Explain how these three female characters deal with infidelity: Medea and the Wife of Bath.

EXAM QUESTIONS

1) Christian ideals were important to people in Europe in the Middle Ages; however, not everyone lived up to those ideals. (If you need a refresher on Christian ideals think of Sir Gawain’s behavior or Jesus’ teachings from The Sermon on the Mount.) Chaucer describes characters who live by high, noble Christian ideals and those who don’t but instead are motivated by greed and self-interest. Select four characters described in the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales and discuss how each one lived according to Christian ideals of morality or obviously failed to do so. Explain how Chaucer uses language to reveal his opinion of each character. Quote examples from the text that show how Chaucer uses tone, caricature, irony and wit in his writing to entertain the reader and pass judgment on his characters.

2) King Lear is a tragic hero. Describe the tragic flaw that limits his understanding of his true situation, his reversal of fortunes and new awareness he gains as a result of his suffering. Compare and contrast his situation to that of Oedipus. Support your thinking with examples from the text.

3) Explain how these three female characters deal with infidelity: Medea and the Wife of Bath. Discuss similarities and differences you notice in their responses. Support your thinking with examples from the text.

4) Compare and contrast the sibling rivalry of Cain and Abel and Leah and Rachel from the Hebrew Bible with the sibling rivalry between Edgar and Edmund and Goneril and Regan in King Lear. Support your thinking with examples from the text.