA

Oberon:
Stand close; this is the same Athenian.

Puck:
This is the woman, but not this the man.

Demetrius:
O, why rebuke you him that loves you so?
Lay breath so bitter on your bitter foe.

Hermia:
Now I but chide, but I should use thee worse,
For thou, I fear, hast given me cause to curse.
If thou hast slain Lysander in his sleep,
Being o’er shoes in blood, plunge in the deep,
And kill me too.
The sun was not so true unto the day
As he to me. Would he have stolen away
From sleeping Hermia? I’ll believe as soon
This whole earth may be bor’d and that the moon
May through the centre creep and so displease
Her brother’s noontide with th’ Antipodes.
It cannot be but thou hast murd’red him;
So should a murderer look – so dead, so grim.

Demetrius:
So should the murdered look; and so should I;
Pierc’d through the heart with your stern cruelty;
Yet you, the murderer, look as bright, as clear,
As yonder Venus in her glimmering sphere.

Hermia:
What’s this to my Lysander? Where is he?
Ah, good Demetrius, wilt thou give him me?

Demetrius:
I had rather give his carcass to my hounds.

Hermia:
Out, dog! Out, cur! Thou driv’st me past the bounds
Of maiden’s patience. Hast thou slain him, then?
Henceforth be never numb’red among men!
O, once tell true; tell true, even for my sake!
Durst thou have look’d upon him being awake,
And hast thou kill’d him sleeping? O brave touch!
Could not a worm, an adder, do so much?
An adder did it; for with doubler tongue
Than thine, thou serpent, never adder stung.

Demetrius:
You spend your passion on a mispris’d mood:
I am not guilty of Lysander’s blood;
Nor is he dead, for aught that I can tell.

Hermia:
I pray thee, tell me then that he is well.

Demetrius:
And if I could, what should I get therefore?

Hermia:
A privilege never to see me more.
And from thy hated presence part I so;
See me no more whether he be dead or no.

EXIT HERMIA

Demetrius:
There is no following her in this fierce vein;
Here, therefore, for a while I will remain.
So sorrow’s heaviness doth heavier grow
For debt that bankrupt sleep doth sorrow owe;
Which now in some slight measure it will pay,
If for his tender here I make some stay.

DEMETRIUS LIES DOWN

Oberon:
What hast thou done?

[from Act 3 Scene 2]

How does Shakespeare’s writing make this moment in the play so dramatic?

2. Explore the ways in which Shakespeare makes two moments in the play A Midsummer Night’s Dream disturbing for you.

—————————————————

Oscar Wilde: The Importance of Being Earnest

1. Read this passage, and then answer the question that follows it:

Algernon:
[raising his hat] You are my little cousin Cecily, I’m sure.

Cecily:
You are under some strange mistake. I am not little. In fact, I believe I am more than usually tall for my age. [Algernon is rather taken aback] But I am your cousin Cecily. You, I see from your card, are Uncle Jack’s brother, my cousin Ernest, my wicked cousin Ernest.

Algernon:
Oh! I am not really wicked at all, cousin Cecily. You mustn’t think that I am wicked.

Cecily:
If you are not, then you have certainly been deceiving us all in a very inexcusable manner. I hope you have not been leading a double life, pretending to be wicked and being really good all the time. That would be hypocrisy.

Algernon:
[looks at her in amazement] Oh! Of course I have been rather reckless.

Cecily:
I am glad to hear it.

Algernon:
In fact, now you mention the subject, I have been very bad in my own small way.

Cecily:
I can’t understand how you are here at all. Uncle Jack won’t be back till Monday afternoon.

Algernon:
That is a great disappointment. I am obliged to go up by the first train on Monday morning. I have a business appointment that I am anxious… to miss!

Cecily:
Couldn’t you miss it anywhere but in London?

Algernon:
No: the appointment is in London.

Cecily:
Well, I know, of course, how important it is not to keep a business engagement, if one wants to retain any sense of the beauty of life, but I still think you had better wait till Uncle Jack arrives. I know he wants t speak to you about your emigrating.

Algernon:
About my what?

Cecily:
Your emigrating. He has gone up to buy your outfit.

Algernon:
I certainly wouldn’t let Jack buy my outfit. He has no taste in neckties at all.

Cecily:
I don’t think you will require neckties. Uncle Jack is sending you to Australia.

Algernon:
Australia! I’d sooner die.

Cecily:
Well, he said at dinner on Wednesday night, that you would have to choose between this world, the next world, and Australia.

Algernon:
Oh, well! The accounts I have received of Australia and the next world are not particularly encouraging. This world is good enough for me, cousin Cecily.

Cecily:
Yes, but are you good enough for it?

Algernon:
I’m afraid I’m not that. That is why I want you to reform me. You might make that your mission, if you don’t mind, cousin Cecily.

Cecily:
I’m afraid I’ve no time, this afternoon.

Algernon:
Well, would you mind my reforming myself this afternoon?

Cecily:
It is rather Quixotic of you. But I think you should try.

Algernon:
I will. I feel better already.

Cecily:
You are looking a little worse.

Algernon:
That is because I am hungry.

Cecily:
How thoughtless of me. I should have remembered that when one is going to lead an entirely new life, one requires regular and wholesome meals. Won’t you come in?

Algernon:
Thank you. Might I have a buttonhole first? I have never any appetite unless I have a buttonhole first.

Cecily:
A Maréchal Niel? [Picks up scissors]

Algernon:
No, I’d sooner have a pink rose.

Cecily:
Why? [Cuts a flower]

Algernon:
Because you are like a pink rose, cousin Cecily.

Cecily:
I don’t think it can be right for you to talk to me like that. Miss Prism never says such things to me.

Algernon:
Then Miss Prism is a short-sighted old lady. [Cecily puts the rose in his buttonhole] You are the prettiest girl I ever saw.

Cecily:
Miss Prism says that all good looks are a snare.

Algernon:
They are a snare that every sensible man would like to be caught in.

Cecily:
Oh, I don’t think I would care to catch a sensible man. I shouldn’t know what to talk to him about.

[from Act 2]

How does Wilde make this first meeting between Algernon and Cecily so entertaining?

2. ‘A girl with a simple, unspoilt nature.’

How does Wilde vividly convey to you that this is not an accurate view of Gwendolen?

Author: Mr Sir

Although I've only been teaching Literature since 2011 and did my degree in History, I think that makes me better placed than many Lit teachers to provide notes that make sense and aren't garbled and wrapped up with inaccessible terminology and effluent nonsense. After adventures in Uganda and Uzbekistan, I am now settling down in the Netherlands. However, currently I am just about as unsettled as I have ever been, with a new job, a new baby, a new country and a hundred other things going on! Ask me a question, collaborate or abuse me.

7 thoughts on “Past Paper Questions – Paper 2”

  1. Hello, thanks so much for posting this question. Please can you provide answered to the question on Midsummer’s night dream

    1. No, sorry, I haven’t kept any of my students’ essays. However, if you want to submit one I would be more than happy to pass judgement and give advice/give comments about it.

  2. Could you post Summer 2015 past papers for A levels english lit, 9695 all components?
    I’ll be giving an AL this Oct so…
    P.S. I’m a private candidate and your notes have really helped me so far 🙂

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