ISC English Literature Previous Year Question Paper 2002 Solved for Class 12
Section – A
Choose three of the passages (a) to (d) and answer as briefly as possible the questions that follow :
(a) Boatswain :
None that I love more than myself. You are a councilor;
if you can command these elements to silence and work the peace of the present, we will not hand a rope more;
use your authority. If you cannot, give thank you have lived so long, and make yourself ready in your cabin for the mischance of the hour, if it so hap.
[To the mariners ]- Cheerly, good hearts! [To the courtiers [-Out of the way, I say]
(i) To whom is the Boatswain speaking? What does he mean in this way?
(ii) What were the conditions that made the boatswain react in this way?
(iii) What hope does the person speak taking from the attitude of the Boatswain?
(iv) How can they ‘make yourself ready in your cabin’? For what are they asked to make themselves ready?
(v) What opinion do you form of the Boatswain from the above extract?
(b) Sebastian :
What a strange drowsiness posseses them!
It is the quality o’ th’ climate
Doth it not then bur eyelids sink? I find not
Myself dispos’d to sleep.
Nor I: my spirits are nimble.
They fell together all, as by consent;
They dropp ’d, as by a thunder stroke. What might?
Worthy Sebastian? O what might-? No more-
Any yet methinks I see it in thy face
What thou should’st be. The’ occasion speaks thee, and
My strong imagination sees a crown
Dropping upon thy head.
(i) Why did such ‘strange drowsiness ’ possess them? Who are referred to as “them”? Where are “they”?
(ii) Who is Antonio? How was he responsible for Prospero’s present condition?
(iii) Explain : “Th’ occasion speaks thee”.
(iv) What does Antonio ultimately convince Sebastian to do? What role does Antonio himself intend to play?
(v) How are Antonio and Sebastian prevented from doing what they had planned?
(c) Stephano :
How now shall this be compassed?
Canst thou bring me to the party
Yea, yea, my lord. I’ll yield him thee asleep,
Where thou may’st knock a nail into his head.
Thou liest, thou canst not.
What a pied ninny’s this!
Thou scurvy patch!
I do beseech thy greatness, give him blows,
And take his bottle from him :
When that’s gone He shall drink naught but brine;
for I’ll not show him Where the quick freshes are.
(i) Who is Stephano? What is the “this ” that is to be “compassed”?
(ii) Who is Caliban speaking about when he says “I’ll yield him thee asleep”?What is the reason for Caliban’s hatred towards that person?
(iii) Who is Caliban calling “a pied ninny”? Explain the terms “a pied ninny” and “scurvy patch ”?
(iv) What is Ariel’s intention in being a part of this conversation?
(v) What is the plot Caliban outlines before Stephano a little later in the scene?
(d) Prosper :
Sit then and talk with her, she is thine own.
What, Ariel! my industrious servant Ariel!
What would my potent master? Here lam.
Thou and thy meaner fellows your last service
Did worthily perform, and I must use you
In such another trick. Go bring the rabble
O’er whom I give thee power here to this place.
(i) Who is Prospero addressing at the beginning of the extract? How did that person come to be there?
(ii) What was “fairly spoke ”
(iii) What was the “last service” worthily performed by Ariel and his fellows?
(iv) What is the “such another trick” Prospero wants to use Ariel for and for what purpose?
(v) After the performance of “such another trick” Prospero is disturbed for some reason. What is he reminded of?
(a) (i) The boatswain addresses Gonzalo : “None that I love more than myself’ he means that he loves himself more than he cared for the king.
(ii) As a severe storm was raging, the ship could be wrecked at any moment. The courtiers were interfering in the sailors’ efforts who were trying their best to save the ship. These were the ghastly conditions that made the boatswain to react in this way.
(iii) The rude attitude of the boatswain convinces the person that the boatswain had no drowning mark upon him and that he will be hanged if he is alive later.
(iv) They were asked to make themselves ready for death as the ship would certainly wreck and they would all drown. Thus they can make themselves ready to meet their death.
(v) The boatswain is a sincere worker though a bit coarse in manner. He is seriously concerned about the safety of all.
(b) (i) Ariel’s magical music causes strange drowsiness on them. ‘Them’ refers to Alonso, Gonzalo, Adrian and Francisco. They are on another part of the island.
(ii) Antonio is Prospero’s younger brother and the usurping Duke of Milan. Antonio conspired with Alonso, the King of Naples, to overthrow Prospero. He put Prospero and Miranda on a rotten carcass of a boat to perish in the open sea and declared himself the Duke of Milan.
