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Shakespeare – (Previous Year Questions NET | GATE)

Shakespeare has always remained one of the often asked playwrights in any examination, be it SET, NET, or Ph.D. Born in the 16th century, his works talk about a wide range of topics such as life, death, murder, jealousy, etc. Author of 37 plays, his works have been divided into three major categories: histories, comedies, and tragedies. Studying Shakespeare for your upcoming exams can really make a big difference in your preparation. Skip Shakespeare and you skip success.

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UGC-NET | GATE Previous Year Questions On Shakespeare

”Ripeness is all” occurs in :
(A) King Lear
(B) Hamlet
(C) Macbeth
(D) Julius Caeser
Ans: (A)

A. C. Bradley’s Shakespearean Tragedy was published in :
(A) 1903
(B) 1904
(C) 1905
(D) 1906
Ans: (B)

Thomas and Henrietta Bowler’s edition of The Family Shakespeare gave rise to the word Bowdlerize. What does it mean ?
(A) the expurgation of indelicate language
(B) the modernization of archaic vocabulary
(C) the insertion of bawdy songs
(D) the expansion of female characters
Ans: (A)

Who among Shakespeare’s contemporaries did not write tragedies ?
(A) Thomas Kyd
(B) John Lyly
(C) Christopher Marlowe
(D) Ben Jonson
Ans: (B)

Match the columns :
Shakespearean Actors Period
I. David Garrick 1. The 19th century
II. John Gielgud 2. The 18th century
III. Henry Irving 3. The Restoration
IV. Thomas Betterton 4. The 20th century
(A) 2 4 1 3
(B) 4 2 1 3
(C) 3 4 1 2
(D) 2 3 4 1
Ans: (A)

Which of the following Shakespearean plays is in the correct chronological order ?
(A) King Lear, Hamlet, Much Ado…, Troilus and Cressida
(B) Much Ado…, Hamlet, King Lear, Troilus and Cressida
(C) Troilus and Cressida, King Lear, Hamlet, Much Ado…
(D) Hamlet, Much Ado…, King Lear, Troilus and Cressida
Ans: (B)

Like Cordelia, the Fool in King Lear is .
(A) killed by Goneril’s troops.
(B) referred to by Lear as his child.
(C) disliked by Regan and Cornwall.
(D) punished for not telling the truth.
Ans: (B)

The formalist critic ______________ mocked the character -based criticism of ___________ by posing a famous question, How many children had Lady Macbeth?
(A) F.R. Leavis, E.K. Chambers
(B) Cleanth Brooks, F.L. Lucas
(C) Monroe Beardsley, Kenneth Burke
(D) L.C. Knights, A.C. Bradley
Ans: (D)

In Shakespeare’s time who owned the rights to a theatrical script ?
(A) the playwright(s)
(B) the patron of the acting company
(C) the printer
(D) the acting company
Ans: (D)

Which of the modern plays by a British playwright actually puts Shakespeare as character on stage ?
(A) Edward Bond’s Bingo
(B) Harold Pinter’s Mountain Language
(C) Terence Rattigan’s Inspector calls
(D) Joe Orton’s Loot
Ans: (A)

In his views on the death of Cordelia in King Lear, which is the ground NOT specifically cited by Samuel Johnson ?
(A) It is contrary to the natural ideas of justice.
(B) It is contrary to neoplatonic idea of decorum.
(C) It is contrary to the hope of the reader.
(D) It is contrary to the faith of chronicles.
Ans: (B)

The first instance of female cross-dressing with the disconcerting nuances of a boy actor dressing as a boy while playing the role of a woman in the dramatic world of Shakespeare occurs in __________.
(A) The Two Gentlemen of Verona
(B) As you Like It
(C) Twelfth Night
(D) A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Ans: (A)

Identify Falstaff’s first words in Henry IV, Part I :
(A) “Now, Harry, what time of day is it, lad?”
(B) “Now, Hal, what time of day is it, lad?”
(C) “Now, Harry, what time of night is it, lad?”
(D) “Now, Hal, what time of night is it, lad?”
Ans: (B)

