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A Level AQA English Literature B 7716 7717- Aspects of Tragedy 2018 [Exam Discussion] watch

  • View Poll Results: Which texts are you studying?
    Othello
    75.47%
    King Lear
    19.81%
    Death of a Salesman
    71.70%
    Richard II
    11.32%
    A Streetcar Named Desire
    7.55%
    The Great Gatsby
    15.09%
    Tess of the D'Urbervilles
    28.30%
    The Remains of the Day
    1.89%
    Thomas Hardy poetry collection
    2.83%
    John Keats poetry collection
    50.94%
    AQA Poetry anthology
    11.32%

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    Dates
    AS: 18th May 2018 (morning)
    AS: 23rd May 2018 (afternoon)
    A Level: 7th June 2018 (afternoon)

    Texts
    Othello
    King Lear
    Death of a Salesman
    Richard II
    A Streetcar Named Desire
    The Great Gatsby
    Tess of the D'Urbervilles
    The Remains of the Day
    Thomas Hardy Poetry
    John Keats Poetry
    AQA Poetry anthology

    This thread can be used for both AS and A Level exams. The biggest difference is in the exam layout and amount of questions.


    Please use the poll to select which topic you're doing, if you click here you can see who else is studying the same topic as you, tag them in the thread and get chatting and sharing ideas.

    Last year I did Othello, Death of a Salesman and Tess of the D'Urbervilles. I also know Richard II, since I'm currently rehearsing a production of it.
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    (Original post by 04MR17)
    Dates
    AS: 18th May 2018 (morning)
    AS: 23rd May 2018 (afternoon)
    A Level: 7th June 2018 (afternoon)

    Texts
    Othello
    King Lear
    Death of a Salesman
    Richard II
    A Streetcar Named Desire
    The Great Gatsby
    Tess of the D'Urbervilles
    The Remains of the Day
    Thomas Hardy Poetry
    John Keats Poetry
    AQA Poetry anthology

    This thread can be used for both AS and A Level exams. The biggest difference is in the exam layout and amount of questions.


    Please use the poll to select which topic you're doing, if you click here you can see who else is studying the same topic as you, tag them in the thread and get chatting and sharing ideas.

    Last year I did Othello, Death of a Salesman and Tess of the D'Urbervilles. I also know Richard II, since I'm currently rehearsing a production of it.
    Do you have any useful resources for Othello and DOAS?
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    How did everyone find the exam
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    (Original post by megalou)
    How did everyone find the exam
    Section C wasn't great as the questions were weird but quite liked section a and section b (I did King Lear)
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    Which questions did everyone answer?
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    (Original post by zoe-12)
    Which questions did everyone answer?
    I did Othello and did the Q on Emilia, and then the section C about pride!! Section C question was difficult to apply to Tess, and the Emilia one I’m not sure I did too great on. But I liked the extract!!
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    (Original post by moppp)
    Section C wasn't great as the questions were weird but quite liked section a and section b (I did King Lear)
    What were the Lear Qs?
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    (Original post by megalou)
    What were the Lear Qs?
    Is that for AS?
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    So, that pride question, it basically just asking how it elevates their status as a tragic hero, because people have had so many different interpretations of that question 😂
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    (Original post by megalou)
    What were the Lear Qs?
    One of them was about Albany and the other one was whether the old men deserved to be taught a lesson
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    Hey everyone!:hi:

    Now that these exams are done, thought I'd ask how you all did?

    How did you exam go?

    Did anything surprise you?

    What was your best question?

    (Remember to clarify which exam you did (AS or A Level))

    Long list, do not open!

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    (Original post by 04MR17)
    Hey everyone!:hi:

    Now that these exams are done, thought I'd ask how you all did?

    How did you exam go?

    Did anything surprise you?

    What was your best question?

    (Remember to clarify which exam you did (AS or A Level))

    [/expand]

    So I did The A Level exam, Othello, Tess, and Death of a Salesman. I thought that the extract was nice and I was able to link it to the rest of the play relatively easily. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to place the extract in the context of the play but actually Act 2 Scene 1 was nice. There were some nice things to talk about for AO2 although I probably should have emphasised the importance of setting more. AO3 I found harder to link to the extract, other than talking about the nature of Shakespeare’s plays, so I’d be interested to know what other people put context-wise if they did that question! AO4 was relatively straightforward, talked about Iago as a tragic villain/nemesis figure, disorder/chaos, blindness, and the nature of Othello as a tragic hero and his hamartia.