(iii) The phrase means that this is the apt hour for Sebastian to act.
(iv) Antonio finally convinces Sebastian to kill Alonso and Gonzalo and become the King of Naples. Antonio himself intends to kill Alonso.
(v) Ariel at that moment sings in Gonzalo’s ear and awakens him, thus preventing Antonio and Sebastian from doing what they had planned.
(c) (i) Stephano is Alonso’s butler. “This” is the purpose of Stephano becoming the king of the island.
(ii) Caliban is speaking about Prospero. Caliban hates Prospero because he believes that he is the real owner of this island, being the son of Sycorax, the witch. Prospero had taken this island from him by his power of magic and Prospero also ill-treated Caliban and punished him in many ways.
(iii) Caliban calls Trinculo a ‘pied ninny’. ‘Pied ninny’ means a fool who wears striped clothes and ‘scurvy patch’ means a diseased clown.
(iv) Ariel wants to deliberately cause a quarrel between Stephano and Trinculo. Then he wants to inform Prospero about the conspiracy that is being plotted against him.
(v) Caliban outlines the plot that Prospero goes to sleep in the afternoon; “there thou mayst brain him, having first seiz’d his books; for without them he’s but a sot, as I am”. Stephano can then kill Prospero easily, marry his daughter, and become the king of the island.
(d) (i) Prospero is addressing Ferdinand, who after being shipwrecked, had swum to the shore and was lured to Prospero’s cell by Ariel’s music.
(ii) The statement of Ferdinand was “fairly spoke” in which he says that he would not be tempted to do anything that destroys the sacredness of the marriage.
(iii) The last service worthily performed by Ariel and his fellows was to spread a banquet before Alonso and his companions. But before those hungry, and tired men could eat, Ariel appeared like a harpy and made the banquet to vanish. He then reminded them of the evil they had done to Prospero and Miranda.
(iv) Prospero wants Ariel to present a masque before Ferdinand and Miranda. He wants to show them the potency of his art and also depict the Goddesses Iris, Juno and Ceres blessing them.
(v) Prospero is disturbed because he is aware of the conspiracy being hatched by Caliban, Stephano, and Trinculo against his life.
Section – B
Compare Caliban and Ariel as servants of Prospero.
Shakespeare is the master playwright who has crafted a multitude of characters unparalleled in English literature. His famous play ‘The Tempest’ is also a panorama of different types of characters who represent perfectly the identity imparted to them. Both Ariel and Caliban are servants of Prospero but they oppose each other. However there are some similarities too; both dislike hardwork, both are deeply desirous of freedom, and belong to different realms of human experience.
One is a super-human and the other is sub-human.
Ariel is a soulless being, dainty and delicate. He is associated with flowers and bees. He serves Prospero wholeheartedly.
“All hail, great master, grave sir, hail! I come to answer thy best pleasure he ’t to fly.
To swim, to dive into the fire, to ride
On the curl’d clouds; to thy strong bidding tasks.
Before Prospero’s arrival on the island, Ariel was in the service of Sycorax. When he refused to carry out her “earthy and abhorr’d commands” she confined him into a “cloven pine”. He howled away twelve winters before Prospero arrived and freed him from the prison with the help of his magical powers. Ariel’s gratitude to Prospero makes him a willing, responsible, and sincere servant.
Prospero is able to raise the Tempest; cause a magical shipwreck; lead his enemies to the island, and finally cause them to repent for their misdeeds with Ariel’s help only.
Ariel fulfils Prospero’s orders to the minutest detail causing no injury to any person on the ship, not even a minutest “hair pershed”.
Though Ariel is an airy spirit, yet like a man he enjoys harsh work and treats his victims roughly. He is eager for praise and reports to Prospero about how he carried out his instructions.
“To every article
I boarded the king’s ship.
Now on the beak, Now in the waist,
the dech, in every cabin,
I flam’d amazement.”
Ariel has the power over all the elements and that is why Ariel controls every phenomenon in the play. He creates the storm, the thunder and lightning, mirages that deceive, the masque, the banquet, and the conflict between Stephano and Trinculo. He awakes Gonzalo and saves him and Alonso from being killed. He chastises Alonso, Antonio and Sebastian as ‘three men of sin’. He causes Prospero to change his intention of taking revenge to that of forgiving his enemies. He rejoices the approaching time of his freedom and Prospero’s promise.
Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.”
Caliban, on the other hand is a cowardly sub-human creature, “a freckl’d whelp, hag-born” not honoured with a human shape. He is all earth, a “thing of darkness”, a “dull thing”, “tortoise”, “poisonous slave”, “filth”, etc. Prospero teaches him language but he uses this language to curse Prospero.