On seeing whom does Miranda exclaim, “O, father, surely that is a spirit. Lord! How it looks about ?”
(A) Caliban
(B) Ferdinand
(C) Alonso
(D) Stephano
Ans: (B)

Which of the following Shakespearean plays are in the correct chronological sequence ?
(A) The Merchant of Venice – Henry IV Part I – Romeo and Juliet – Richard II
(B) Richard II – Henry IV Part I – Romeo and Juliet – The Merchant of Venice
(C) Henry IV Part I – Romeo and Juliet – The Merchant of Venice – Richard II
(D) Romeo and Juliet -Richard II – Henry IV Part I – The Merchant of Venice
Ans: (D)

The title of William Faulkner’s The Sound and Fury is derived from a play by :
(A) William Shakespeare
(B) Christopher Marlow
(C) John Webster
(D) Ben Jonson
Ans: (A)

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Previous Year UGC-NET Often Asked Questions From Shakespeare

The line “I am no Prince Hamlet nor was meant to be…….” appears in T. S. Eliot’s
(A) Gerontion
(B) The Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock
(C) Four Quartets
(D) The Waste-Land
Ans: (B)

“When my love swears that she is made of truth/I do believe her, though I know she lies”. The author of these lines is…
(A) Philip Sidney
(B) Edmund Spenser
(C) Christopher Marlowe
(D) William Shakespeare
Ans: (D)

His life was gentle and the elements
So mixed in him, that Nature might stand up
And say to all the world, ‘This was a man !’”
Who is the speaker, and about whom is this spoken ?

(A) Enobarbus on Antony
(B) Brutus on Caesar
(C) Cleopatra on Antony
(D) Marc Antony on Caesar
Ans: (D)

Arrange the following in chronological order…
(I) The death of Shakespeare
(ii) Accession of James I to the English throne
(iii) Caxton and the printing press
(iv) The Norman Conquest of England

(A) (iv) (iii) (ii) (i)
(B) (iii) (iv) (ii) (i)
(C) (iii) (iv) (I) (ii)
(D) (iv) (iii) (I) (ii)
Ans: (A)

“Ripeness is all” is a line from…
(A) Hamlet
(B) King Lear
(C) Othello
(D) Macbeth
Ans: (B)

Sexual jealousy is a theme in Shakespeare’s
(A) The Merchant of Venice
(B) The Tempest
(C) Othello
(D) King Lear
Ans: (C)

“To the Memory of my Beloved, the Author Mr. William Shakespeare : And What He Hath Left Us” is an ode composed by
(A) John Milton
(B) Ben Jonson
(C) Andrew Marvell
(D) John Suckling
Ans: (B)

The title of William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury is taken from a play by
(A) Christopher Marlowe
(B) William Shakespeare
(C) Ben Jonson
(D) John Webster
Ans: (B)

Sexual possessiveness is a theme of Shakespeare’s
(A) Coriolanus
(B) Julius Caesar
(C) Henry IV Part – I
(D) A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Ans: (D)

Who, among the following women writers, famously imagined the plight of Shakespeare’s sister ?
(A) George Eliot
(B) Virginia Woolf
(C) Irish Murdoch
(D) Frances Burney
Ans: (B)

Read the following statement and the reason given for it. Choose the right response :
Assertion (A) : Othello killed Desdemona.
Reason (R) : Because Desdemona committed infidelity.
(A) Both (A) and (R) are true and (R)is the correct explanation.
(B) Both (A) and (R) are true, but (R) is not the correct explanation.
(C) (A) is true, but (R) is false.
(D) (A) is false, but (R) is true.
Ans: (C)

“Keep up your bright swords, for the dew will rust them.
Good Signior, you shall more command with years.
Than with your weapons.” The above lines are addresses by Othello to

(A) Roderigo and officers
(B) Brabantio, Roderigo and Officers
(C) The Duke and Senators
(D) Montano and Cassio
Ans: (B)

Arrange the following stages in a sequence in which all Shakespearean tragedies are structured. Use the code given below :
I. Denouement
II. Conflict
III. Exposition
IV. Climax