    For Section B I chose the question on Emilia. This one I found very difficult to answer because I didn’t take long enough to plan. But I talked about the role of agency in undermining or increasing her status as a tragic victim, and whether her complicity in Iago’s manipulation of Othello and Cassio made her less of a victim. I touched upon her symbolism in the play as a piece of social commentary, and how she could be compared to Bianca and Desdemona in terms of how they all represent aspects of femininity, and highlight the inherent contradictions of the patriarchy. This then linked back to the idea of the inevitability of fate and how Emilia therefore contributes to the feel that Othello’s fate is inescapable. I talked about how her unwillingness to accept her inferiority led to her outspokenness and defiance of her husband and how this contributed to the ‘pushing against’ of society, causing disorder and chaos. In hindsight I wish I’d made more reference to dramatic methods, however, and talked about the significance of the handkerchief in how all three women touch it, demonstrating how the tragedy worsens as Othello believes the physical manifestation of Desdemona’s fidelity has been tainted by the hands of all three women - but mostly against their choosing.

    For Section C I found it quite tricky to apply to Tess of the d’Urbervilles, although in fairness I did talk about DOAS more. I discussed Willy’s tragic greatness and the idea that in a domestic tragedy, he has the greatness of a traditional tragic hero through the image he has cultivated for himself in his own home, and how this image ultimately stems from a sense of self-importance. I talked about how hubris can only be present according to Aristotle if it is in the form of a tragic flaw, and how Willy’s hubris leads him to believe he can be successful, leading to the sense of waste at the end as Happy follows in his father’s footsteps. For AO3 I talked about the American Dream and capitalism, although I wish I’d stated more explicitly how this inherently perpetuates the kind of narcissism and arrogance you see in Willy Loman. There was another point I made about pride that I don’t quite remember...

    For Tess, I interpreted her pride more akin to ‘dignity’ and how she wants to preserve that. I don’t remember exactly what I said about that point though!! I then countered that by arguing that Tess is more a victim of others’ pride - namely Alec and Angel, although had I not run out of time I would have discussed the importance of Joan and John Durbeyfield too - and how their selfish pride contrasted against Tess’s moral dignity and therefore elevated her. So yeah, I came to the conclusion that in DOAS Willy’s pride diminishes him, as it makes him blind and selfish and since it is the cause of his tragic downfall (by the nature of hubris), it is the reason for his fall from greatness. In Tess, it elevates her because it is not present in excess, while the selfish pride of other characters makes her look better.

    I’m a little worried about how that exam went though, because I know my head got a little muddled and I honestly can’t remember how accurately and fluently I expressed those points. I got out of the exam and had a cry with my teacher, lol.

    But yeah I thought my best question was the extract, and then Section B probably my worst - I was thrown by the weird question, and didn’t take enough time to plan, which I think probably had a knock-on effect on Section C. But I’m hoping it went better than I think, and I think the next paper (we do crime) will be nicer because it’s more free to choose which question you want to do, and the Section C has to be applicable to about 6 different texts!!
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    (Original post by megalou)
    So I did The A Level exam, Othello, Tess, and Death of a Salesman. I thought that the extract was nice and I was able to link it to the rest of the play relatively easily. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to place the extract in the context of the play but actually Act 2 Scene 1 was nice. There were some nice things to talk about for AO2 although I probably should have emphasised the importance of setting more. AO3 I found harder to link to the extract, other than talking about the nature of Shakespeare’s plays, so I’d be interested to know what other people put context-wise if they did that question! AO4 was relatively straightforward, talked about Iago as a tragic villain/nemesis figure, disorder/chaos, blindness, and the nature of Othello as a tragic hero and his hamartia.

    For Section B I chose the question on Emilia. This one I found very difficult to answer because I didn’t take long enough to plan. But I talked about the role of agency in undermining or increasing her status as a tragic victim, and whether her complicity in Iago’s manipulation of Othello and Cassio made her less of a victim. I touched upon her symbolism in the play as a piece of social commentary, and how she could be compared to Bianca and Desdemona in terms of how they all represent aspects of femininity, and highlight the inherent contradictions of the patriarchy. This then linked back to the idea of the inevitability of fate and how Emilia therefore contributes to the feel that Othello’s fate is inescapable. I talked about how her unwillingness to accept her inferiority led to her outspokenness and defiance of her husband and how this contributed to the ‘pushing against’ of society, causing disorder and chaos. In hindsight I wish I’d made more reference to dramatic methods, however, and talked about the significance of the handkerchief in how all three women touch it, demonstrating how the tragedy worsens as Othello believes the physical manifestation of Desdemona’s fidelity has been tainted by the hands of all three women - but mostly against their choosing.

