World Literature passage interpretation

PART FOUR: Passage Interpretation (30 points)

Select 3 of the passages below. For each passage, write a short paragraph of 3-5 sentences explaining the passage’s significance within the play.

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TIRESIAS: I will go,
Once I have said what I came here to say.
I’ll never shrink from the anger in your eyes—
You can’t destroy me. Listen to me closely:
The man you’ve sought so long, proclaiming,
Cursing up and down, the murder of Laius—
He is here. A stranger,
You may think, who lives among you,
He son will be revealed a native Theban
But he will take no joy in the revelation.
Blind who now has eyes, beggar who now is rich,
He will grope his way toward a foreign soil,
A stick tapping before him step by step
(Oedipus Tyrannus [Oedipus the King], Norton p. 190)

DOU E: I want to say three things, officer. If you will let me, I shall die content. I want a clean mat and a white silk streamer twelve feet long to hang on the flagpole. When the sword strikes off my head, not a drop of my warm blood will stain the ground. It will all fly up instead to the white silk streamer. This is the hottest time of summer, sir. If injustice has indeed been done, three feet of snow will cover my dead body. Then this district will suffer from drought for three whole years.

(Snow in Midsummer, Norton p. 498)

CHORUS: Returning good for evil,
The priest performs services and prays That in the end they will be reborn together On a single lotus petal,
And Rensho the priest
Is an enemy no more.
(Atsumori, Norton p. 518-519)

HAMLET: O, that this too too solid flesh would melt Thaw and resolve itself into a dew!
Or that the Everlasting had not fix’d
His canon ‘gainst self-slaughter! O God! God!

How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable,
Seem to me all the uses of this world!
Fie on’t! ah fie! ’tis an unweeded garden,
That grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature Possess it merely….

(Hamlet, Norton p. 725)

ORGON: If only you could know him as I do… When first we met, I felt my troubles cease. Yes, I was changed after I talked with him.
I saw my wants and needs as just a whim! Everything that’s written, all that’s sung,

The world, and you and me, well, it’s all dung! Yes, it’s crap! And isn’t that a wonder!
The real world—it’s just some spell we’re under! (Tartuffe, Norton p. 1241)

VLADIMIR: Was I sleeping, while the others suffered? Am I sleeping now? Tomorrow, when I wake, or think I do, what shall I say of today? That with Estragon my friend, at this place, until the fall of night, I waited for Godot? That Pozzo passed, with his carrier, and that he spoke to us? Probably. But in all that what truth will there be? (Waiting for Godot, Norton p. 973)

GUIDE: Ladies and gentlemen: Admission is —, for adults. If you’ve already paid, you can’t repent. The cost is already incurred. Better to enjoy yourself. No one under eighteen will be admitted. Or under thrity-five or over thirty-six. Everyone else can attend with no problem. No obscenity or strong words. The play speaks to our way of life: Argentine, Western, and Christian. We are in 1971. I ask that you stay together and remain silent. Careful on the stairs. (Information for Foreigners, PDF p. 71)

GHOST: My fierce, crazy little girl. My wife. Ni-wikimakan. [My wife.] … Piko tat-ta-wi Kisisomoyan ekwo. [I have to go finish dancing now.]
INTERLOCUTOR: Patima, Kisse-Manitou-Wayou. [Goodbye, Almighty Voice.] (Almighty Voice and His Wife, Norton p. 1603)


9. THE FOUNDLING FATHER: Uh Hehm. The Death of Lincoln!: –. The watching of the play, the laughter, the smiles of Lincoln and Mary Todd, the slipping of Booth into the presidential box unseen, the freeing of the slaves, the pulling of the trigger, the bullets piercing above the left ear, the bullets entrance into the great head, the bullets lodging behind the great right eye, the slumping of Lincoln, the leaping onto the stage of Booth, the screaming of Todd, the screaming of Todd, the screaming of Keene, the leaping onto the stage of Booth: the screaming of Todd, the screaming of Keene, the shouting of Booth: Thus to the tyrants!, the death of Lincoln! — And the silence of the nation. (The America Play, Norton p. 1630)

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