Code :
(A) III, II, IV, I
(B) III, IV, II, I
(C) II, IV, III, I
(D) II, IV, I, III
Ans: (A)

Hamlet, lying wounded, says to his friend, “Horatio, I am dead.” This is an example of
(A) protasis
(B) anacrusis
(C) prolepsis
(D) pun
Ans: (C)

Which Shakespearean play contains the line: “…there is a special providence in the fall of a sparrow”?
(A) King Lear
(B) Hamlet
(C) Coriolanus
(D) Macbeth
Ans: (B)

Shakespeare’s sonnets
(A) Do not carry a dedication.
(B) Are dedicated to James I of England.
(C) Are dedicated to Mary Arden.
(D) Are dedicated to an unknown “Mr. W.H.”
Ans: (D)

The words “If it were done when tis done, then twere well / It were done quickly…” are uttered by
(A) Hamlet
(B) Lear
(C) Othello
(D) Macbeth
Ans: (D)

The following passages are the very first lines of well-known works. Match the lines and the works:
a. Moby Dick
b. Macbeth
c. “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”
d. Tristram Shandy
e. “In Memory of W. B. Yeats”
I. Let us go then, you and I…..
II. Call me Ishmael…..
III. When shall we three meet again?
IV. He disappeared in the dead of winter
V. I wish either….begot me …..

(A) I-c; II-a; III-b; IV-e; V-d
(B) I-e; II-b; III-a; IV-c; V-d
(C) I-b; II-a; III-d; IV-e; V-c
(D) I-b; II-e; III-d; IV-c; V-a
Ans: (A)

Steeling herself to the murder, Lady Macbeth calls on ______ to “unsex me here”. (Macbeth I.5.39)
Choose the right option to fill in the blank:

(A) God
(B) the spirits of hell
(C) the angels in heaven
(D) no one in particular
Ans: (B)

Who among the following gave a happy ending to King Lear?
(A) James Quin
(B) Nahum Tate
(C) Peg Woffington
(D) Charles Macklin
Ans: (B)

Which one of the following characters in Shakespeare’s Tempest is associated with the Earth?
(A) Ferdinand
(B) Ariel
(C) Caliban
(D) Prospero
Ans: (C)

Which of these plays by Shakespeare does not use ‘cross-dressing’ as a device?
(A) As You Like It
(B) Julius Caesar
(C) Cymbeline
(D) Two Gentlemen of Verona
Ans: (B)

John Dryden in his heroic tragedy All for Love takes the story of Shakespeare’s
(A) Troilus and Cressida
(B) The Merchant of Venice
(C) Antony and Cleopatra
(D) Measure for Measure
Ans: (C)

In King Lear who among the following speaks in the voice of Poor Tom?
(A) Kent
(B) Edgar
(C) Edmund
(D) Gloucester
Ans: (B)

If you cannot understand an argument and remark, “It’s Greek to me”, you are quoting ……………
(A) John Milton
(B) Samuel Johnson
(C) William Shakespeare
(D) John Donne
Ans: (C)

Which of the following plays of William Shakespeare is NOT directly referred to in T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land?
(A) Hamlet
(B) King Lear
(C) Coriolanus
(D) The Tempest
Ans: (B)

Match the phrase with character
(a) “motiveless malignity”
(b) “Reason in Madness”
(c) “Supp’d full of horrors”
(d) “To be, or not to be”
(i) Macbeth
(ii) Hamlet
(iii) Lear
(iv) Iago
(a) (b) (c) (d)
(A) (i) (iii) (ii) (iv)
(B) (iv) (ii) (iii) (i)
(C) (iv) (iii) (i) (ii)
(D) (iii) (i) (ii) (iv)
Ans: (C)

 Falstaff is a character in …………..
(a) Henry IV Part I
(b) The Merry Wives of Windsor
(c) The Comedy of Errors
(d) Titus Andronicus
The right combination according to the code is:
(A) (a) and (b)
(B) (a) and (c)
(C) (c) and (d)
(D) (a) and (d)
Ans: (A)