    For Section C I found it quite tricky to apply to Tess of the d’Urbervilles, although in fairness I did talk about DOAS more. I discussed Willy’s tragic greatness and the idea that in a domestic tragedy, he has the greatness of a traditional tragic hero through the image he has cultivated for himself in his own home, and how this image ultimately stems from a sense of self-importance. I talked about how hubris can only be present according to Aristotle if it is in the form of a tragic flaw, and how Willy’s hubris leads him to believe he can be successful, leading to the sense of waste at the end as Happy follows in his father’s footsteps. For AO3 I talked about the American Dream and capitalism, although I wish I’d stated more explicitly how this inherently perpetuates the kind of narcissism and arrogance you see in Willy Loman. There was another point I made about pride that I don’t quite remember...

    For Tess, I interpreted her pride more akin to ‘dignity’ and how she wants to preserve that. I don’t remember exactly what I said about that point though!! I then countered that by arguing that Tess is more a victim of others’ pride - namely Alec and Angel, although had I not run out of time I would have discussed the importance of Joan and John Durbeyfield too - and how their selfish pride contrasted against Tess’s moral dignity and therefore elevated her. So yeah, I came to the conclusion that in DOAS Willy’s pride diminishes him, as it makes him blind and selfish and since it is the cause of his tragic downfall (by the nature of hubris), it is the reason for his fall from greatness. In Tess, it elevates her because it is not present in excess, while the selfish pride of other characters makes her look better.

    I’m a little worried about how that exam went though, because I know my head got a little muddled and I honestly can’t remember how accurately and fluently I expressed those points. I got out of the exam and had a cry with my teacher, lol.

    But yeah I thought my best question was the extract, and then Section B probably my worst - I was thrown by the weird question, and didn’t take enough time to plan, which I think probably had a knock-on effect on Section C. But I’m hoping it went better than I think, and I think the next paper (we do crime) will be nicer because it’s more free to choose which question you want to do, and the Section C has to be applicable to about 6 different texts!!
    What question came up for AS?
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    (Original post by Samee Aslam)
    What question came up for AS?
    For my AS I don’t really remember but I know that the Tess of the d’Urbervilles Q was about whether Alec was a sympathetic character. Other than that I have no clue, sorry!!
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    I did Othello and Death of a Salesman.
    Section A - extract was great as it was focused on Iago's villany/manipulation.
    Section B - I chose the question regarding on the civilisation and control of Venice in comparison to the chaotic Cyprus.. found this question a brilliant question as I compared the changes within characters when in Venice and when in Cyprus, eg Othello, Iago etc and that the most villanious of Iago's plans occured there.
    Section C - I chose the pride question, but I think I may have lacked marks as I couldn't find any sort of level of pride in the poetry so I started talking about status (probs totally wrong), however I feel that my section on DOAS went well as it's the focus of the play really.

    I have the crime paper today which I'm not as sure on, but then I've finished a level english literature and couldn't be happier ahaha
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    (Original post by chocolate121)
    I did Othello and Death of a Salesman.
    Section A - extract was great as it was focused on Iago's villany/manipulation.
    Section B - I chose the question regarding on the civilisation and control of Venice in comparison to the chaotic Cyprus.. found this question a brilliant question as I compared the changes within characters when in Venice and when in Cyprus, eg Othello, Iago etc and that the most villanious of Iago's plans occured there.
    Section C - I chose the pride question, but I think I may have lacked marks as I couldn't find any sort of level of pride in the poetry so I started talking about status (probs totally wrong), however I feel that my section on DOAS went well as it's the focus of the play really.

    I have the crime paper today which I'm not as sure on, but then I've finished a level english literature and couldn't be happier ahaha
    Does anyone know what came up in this year's AS Paper?
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    Anyone?
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    What points did people give for the last question? Got a suspicion these questions may come up for my mocks next week but struggling to see how an excess in pride would elevate the tragic heroes?

    Thanks
 
 
 

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