1.   O! reason not the need; our basest beggars
      Are in the poorest thing superfluous:
      Allow not nature more than nature needs,
      Man’s life is cheap as beast’s.
      King Lear (2.4.276)

Which theme is best expressed in this passage?

a. Man’s relationship with God

b. Poverty and Extravagance

c. The ends justify the means

d. Fate and Free Will

e. Violence and Peace

2. am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions?
(3.1.54), Shylock

a. Masculinity and Power

b. The finality of death

c. Man’s relationship with God

d. Race and Identity

e. The value of war


The curse of marriage
That we can call these delicate creatures ours
And not their appetites!
(Othello 3.3.272-3)

Which theme is best expressed in this passage?

a. Gluttony

b. Marriage, Fidelity, and Commitment

c. Poverty

d. Motherhood

e. Man versus Nature


The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.
(Julius Caesar, 1.2.146), Cassius to Brutus

Which theme is best expressed in this passage?

a. Free Will

b. The traits of a good Emperor

c. Astrology

d. The inherent value of life

e. Femininity and Beauty


Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie,
Which we ascribe to heaven: the fated sky
Gives us free scope, only doth backward pull
Our slow designs when we ourselves are dull.
(All’s Well that Ends Well, 1.1.209), Helena

Which theme is best expressed in this passage?

a. Appearance versus Reality

b. The price of peace

c. Free Will versus Fate

d. The ends justify the means

e. Power and Corruption


My noble father,
I do perceive here a divided duty:
To you I am bound for life and education;
My life and education both do learn me
How to respect you; you are the lord of duty;
I am hitherto your daughter: but here’s my husband,
And so much duty as my mother show’d
To you, preferring you before her father,
So much I challenge that I may profess
Due to the Moor my lord.

Which theme is best expressed in this passage?

a. The strength of love

b. Race and Identity

c. Respecting your elders

d. Deciding where loyalty is due

e. Infidelity


The following questions ask you to examine the quote and decide which theme is best expressed in the passage.

2) See, sons, what things you are,
How quickly nature falls into revolt
When gold becomes her object.
2 Henry IV 4.5.64-6

a. Greed

b. Faith

c. Violence and Power

d. Masculinity

e. Enjoyment versus Health


Look back at your notes to refresh your mind about what theme means. Which of these is not a theme?

a. What is true love?

b. Femininity and Strength

c. Whether or not Shakespeare wrote his own plays

d. The traits of a good and decent king

e. Individual versus Society

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