 “To see him act is like reading Shakespeare by flashes of lighting.” About which Shakespearean actor Coleridge wrote the above line?
(A) David Garrick
(B) Richard Burbage
(C) John Philip Kemble
(D) Edmund Kean
Ans: (D)

In King Lear to which woman has Edmund sworn his love?
(A) Cordelia
(B) Goneril
(C) Regan
(D) both Goneril and Regan
Ans: (D)

What is the rhyme scheme of the Shakespearean sonnet?
(A) abcbcbcabc bc dd
(B) abba abbc decd ee
(C) ababcdcdef ef gg
(D) aa bb cc dd aa bb dd
Ans: (C)

What attributes of Shakespeare’s characterization does Johnson admire in his preface to Shakespeare?
(A) The way his characters represent particular times and places.
(B) The way his characters exhibit quirks representative of their humours or
(C) The way his characters portray the general passions and principles of human
(D) The way his characters portray real individuals.
Ans: (C)

In Shakespeare’s Macbeth who was “untimely ripped” from his mother’s womb ?
(A) Macbeth
(B) Macduff
(C) Duncan
(D) Malcolm
Ans: (B)

Feste is a clown in
(A) Twelfth Night
(B) As You Like It
(C) The Taming of the Shrew
(D) Much Ado About Nothing
Ans: (A)

“All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players”, occurs in Shakespeare’s As You Like It. Which character says the line ?
(A) Jacques
(B) Celia
(C) Rosalind
(D) Touchstone
Ans: (A)

Choose the chronological order:
(A) William Caxton prints the first English book – William Shakespeare’s First Folio – John Milton’s Areopagitica – “Tottel’s Miscellany” (Songs and Sonnets).
(B) “Tottel’s Miscellany” (Songs and Sonnets) – William Shakespeare’s First Folio – William Caxton prints the first English book – John Milton’s Areopagitica.
(C) William Caxton prints the first English book – “Tottel’s Miscellany” (Songs and Sonnets) – William Shakespeare’s First Folio – John Milton’s Areopagitica.
(D) William Shakespeare’s First Folio – John Milton’s Areopagitica – William Caxton prints the first English book – “Tottel’s Miscellany” (Songs and Sonnets).
Ans: (C)

Arrange the following plays of Shakespeare according to their periods (early, middle, late…) of composition
(A) As You Like It, Love Labours Lost, Antony and Cleopatra, The Tempest, Midsummer Night`s Dream
(B) Antony and Cleopatra, The Tempest, Midsummer Night`s Dream, Love `s Labours Lost, As You Like It
(C) Love `s Labours Lost, Midsummer Night`s Dream, As You Like It, Antony and Cleopatra, The Tempest
(D) Midsummer Night`s Dream, Antony and Cleopatra, The Tempest, As You Like It, Love `s Labours Lost
Ans: (C)

“What is honour? A word. What is that word honour? Air. A trim reckoning! Who hath it? He that died o’ Wednesday. Doth he feel it? No. Doth he hear it? No. is it insensible, then? Yea, to the dead. But will it not live with the living? No. why? Detraction will not suffer it. – therefore, I’ll none of it: Honour is a mere scutcheon; and so ends my catechism.”
Which character in the following Shakespearce’s dramas made this statement about honour?

(A) Claudius in Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark
(B) Falstaff in King Henry four-part 1
(C) Hotspur in King Henry four-part 1
(D) Hamlet in Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark
Ans: (B)

Read the passage given below
“Full many a lady
I have eye’d with best regard: and many a time
The harmony of their tongues hath into bondage
Brought my too diligent ear; for several virtues
Have I liked several women; never any
With so full soul, but some defect in her
Did quarrel with the noblest grace she ow’d,
And put it to the foil. But you, O you,
So perfect and so peerless , are created
Of every creature’s best.”