“You taught me language and my profit on’t Is I know how to curse.”
In the beginning, Prospero seems to be kind to Caliban and teaches him how to name the “bigger light and how the less” and then Caliban loves him, shows him all the “qualities of the isle.” When Caliban is reduced to abject slavery by Prospero he begins to hate him. He bitterly realises that this island which was his is taken away by Prospero.
Caliban himself is confined in a hard rock and keeps away from the rest of the island after he tried to “violate the honour” of Miranda. However, he has no defence against the powerful magic of Prospero and has to make fire, fetch wood and serve in offices that profit his master. Prospero threatens him with dire punishment “side stitches that shalt pen thy breath up”, “urchins shall all exercise on thee” and “pinches as thick as honeycomb.” Caliban is therefore obliged to obey Prospero because he is aware of his magical power that would control his mother’s god Setebos.
Thus he too serves Prospero, but unwillingly. He longs to be free from him and this makes him conspire with Stephano against Prospero, his master. He curses Prospero and revels at having found a new master :
“A plague upon the tyrant that I serve!
I’ll hear him no more sticks, but follow thee Thou wondrous man”
He enjoys his drunken state and enjoys his new found freedom as he sings
Has a new master-get a new man”
He has no means to kill Prospero-so deep- rooted is his hatred but he realises his mistake at the end when he says: ‘
“What a thrice double-ass
Was I to take this drunkard for a god,
And worship this dull fool!”
Caliban too gets his freedom and his island back in the end. Caliban is though a sub-human yet wins our sympathy. He is obscene, but an attractive character.
‘The fifth act sees the play moving smoothly to its expected closure’. Outline briefly but vividly the main events that take place in Act V.
‘The Tempest’ is estimated as Shakespeare’s last complete work and is interpreted by many as his will and testament. Prospero is the matured spirit of Shakespeare- a peaceful soul, seasoned to human weaknesses.
In the last Act, Prospero’s project is nearly complete.
“Now does my project gather to ahead My charms crack not, my spirit obey and time Goes upright with his carriage.”
Ariel has tortured and tormented all the courtiers with his mirages, illusions and magical powers that they are almost out of their minds. With grief and fear, they are held in a state of complete handicap. Ariel is moved to gaiety and tells Prospero :
“… if you now behold them your affections would become tender”
Prospero is deeply moved by these words and he realises that
“Though with their high wrongs I am struck to th’ quick.
Yet with my nobler reason against my fury Do I take part. The rarer action is In virtue than in vengeance…”
He prepares to release the prisoners but before that he surrenders his magical art and his soliloquy allows us a glimpse of the depth of his art.
“To the dread rattling, thunder Have I given fire…
“Graves at my command
Have waked their sleepers, op’d and let’
But this “rough magic” he now abjures;
“I’ll break my staff,
Bury it certain fathoms in the earth,
And deeper than did ever plummet sound I’ll drown my book”
When Ariel brings his enemies into his presence, Prospero at first addresses Gonzalo as an honorable man and forgives Alonso and Sebastian and even Antonio.
“that entertain’d ambition
Expell’d remorse and nature”
Prospero gets back his dukedom and restores Ferdinand to Alonso. When he draws back the curtain of his cave we see Alonso, Ferdinand and Miranda playing chess. Alonso, over-whelmed with joy, exclaims.
“If this prove
A vision of the island, one dear son Shall I twice lose.”
Miranda is struck with amazement at the sight of so many goodly creatures (human beings) —
“… O wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here !
How beauteous mankind, is ! O brave new world that has such people in’t!”
With the marriage of Ferdinand and Miranda, Milan will be reunited with Naples. Everyone will find themselves “when no man was his own.”
The boatswain is brought before this gathering by Ariel and he reports that the ship is ‘tight and yare’ and ‘bravely rigg’d”. His report makes confirmation that “these are not natural events, they now strengthen from strange to stranger.”
Caliban and his companions are then dealt with amnesty, despite the fact that Caliban is a “demi devil” and plotted to kill Prospero. Caliban promises to be “wise hereafter” and “seek for grace.” He realises his foolishness and there is hope for his realization as well.
Prospero grants freedom to Ariel after he has brought the ships safely back to Naples. He promises to enlighten Alonso with his life’s story and experiences on this island and prepares to return to the old world of Milan.
Prospero finally bids farewell to his audience, asking their forgiveness for his faults, and appreciation for his efforts to please and amuse them in the end.