This passage admiring the perfect matching of inner and outward beauty of a woman is taken from
(A) Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus
(B) John Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi
(C) Thomas Middleton’s Women Beware Women
(D) Shakespeare’s Tempest
Ans: (D)

Which one of the following correctly describes the meaning of Macbeth’s words ‘Life is but a walking shadow’?
(A) Life is just devoid of light
(B) Life is just devoid of substance
(C) Life is just devoid of spirit
(D) Life is just devoid of stability
Ans: (B)

 In which play, other than Julius Caesar, has Shakespeare depicted the Romans better than the Roman writers themselves have done?
(A) Troilus and Cressida
(B) Coriolanus
(C) Romeo and Juliet
(D) Two Gentlemen of Verona
Ans: (B)

Who of the following are being talked about in the following lines?
“. .. you seem to misunderstand me,
By each at once her choppy finger laying
Upon her skinny lips: you should be women,
And yet your beards forbid me to interpret
That you are so.”
(A) The plebeians in Coriolanus
(B) The sisters in King Lear
(C) The Witches in Macbeth
(D) The players in Hamlet
Ans: (C)

Which of the following statements best describes T. S. Eliot’s assertion that Shakespeare’s Hamlet is an ‘artistic failure”?
(A) Hamlet’s emotion is not adequately objectified

(B) Hamlet’s feelings far outweigh the release of his emotions
(C) Hamlet’s obsession should have been within representational limits
(D) Hamlet’s indecisiveness slows the steady progress of action
Ans: (A)

Who says the following lines and to whom?
“If it be aught toward the general good,
Set honor in one eye and death i’ th’ other,
And I will look on both indifferently.”
(A) Octavius to Antony
(B) Hamlet to Claudius
(C) Brutus to Cassius
(D) Casca to Calpumia
Ans: (C)

 which of the following characters in Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour Last over uses formal Latinate diction?

(A) Holofernes

(B) Dull

(C) Costard

(D) Moth

Ans: (A)

Match the characters with the play:

a) Dobalbain

b) Claudio

c) Nerissa

d) Goneril

i. King lear

ii. Macbeth

iii. Merchant of Venice

iv. Measure for Measure

Choose the correct option:

(A) (a)-(iv), (b)-(iii), (c)-(ii), (d)-(i)

(B) (a)-(ii), (b)-(iv), (c)-(iii), (d)-(i)

(C) (a)-(iii), (b)-(i), (c)-(ii), (d)-(iv)

(D) (a)-(i), (b)-(iv), (c)-(ii), (d)-(iii)

Ans: (B)

Which two of the following oppositions are best evoked by Hamlet’s utterance- “To be or not to be”?
A. between life and death
B. between action and emotion
C. between affirmation and confirmation
D. between doing and abstaining from doing

Choose the correct answer from the options given below:
(A) A and D only
(B) B and D only
(C) C and A only
(D) D and C only
Ans: (A)

Which two characters/speakers among the following exhibit the studious abstraction of scholars?
A. Shylock
B. Hamlet
C. II Penseroso
D. Mosca

Choose the correct answer from the options given below:
a. A and D only
b. B and C only
c. C and D only
d. A and C only
Ans: (b)

A poet laureate said “I do not think that since Shakespeare there has been such a master of the English language as I.” Who is the poet ?
(A)Stephen Spender
(B) John Dryden
(C) Alfred Lord Tennyson
(D) Ted Hughes
Ans: (C)

Venus and Adonis is a long narrative poem by :
(A) Shakespeare
(B) Marlowe
(C) Drayton
(D) Sydney
Ans: (A)

The total number of poems in Shakespeare’s Sonnets is :
(A) 123
(B) 142
(C) 104
(D) 154
Ans: (D)

19 thoughts on “Shakespeare – (Previous Year Questions NET | GATE)”

  1. Thank you so much, sir. You are doing a great job. I am a subscriber of your youtube channel and I found all your information authentic and fabulous. Sir, please guide me for the upcoming GATE.
    Thank you!

  2. Sir in this list of questions I found that no question is asked from Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale . Then what is the reason you enlisted The Winter’s Tale in the list of 187 important British works??

    • For a safer side because Winter’s tale is important from the point of Aristotle’s dramatic unities. It is one of those plays by Shakespeare that didn’t follow Aristotle’s unity of Time.


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